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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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Thursday, 20 February 2014 23:10

Spring Turkey Hunting Just Around the Corner

Well Shotem and Caughtem lovers one of the two best times of the year is quickly approaching.  Yes that time of year when you can feed both your Shotem and Caughtem side of the brain.  One of the best times of the year to wake from your hibernation from deer season and the bitter cold should you not get the opportunity to ice fish.  We are of course talking about the warming weather for pre spawn fishing and yes TURKEY season!  What better time to start getting the gear ready and most importantly start refreshing your calling skills and scouting your turkey hunting territories.  

Though spring turkey season offers a bit of an advantage over fall when it comes to being able to call in the Toms, you can never go wrong with knowing where your thunder chickens are sleeping and looking for food.  Here are some things you might keep in mind as you get ready for the first spring hunt.  Let us know your tricks in the comment section below and as always get your cameras ready to post to the galleries and share your stories.

The most important part of scouting this time of year is learning the lay of the land. The better you know your hunting territory, the more likely you are to make the right decisions once you hear that pre-dawn gobble.

It is a good idea to get out in the woods before dawn just before the season begins to determine which trees gobblers are using as roosting areas. Even more important is just what they do when they fly down, and where they go after they hit the ground. Keep in mind that when you are scouting late, you have to do it carefully or the birds will become even more wary.

One thing I have observed after nearly 30 years of turkey hunting is that it seems much harder to lure in a tom at dawn with today's high turkey numbers than it used to be when there were fewer birds.

It is almost a sure thing today that the toms will be roosting with hens and when the birds hit the ground the toms will follow their hens.

When you hear those predawn gobbles, try to find a lone gobbler and set up on him. Avoid the groups of gobblers because they are sure to have hens with them. Also, groups of gobblers are often comprised of jakes which tend to be more vocal and hang together more often than most mature toms.

This is also the time to work on your turkey calling skills. If you haven't picked up a turkey call since last season, you will have some work to do because playing a call well takes practice, lots of it.

Most beginners to the sport start out with a friction call such as the box call. It is probably the easiest to learn how to use and will make all the turkey sounds you need to bag that gobbler. While this is an easy call to use, you shouldn't underestimate its effectiveness. It can be deadly and for many good hunters it is the only call they use.

The slate call is probably the next step for most hunters. This requires a peg to be drawn across a slate or glass surface and it, too, can mimic all the calls of the wild turkey. It does require more practice than the box call.

There are a couple of problems with these two types of calls. One is that each requires hand movement to make them work, and the sharp eyes of a turkey are quick to pick up on any movement. The other is that moisture will render them useless. They must be kept dry to work well. Some manufacturers are producing boxes and slates that will work when wet and I've used them. They work well, also.

Most seasoned turkey hunters also learn to use the diaphragm call. This one takes a lot of practice for most people. The call itself is fairly simple, usually just a horseshoe of light metal such as aluminum with a thin rubber membrane stretched across the open part of the shoe. The call is placed in your mouth and by working your tongue and blowing air across the membrane all calls of the turkey can be reproduced.

The big advantage to this call is that no movement is involved.

It's to your advantage to learn how to use all of the above calls. A lot of successful turkey hunting depends upon getting a turkey to gobble when he hears your call. Some days they will gobble to a box call, others to a slate and others to a diaphragm. Usually there will be a call type and a call pattern which will turn them on better than others. I've seen times when they wouldn't answer anything but a purr made on a slate.

Published in News/Events

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.

Published in News/Events

We at Shotem and Caughtem hope all our member's have a safe and loving Valentine's Day.  Thank you so much for all your support over this past year.  We can't thank you enough for being apart of our website.  We have some great things in store for you this year and hope that you help us create a wonderful new network of avid outdoorsmen and women.  

Remember nothing says love better than a box of Camo, Ammo or Bait!

Thanks again and Have a wonderful Weekend Outdoors,

Shotem and Caughtem Staff 

Published in User Spotlight
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 22:56

Best Dove Recipes

It should be of no surprise to many that have read the Shotem and Caughtem blog that dove hunting is one of our favorite times of the year.  So for our Super Bowl bash I decided to bust out our take from this seasons Dove hunt to make one of our favorite cooking recipes.  It has all the makings for the best appetizer for any party, dove, bacon, jalapenos, cream cheese and italian dressing.  We have found this recipe will work with about any lean wild game meat you might want to try but the dove or quail tend to be the perfect size to wrap around a jalapenos without any trimming.  Let us know your favorite recipe in the comment section below.

As seen in the photo above the ingredients are pretty simple and can be modified from the basics.  We had about 30 dove breasts, 12 medium sized jalapenos, package of bacon, bottle of italian dressing (or another oil based dressing), toothpicks and a tub of cream cheese.  The only modification to these basics is in the cream cheese.  We have made the cream cheese a lot of different ways.  Sometimes we will mix different cream cheeses together, use plain and spice it up with about anything you like, or even add other types of peppers to the cream cheese.  Otherwise the time comes in the assembly.

