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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 have had many opportunities to witness first hand the destructive capabilities of wild pigs.  We have hunted them in Texas and Oklahoma at different locations and can say that ones first impression of domesticated pigs does not correlate to what you find in the wild.  When we were growing up you thought of pigs as big, pink, fat, slow, dumb animals that wallered around in their own filth.  Once they get out of their domesticated element they do a complete 180 except for the filth part.  They are fit, camo, lean, mean, aggressive and smart animals that waller every where they want.  They tear up fields, dessimate crops and breed like rabbits.  They are capable of surviving any climate range and have been found in varying numbers all over the United States.  

The sport of wild boar hunting has been both a blessing and a curse.  It has been a blessing in the fact that like most hunting it helps to keep populations low.  However, many have found that they can make money from having boar on hunting leases and have transported them to different areas to increase their profits.  What they fail to remember is that the sport is called hunting not shooting and due to the breeding capabilities their populations do not take long to get out of hand.  About a year ago we were made aware that some people decided to start transporting wild pigs onto their property and set them loose to increase the popularity of their hunts.  We warned and pleaded that things would get out of hand quickly and they would become more of a problem than a profit.  Just this last weekend we were made aware that sightings of wild boar have increased from never for the last 20 years to now frequently by our property which is over 20 miles away.  In one year their population has exploded.  What do you expect their only predator left is man.  

Here is a little history to get you up to speed on the habits and signs of wild boar.  Wild pigs (also known as wild hogs, wild boar, or feral swine) are an are not native to the Americas. The first wild pigs in the United States originated solely from domestic stock brought to North America by early European explorers and settlers. Many years later, Eurasian wild boar were introduced into parts of the United States for hunting purposes. In areas where domestic pigs and Eurasian wild boar were found together in the wild, interbreeding occurred. Today, many hybrid populations exist throughout the wild pig’s range.

Pigs were first introduced in the 1500’s to what is now the southeastern U.S. by Spanish Explorer, Hernando DeSoto. In the centuries following European exploration and colonization of the eastern U.S., free-range livestock management practices and escapes from enclosures resulted in the establishment of wild pig populations and promoted their spread.  
Introduction of the Eurasion Wild Boar

In the early 1900’s, Eurasian or Russian wild boar were introduced into portions of the United States.  Additional introductions and escapes of Eurasian wild boar from privately owned, “game-proof” fenced hunting preserves have continued through the present.

  • Wild pigs have been reported in at least 45 states
  • Populations now exist as far north as Michigan, North Dakota, and Oregon
  • Range expansion over the last 20 years is mostly a result of illegal translocation of pigs by humans
Distribution of Wild Pigs in 1988

Distribution of Feral Pigs in the United States in 1988 (Courtesy of Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, University of Georgia).

 

Distribution of Wild Pigs in 2009

Distribution of Feral Pigs in the United States in 2009 (Courtesy of Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, University of Georgia).
 
The Human Factor 
 
The popularity of wild pigs as a game species has played a major role in the expansion of their range throughout the United States. The sudden presence of wild pigs in new areas is most often a result ofescapes of stocked animals from privately owned, “game-proof” fenced hunting preserves illegal translocation: the practice of capturing wild pigs, transporting them to new locations, and releasing them into the wild
 
 
Let us know your thoughts on the subject of Wild Boar Hunting and as always post your photos of your outdoor adventures to the galleries and tell us your story.

 

 

 

Monday, 25 March 2013 21:55

Preparing your Fishing Gear

With much of the Midwest and Upper North East covered in what we hope will be the last snow fall of the year forcing us to stay a little closer to home.  We at Shotem and Caughtem thought we might break out our fishing gear and get it ready for what we hope will be warmer weather in the near future.  Many of us have neglected our equipment over the winter months and need to make sure our gear is ready to catch the big one.  Here is what we try and do at the start of every season.  Let us know what your tips and tricks are to prep your gear in the comment section below or post a photo of your must have gear in the gallery and start a dialogue.  Then be ready to post your photos to the Caughtem Gallery and brag about em!

Spring is nearly here, and it is time to look over you fishing gear and update, repair, and maintain it. Every year at this time there are a few tasks that you should do to get your fishing equipment ready for another season out on the water.

