Hello Guest, please sign in to comment

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.

blog subhead pic
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.

 

Tuesday, 05 November 2013 23:38

Fall Back = Early Nights

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.

Published in News/Events
Monday, 16 September 2013 21:11

Pallet Deer Blind

We at Shotem and Caughtem last week talked to our members about making your own ground blind on the cheap.  We even offered prizes to those who came and bragged with us by making their own home made deer blind from pallets.

Unfortunately no one took us up on our offer but we decided to make on of our own since we were going to be out prepping our feeder for our upcoming rifle season.  Here are the fruits of our labor.  It took us approximately an hour to assemble and 5 dollars in screws.  Other wise the pallets, a left over 2x4 from a friend and a plastic pool that was slightly damaged that we collected awhile back all of which were free, were used to make our blind.  We wanted to create something for as little cost as possible so instead of paint we used trees, plants and other habitat to use as camo woven into the pallet boards.  As a size portion we extended the roof with a seven inch piece of 2x4 so that  we could fit comfortably.  The guy in the photo is 6ft, 210lbs and still had plenty of head room and clearance for backpack, chair, etc.  We also made sure that we left about 6 inches in the back on the bottom pallet so that we could load the blind into the front bucket of our tractor.  The structure had plenty of support so that we were able to move the blind from where we assembled it about a half mile to its final resting place.    

Let us know if you have any questions about our little cheap design in the comment section below or show us your creation in the gear section and tell us your story.  

 

Published in News/Events
Monday, 09 September 2013 22:15

Home Made Deer Blind

We at Shotem and Caughtem love to find creative ways to adapt certain potential inexpensive materials to create better ways to hunt and fish.  With deer hunting season just right around the corner many might be looking for a good way to conceal, block wind and create a little nicer environment to hunt from a ground position.

Answer:  The Wood Pallet 

Wood pallets are used to haul heavy equipment around the world.  Many of these pallets are found stacked in a wide range of parking lots, back of warehouses and near dumpsters.  They can be acquired for taking them away.  The great thing about them for us hunters is that they provide a perfect ready to use 4x4 or 4x6 area from which to connect together and create a great deer blind.  They can be quickly attached together with some wood screws and made as elaborate and unique as the person creating them.  They can cost almost nothing and provide a decent wind block and good shooting platform with little work and money.  The way the boards are situated they can be used to tuck different tree branches, grasses or painted.  They also require little modification to have a great shooting window.    

We will be providing you with a photo of what we created next week.  But we wanted to write this to see what kind of ideas we could spur in the gear gallery before the season started.  We might even throw in some free Shotem and Caughtem Gear to the member that creates the best Wood Pallet Deer Blind and posts it to the gallery.  There is only one stipulation to the contest to make this fun for all.  You have a total budget to create your blind of 20 bucks max :)  You will get bonus point the less money you use.  Let us know your ideas in the comment section below and good luck!

Published in News/Events