1.  Take your piece of bacon and slice it into two even pieces

2.  Take sliced in half jalapeno (seeds out for milder temp) and use it as a boat and fill it with cream cheese.

3.  Take Dove breast and wrap your cream cheese jalapeno and place it on the bacon.

4.  Wrap the Dove Breast with your bacon and poke a toothpick through it to hold it together.

5.  Once assembled place on a sheet and add dressing over the top.

Cooking these little guys can happen your favorite way.  Smoke, Grill or oven bake these little guys till the bacon has fully cooked.  Note to self keep an eye on the grill and the bacon grease tends to flame up.  We use the low and slow heat method to help prevent chard bacon and a grill fire.  

Another big tip is make sure you wear gloves while working with the peppers at all times.  Otherwise make sure that you have a friend around to help you use the bathroom during the game and take out your contacts before going to bed.  Yes those are a couple of mishaps that happened well before we created this site otherwise you might have seen a photo in the mishaps gallery.  




Friday, 24 January 2014 22:49

Cold Temps and Late Season Goose Hunting

We at Shotem and Caughtem would be remiss to not think that we may have the perfect weekend for hunting in store.  Recent cold temperatures in the midwest have made the goose populations rise.  Typically goose hunting is a cold weather sport.  However, this weekend much of the midwest will see a slight uptick in weather temperatures which may make for an unusually nice goose hunting experience.  

Goose offers that last quick hunt prior to a bit of a cold spell for hunting till the arrival of spring turkey season.  Goose hunting can also be the perfect practice session should you love turkey hunting.  Many of the same experiences hold true for both animals.  They require you to be still.  Practice your calling techniques.  Lay out decoys.  And lastly, let them get in close because many of them wear kevlar.  

We are lucky since we in the midwest have had decent moisture levels and the winter wheat fields started a decent growth prior to the deep freeze we have seen.  Also the fact that the wheat around our area at least has gone dormant means farmers are usually more apt to allowing small groups in their fields to help eliminate their goose problems should they have found their fields attractive.  It gives many hunters a perfect opportunity to meet new landowners by extending a helping hand.  "Sir or Mam, I was noticing that your wheat field contains a large goose population.  Would it be possible for me and a friend to help relieve you of some of your problems?"  Many farmers hate to see crop lose to geese since much of the plant is eaten by the animal and will not grow back once temperatures rise.  Also, geese will establish a pattern by hitting the same fields over and over sometimes completely wiping out a farmers crop.  

Let us know your goose hunting secrets or tricks in the comment section below.  As always share your adventures to the galleries and tell us your story.  

Published in News/Events
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. 

Published in News/Events
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 23:15

Hunting Back in the News

Some of us here at Shotem and Caughtem did not come from a long line of hunters or fisherman.  We did not learn how to shoot until we starting hanging out with certain crowds.  Some did not end up enjoying what they had to offer.  Others found the passion for the lifestyle and dedicated more and more time to the outdoors.  Hunting and fishing is not for everyone as is the case with anything.  So we were not surprised when it came up for conversation with part of our family when the news broke of the 350,000 Black Rhino hunt being auctioned off by a Dallas Outfitter.  What follows is only part of our justification for what our industry does for wildlife conservation.  

Namibia is just about the only place to have gotten conservation right for rhinos and a lot of other wildlife. It has methodically repopulated one area after another as its rhino population has steadily increased. As a result, it is now home to 1,750 of the roughly 5,000 black rhinos surviving in the wild. (The worldwide population of Africa’s two rhino species, black and the more numerous white, plus three species in Asia, is about 28,000.) In neighboring South Africa, government officials stood by haplessly as poachers slaughtered almost a thousand rhinos last year alone. Namibia lost just two.

Namibia has the advantage of being home to only 2.1 million people in an area twice the size of California — about seven per square mile, versus about 100 in South Africa. But Namibia’s success is also the product of a bold political decision in the 1990s to turn over ownership of the wildlife to communal conservancies — run not by white do-gooders, but by black ranchers and herders, some of whom had, until then, also been poachers.

The idea was to encourage villagers living side by side with wildlife to manage and profit from it by opening up their conservation lands to wealthy big-game hunters and tourists armed with cameras. The hunters come first, because the conservancies don’t need to make any investment to attract them. The Ministry of Environment and Tourism sets limits on all hunting, and because rhino horn is such a precious commodity, rhinos remain under strict national control.

The theory behind the conservancy idea was that tolerance for wildlife would increase and poaching would dwindle, because community ownership made the illegal killing feel like stealing from the neighbors. And it has worked. Community conservancies now control almost 20 percent of Namibia — 44 percent of the country enjoys some form of conservation protection — and wildlife numbers have soared. The mountain zebra population, for instance, has increased to 27,000 from 1,000 in 1982. Elephants, gunned down elsewhere for their ivory, have gone to 20,000, up from 15,000 in 1995. Lions, on the brink of extinction from Senegal to Kenya, are increasing in Namibia.