Tackle needs to be cared for at the end of each fishing season, to prepare it for a long winter in storage, unless you enjoy ice fishing. As you open your tackle box to prepare it for the upcoming months, check to make sure that your hooks, sinkers, and other tackle are not rusted. Hooks, snaps, and sinkers are all inexpensive and should be replaced when needed.  We know that a little WD 40 or gun cleaner and some light grit sandpaper can do a lot when it comes to rust and removing grooves should you want to spend the time instead of replacing.  Make sure you remove any left over residue with paint thinner and let it dry as the left grit and WD 40 might cause your line to break easily if it is left on the metal.  

Give your rod a good once over. Is it scratched, dented, or otherwise damaged? Small nicks are not an area of concern, but larger grooves in the rod could be reason to replace the pole with a new one. If the wear on your pole is moderate but still significant, take it to your local fishing shop, which offers repairs on poles and other equipment.

Rod tips should be replaced every spring, as the line can dig into the tip. This can lead to your line breaking, causing you to lose your catch. In addition, a worn rod tip can also increase the friction between itself and the line passing over it, reducing casting speed and distance.

Also check the guides. Any that are broken or bent should either be repaired or replaced. Rod tips used in fly fishing are especially prone to wear, as a typical cast of this type can reach line speeds of between 50-60 MPH.

Check your reels as well. Is the action still smooth and easy? Reels can tend stick if they were not cared for properly before winter storage. Once your reel is working, you should change the line, particularly if you do a lot of fishing on salt water, which is worse on both line and gear. If you do your own maintenance to your reels, it is important that you oil the equipment, but do not overdo it. Too much oil can be just as bad for a reel as not enough.

Line should either be replaced, or you should at least turn it around on the reel. This can be done outside in a large field, tying one end of the line to a tree or post, unwinding it, turning it around, and winding it back on.

This is also a great time to organize your tackle boxes, keeping similar items together and within easy reach. Saltwater and fresh water gear should be kept in separate boxes whenever possible, as this will help keep your freshwater gear safe from the corroding effects of salt. Don’t forget to give the box itself a once over as well, making sure that it closes properly and does not have holes.  Should you have left something in the box that has left an odor in your tackle box a 20%bleach 80% water mixture can eleviate smells once washed and allowed to dry.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013 13:58

Hunting vs Fishing

When we decided to create the website Shotem and Caughtem, we were tasked with trying to figure out which sport would garner the most attention.  We chose to create a place that has both.  We have decided that most outdoors men and women, like us, have a passion for both hunting and fishing.  Men and woman alike seem to split their love for the great outdoors between seasons to make time to hunt that thunder chicken or throw a line to catch a bass.  They also seem to want to learn new ways to hone their skills in all aspects and are willing to try new experiences when the opportunity arises.  Many sites seem to focus on one or the other.  We decided to discuss why we chose to have both.

 

 

Many of us have been miles away from the nearest road with a big buck down in the woods. What to do? I personally was about 5 miles from the truck, and of course it was getting dark. The last thing I wanted to do was quarter out a deer and hump it out to get to my truck. I decided instead to go back to the house and get my 4-wheeler. As we all know hind sight is 20/20 I should have rode it in a few miles before I started walking. We decided to write an article about the 4 wheelers advantages. We talked about the advantages of using a UTV on our Colorado Elk Trip, so we felt we would also talk about the many ATV’s we saw on the mountain and there advantages. As always make sure you check into your local laws about using motorized vehicles for hunting, in many states it is against the law to hunt from an ATV, but they can be used for transport.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013 20:22

Spring Turkey Hunting Tips and Tricks

We at Shotem and Caughtem have a love hate relationship when it comes to turkey.  We felt we would pass along the reasons why.   We hope to give you the tools to create that same relationship, since very few outdoor experiences can compare with spring turkey hunting. The sport can, to say the least, be challenging, exciting and in some cases almost addictive. When a gobbler sounds off up close, or he’s strutting just out of range, even the most experienced hunter’s heart tends to pound uncontrollably.  Due to their keen eyesight and hearing they can be one of the harder animals in the kingdom to hunt which causes the love and frustration of the sport.  This is the challenge that makes turkey hunting so intriguing and is helping to attract droves of new hunters to the sport.  So here are some pointers to help your experience.

 

One of our many favorite hunting shows at Shotem and Caughtem is Duck Dynasty starring the folks at Duck Commander.  We even got a brief moment to hand Willie Robertson one of our shirts at this years Shot Show in Las Vegas.  With the new season airing this week we thought we would share our thoughts on the show.  