Under an international agreement on trade in endangered species, Namibia can sell hunting rights for as many as five black rhinos per year, though it generally stops at three. The entire trophy fee, in this case $350,000, goes into a trust fund that supports rhino conservation efforts. The fund pays, for instance, to capture rhinos and implant transmitters in their horns, as an anti-poaching measure. Trophy hunting one rhino may thus save many others from being butchered.

Many wildlife groups also support the program because Namibia manages it so carefully. It chooses which individual will be hunted, and wildlife officials go along to make sure the hunter gets the right one. (So much for the romance of the Great White Hunter.) The program targets older males past their breeding prime. They’re typically belligerent individuals that have a territorial tendency to kill females and calves.

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.  

Published in News/Events
Monday, 20 January 2014 21:35

2014 Shot Show doesn't disappoint

We at Shotem and Caughtem just got back from the 2014 Shot Show and as always it did not disappoint.  As many who have made the trip, there is only so much wonderful merchandise one person can take in and talk about.  The show offers all gun and hunting lovers an unbelievable amount of things to drool over.  We had the opportunity to shake the hands of a couple of celebrities and even more great people from a lot of great companies.  Here are just a couple of the great products we had the chance to handle and learn about and are some of our favorites from the show.  If you had the opportunity to go let us know your favorites in the comment section below.

First, the Benelli Ethos.  For the hunter looking for a ultra sweet, light weight, auto shotgun for the field the new Ethos answers a bird hunters prayers. Though we mainly paid attention to the 12g model we were shocked by its overall light weight design matched with an overall gorgeous look helped us get excited about adding to our collection.  The action flowed nicely and construction looked to be able to with stand quite the beating.  

Next is more for the hunter that likes to also make sure he or she is safe on the streets or in the home.  For the streets Glock has introduced the new Glock 42 380.  Due to the popularity in this round for a carry weapon Glock decided to pack its typical design to fit the caliber.  The best thing we found about this gun was that it kept Glock's reputation for simple yet rugged design with an easy tear down appeal we have not seen yet in a gun of this caliber.  For home defense we went over to the UTS booth to check out the impressive UTS-15 shotgun.  As the salesman said, if you can't get it done in fifteen shotgun rounds, you are officially at war in your home.  

Lastly, we took a look at some of the new night vision optics from our friends at Bering Optics.  They seem to have quite a good grasp on what we hunters are looking for in our night vision optics.  It also does not hurt that the company is from one of the best places to hunt hogs at night Texas to help give them a great in the field testing platform.  We at Shotem and Caughtem might get the opportunity to go out and test some of their optics to give a more formal review which we could not be more excited for the possibility.

As always let us know about your favorite gear in the galleries and tell us your story.  

Published in News/Events
Monday, 13 January 2014 21:54

Big Bang Convention 2014 Shot Show

Well it is that time of year again for the Shotem and Caughtem crew to head to Las Vegas and check out all things that go bang and the companies that help produce some really cool stuff for the hunting and shooting community.  The 2014 Shot Show is once again in full swing and we hope to bring you plenty of cool news from the convention.  For those of you that will be attending the event, we will once again be wandering around the huge convention checking out all the new products available wearing our Shotem and Caughtem swag.  We hope you will stop and let us know your thoughts on the website and what we can do better.  We might even have some cool giveaways at the show should you take the time to visit with us.  For those of you not attending it is a great time to add some comments below of what you would like to see more of on the website.  We hope to fill our suitcases with great products to review and share with you our members once we get back and have a chance to go through the huge amount of material.  

We hope you have a great Shotem and Caughtem week and will be back on the WWW once we come back from the show!

Published in News/Events

We at Shotem and Caughtem heard the news that Tennessee residents are pressuring the state to open a feral pig hunting season.  We thought this would make a great debate for all to way in on the subject.  Here are some details and our thoughts.  Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

An official with the Tennessee Wildlife Commission met with concerned hunters Tuesday who want to open a new hunting season.  Their goal is to open a feral hog hunting season and allow them to use dogs when they track them. They say the animals have caused significant damage on private and public land.  Right now, hunters can kill feral hogs, but only if they get an exemption from the state.  The five counties asking for the changes are Polk, Monroe, White, Bradley and McMinn.

Though we think that feral hogs are more than a pain, there are some things we have noticed in surrounding states that we feel have worked best for this invasive species.  Wild Boar have covered much of the southern states since Christopher Columbus released the first pigs from his boat.  As many know pigs are not natural to North America.  If you travel to Texas to hunt wild pigs they will give you a stack of tags for a nominal fee.  In Oklahoma however, they decided to also create a hunting season for pigs and charge a pretty high price to do so for revenues sake.  It has backfired.  Many hunting properties began trapping pigs in Texas and importing them into the state in order to make a buck.  As such the number of pigs has doubled in the state in a relatively short amount of time.  Missouri has taken a different approach.  Kill them all.  No tags, no license, just get rid of them.  They have been able to keep the population fairly in check.  They are an impressive animal with even more impressive breeding capabilities.  They can survive in almost any climate and can double their numbers in months.

Which side of the debate and what are your thoughts on the subject?   

Published in News/Events
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