The new season of Duck Commander started this week with a huge following knocking off its competition with more viewers than ever.  More viewers than even the popular show American Idol.  So we got to asking ourselves what makes this show work.  With only 6% of the population being hunters and fisherman, this demographic would not be large enough to trump other programs in viewing.  So what is the tv shows allure?

Phil Robertson started his career in college as a well sought after quarterback destined for the NFL ahead of even Terry Bradshaw.  Due to the fact that the NFL season interfered with duck hunting season he decided to fore go a career in football.  When he saw a market to create a better sounding duck call, Duck Commander was born.  The company had it's share of ups and downs but has become a huge success.  Phil Robertson brought mostly his family and some friends into the company as the popularity of his calls expanded.   They would share in the work load and the success of the products.  As this success has expanded this struggling 8,000 dollar a year company has turned into a multi million dollar company or a Duck Dynasty.

 

We at Shotem and Caughtem are starting to get things prepped for food plot planting season.  Any experienced hunter knows that a successful food plot can not only help lure game to their property but also provide conservation measures to ensure wildlife populations.  There are many products available that will help to create and manage your food plot, but we have also found some alternative seed sources and practices that might aid in creating a successful habitat source for wildlife on your property.  

First rule of a successful food plot, location, location, location.  All wildlife need the three basics.  Water, food and shelter.  They also like to have all these close to one another in order to avoid predators.  If a person plants a food plot away from any of these three factors it will more than likely not gain you anything when it comes to wildlife.  Therefore pick or clear a spot where your wildlife can take advantage of all three neccessities without having to subject themselves to stress from predators.  A quarter to half an acre food plot per 25 acres seems to be the going rule from what we have learned.  It should be located next to a shelter belt with good cover and close to a water source.

Friday, 01 March 2013 21:30

Early Spring Fishing Tips

So we at Shotem and Caughtem can not wait to start fishing.  With the Midwest covered in snow we thought we might use this time to dust of the tackle boxes and ready the lines and poles for it won't be long and water temperatures will start to rise.  The itch to watch a bass fly out of the water chasing a hoola popper and the beginning of Turkey season means that we outdoors men and woman can come out of hibernation!  With this in mind we thought we would offer some cold water tips and tricks for fishing.  As always leave us your comments below and we can't wait to see what our members start pulling out of the water on our Caughtem gallery in the months to come.

In early spring water temp. is probably the most important factor for me. The second would be water clarity. By asking these two questions I can pick out what part of the lake or river I should concentrate on, in order to locate the most aggressive fish for this given time of year. Notice I said the most aggressive, because you can catch fish on other areas of the lake. I want to find the best area, and then fine tune that pattern to the next step.Water temp is crucial because I have to keep in mind that the bass and its food source is cold blooded. So I want to find the warmest water that I can find. This is where water clarity will play into the picture. Water clarity will let me know how the bass will be able to hunt its prey.

Lets look further into water temp first. If the water temp is 55 degrees then the bass will be moving fairly slow, but not at a turtles pace. So the bass will need either cover or another camoflauge to aid him and off colored water will enable him to be successful. Off colored water will also be warmer this time of year and the reason is because the dirt particles in the water will also collect and hold heat. Lets say if the water temp. is 65 degrees then I may choose clearer water because then the bass would be able to use its speed as an aid in capturing its prey. But in a colder water situation he will use his surroundings in every way possible, a bass will and so will all predators use its surrounding to stay alive but we must learn how and when he will feed depending on the season/ current weather. This will enable us to be much more successful as well.

Depending on the geographic region of the lake, will tell you a lot about the lake itself. I classify lakes in six different categories highland (rocky), midland (hilly), lowland (semi hill with flatland), flatland (usually river type lake), river systems, and natural lakes. I will discuss further into this in an later article, but just be aware of this.

All lakes can be broken down into four sections. The first is the lower section and that is the dam area, the second is the mid section of the lake where the lake usually starts to narrow down and the lake will have more creeks in this area, the upper section is the third area and is where the lake begins to turn into more of a river, and the forth would be where the lakes river runs into the head water, you will have more current here and it is usually present year round.

For a quick run down on how I will begin fishing the lake in the early spring and on into late spring. I will focus on the second section in early spring on most lakes. The reason is this area will have some off colored water that I spoke of earlier and the water is a little shallower as well and this will help in warmer water. (the deeper the water the longer it takes for it to warm up.) I will look for the main river or creek channels that will swing in close to a bluff wall or channel bank and I will want it to have some type of cover on it rock, gravel, or stumps. I’ll fish a crank bait or a rattle trap in a crawfish pattern until I locate some fish. It would appear that I would be fishing fast, because I would keep my boat moving but at the same time I would be fishing my bait fairly slow. One of my favorite technuqes for this time of year is to fish a rattle trap and hop it or yo yo it off the bottom like a crawfish trying to escape.

I will fish these channel banks moving from one to the next until I locate a school of fish, and once I did that I should be able to go to the next creek and fish the same section/location of that creek and duplicate the pattern. (note that I will keep fishing several creeks until I have eliminated all of them in this section of the lake.

As the water keeps warming I will be able to go to the third section of the lake and repeat the same thing all over again, then I’ll move to the river section and finally to the dam area. This process will last for about three to four weeks depending on the size of the lake.

What I am doing here is keeping myself in the prespawn stage and this will be the easiest fish to catch in the spring.

Monday, 25 February 2013 15:12

Coyote Hunting in the Snow

With the recent snowy conditions in the Midwest and more on the way a few of our friends ventured out this weekend to take advantage of the conditions and hopefully shoot some coyotes.  Though they came home skunked we decided to find out why.  Snow makes it easier to see predators and the cold conditions should make them hungry so where are the best places to attract predators in snowy conditions.  This is what we were able to find out.  Let us know what your best tips and tricks are for predator hunting in the comment section below and as always post your photos to the Shotem bragging wall and start a dialogue.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013 18:54

Striped Bass Fishing in Cold Conditions

With most of the Midwest getting covered in snow and hunting season coming to a close we thought we would focus on cold weather fishing.  Though we recently wrote about ice fishing, we in the Midwest have not had many days when ice has covered the waters.  So what fish likes cold water should we want to venture out to grab some good bragging photos.  After a little research we learned that the Striped Bass still thrive even when the water is cold.  There are many lakes throughout the Midwest that have Striped Bass populations such as Lake Texoma, Grand Lake, Table Rock, Beaver Lake, Lake Hamilton and the Colorado river to name a few.  Here are three potential methods that will help you land a fish.


Casting: Look for fish near points, flats, drop-offs, submerged islands and bridge pilings when using this technique. Also watch for stripers boiling water on the surface as they tear into hapless baitfish. You can use a variety of lures, including lipless crankbaits, deep-diving minnow plugs and Sassy Shads. But none can compare with the plain white bucktail jig, preferably with a single saddle hackle tied along each flank. The best weight is ¼-3/8 ounce. You can add a plastic twister tail to this if the water is stainy, but usually the jig by itself is best.

Cast this lure out to the structure described above and reel in slowly and steadily. It may seem boring. But it won't be when a 10-or 15-pound striper nails the lure. If strikes are slow in coming, try pausing halfway back during the retrieve and letting the lure sink down, like a wounded shad running out of gas. This often draws jarring strikes.

Trolling: This is another good tactic for winter stripers in the state. This method puts your lure down in the 15-30 foot range where stripers often hang out during cold weather. And it keeps it there constantly as you slowly motor over likely holding areas. Good places to troll include the mouths of tributaries, river and creek channel edges, humps, steep bluffs and near bridges.

Downriggers will allow you to troll any lure for stripers. If you don't want to fool with them, use large deep-plunging plugs such as the Storm Big Mac, Hellbender, Mann's Stretch and Deep-diving Rapalas. These lures dive 12-25 feet when trolled and often tempt jumbo stripers.

To make them even more effective, tie an 18-36 inch leader to the center hook of the front treble and then attach a ¼-ounce white jig or grub to this trailer. The stripers often are attracted to the large wobbling plug, but actually strike the smaller trailing jig.

Live Bait: Nothing can tempt a lethargic winter striper like a live baitfish. Shad are best, but if you can't catch them with a throw net, jumbo shiners sold at bait shops will work almost as well. Use 10-20 pound line and a size two hook. Attach a leader of two-to-four feet and the hook after threading a one-half to one-ounce egg sinker above it on the main line. Alternately, you can simply squeeze a few large split shot onto the line.

Hook the baitfish through the lips or lightly through the back and lower the offering down to the level where you find stripers on the depth finder or suspect they are holding. Drifting is a good tactic if there is a light wind or you can anchor out over a particularly inviting piece of structure.

Drop a buoy on the spot if you hook up, since there might be a whole school of stripers there. And if you do find a pack of voracious stripers, I'll bet you probably won't even remember how cold the air is!  As always post photos of your big or small catch to the Caughtem Bragging wall and tell us your story. 

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