Archive for Deer

Gray Wolf Survey

Gray Wolf Survey

A federal judge ruled that gray wolves in Montana and Idaho must be given the same protections under the Federal Endangered Species Act as their cousins in Wyoming. Do you agree or disagree with the courts decision?

Habits of Western Deer

Why would we want to have an understanding of deer habits you might ask? Answer: the male “Buck” is the trophy all hunters covet when deer hunting. A quick look at harvest rates across the country indicate the majority of deer taken annually are bucks. The female “Does” are managed very carefully, state by state, and only a limited number of them are legally harvested each season, and for good reason.

Learning the habits of deer will certainly increase the chances of you “filling” your tag. Generally speaking, if you plan to just walk into the woods knowing little to nothing about the animal you stalk, you will likely spend a peaceful quiet day enjoying the surroundings but failing to bag, or even spot, a deer let alone harvest one. To increase odds in your favor, you must observe habits that deer exhibit which will likely increase your chance of a successful hunt.

First and foremost, we need to find where the deer community dwell. We want to locate areas more heavily populated by Western Deer and avoid the areas they do not. Before ever stepping foot into the forest, I like to research areas that I believe will have higher concentrations of deer. I do this at home from my computer. Water is an essential all deer yearn for. When I know which “Big Game Unit” I will be hunting, I locate that units topography on websites such as “Google Maps” and search the landscape for water sources shown from aerial views. If you can find a water source, you can be certain wildlife drinks from that source.

Western deer require adequate food sources, shelter, coverage for hiding and areas uninhabited by human activity. Learn what diet Western deer adhere to. Research what foods in the area they consider enticing then locate the area where those foods are plentiful. Areas of shelter and coverage can be researched from your computer, similar to your search for water. I also find that speaking with the local forestry and/or DNR personnel result in tips and locations to the whereabouts of trophy animals.

Next, we need to learn the Western deer’s schedule. Deer perform certain activities at different times of the day. Grazing in fields and pastures predominantly occur during dusk, late evening and/or dawn. On lowlight days under heavy cloud-cover, deer tend to be spotted in wide-open areas as opposed to their presence in the same location on a bright and sunny day. Deer conduct watering activities under cover of darkness. They do this to avoid human contact and predators. Western deer will likely repeat their habits over and over again provided no unsuspected interference.

Find scrapes and rubs. Deer season, in most parts of the country, occurs coincidently with “the rut”. Bucks create “scrapes” and/or “rubs” to attract does. In addition, some claim it to be a sign to warn off other bucks. During the rut, bucks are mainly interested in mating, often going without food, water or rest for long periods of time. Keep in mind that a “scrape line” will be checked by a buck several times a day.

Throwing together all the knowledge you have gained through research and visual cues should greatly improve your odds at harvesting the deer of your dreams!

Federal Court ruling being appealed in Idaho

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission passed a resolution Monday finding fault with the Federal Courts decision to restore protection of Wolves in the states of Idaho & Montana. Idaho F&G says it will “pursue all legal options to restore state authority” over management of the states Wolf population.

The Commission wants Governor Otter to “secure a pact with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that establishes Idaho as the lead manager of wolves”. The Commission intends to “seek a [Wolf] hunting season through the Endangered Species Act process” despite the recent ruling and hopes to have it in place before this fall. A combined total of 258 Wolves were harvested last season between the two states. Because the future hunting season is now in question, Idaho has begun returning money to hunters who purchased and did not use their Wolf tags.

Mondays Commission meeting returned a “unanimous” vote in favor of appealing the Federal Courts decision. The case will be brought before the “Ninth Circuit – U. S. Court of Appeals”. The basis of the appeal is that Judge Molloy’s re-listing of Wolves is “contrary to state management of wildlife, the intent and purpose of the Endangered Species Act and the clear biological recovery of wolves”.

The Wolves were re-introduced into the Rocky Mountain region in 1995 with a “recovery goal” of at least 300 Wolves. The Fish and Wildlife Service estimates there were 1,706 wolves in the region by the end of 2009, including 843 in Idaho.

Wolves are being blamed for eating too many big game species such as Elk & Bison in Idaho, and management efforts could significantly reduce this predation.

In North Central Idaho, the Commission plans to seek permission to reduce the pack by nearly 100 animals in an effort to provide struggling Elk herds a chance at expansion.

Wolf advocates claim the Commissions resolution was predictable but unhelpful to resolving how best to manage and protect the predators. Advocates claim “there seems to be an almost 100 percent focus on winning the conflict as opposed to resolving it.”

Do you know your tracks?

How well do you know the tracks left behind by the species you covet? Check out the article by “Kevin Wilson – Author and freelance outdoors writer and professional big game & waterfowl guide/outfitter from Alberta, Canada”.

Read it!

Cabelas 1 HP Commercial Grade Meat Grinder

I own a Cabelas Commercial Grade 1 HP food grinder which, in my opinion, is a great investment for the DIY-er wanting to make meat products at home. Doing so not only can save money, but it also gives you greater control over the quality and content of the meat products you consume. It is a reliable, durable and easy to clean unit. Because Cabelas uses top-notch components, you can count on years of service with proper care of the equipment. With 10 to 12 pounds-per-minute processing capacity, your processing time is substantially reduced.

I use my grinder mainly for game meat processing. I have put it to the test when making burger by intentionally leaving silver skin and tendon tissue on the meat before grinding. I wanted to see if it would separate the ground chuck from the waste product. I was not let down. The burger, which happened to be Oryx, was as lean as any commercially processed burger you could find at the local grocers chuck bin, if not leaner. There was no sign of silver skin or tendon tissue in the burger.

I always start my grinding sessions by using the larger 22# 7mm grinding plate. My pieces of meat are usually cubed  2″ square. They seem to run effortlessly down the auger tube and through the grinding plate  with ease. Because I was testing the grinder capability, I found I was having to stop about every 2.5 to 3 pounds to clean out the silver skin and tissue [to be expected]. In most cases, this tissue is removed during the de-boning phase of dressing the animal.

This grinder chugged right through the process without skipping a beat! In most cases, the second and third passes through the smaller 22# 4.5mm grinder-plate resulted in little to no waste tissue in the auger tube. Three step-grinding is the norm for me and my family and we’ve yet to come across any “hard” or “chewy” ground meat product.

The grinder comes complete with a sausage stuffing tube kit. Has extremely easy to clean “stainless components” and packs a five-year warranty [best I could find at the time of purchase and I believe still holds true today]. The 1 HP models [and larger] come with a “reverse” drive unit. Several attachments are available for the unit as well!

I am EXTREMELY pleased with this purchase and give it a big thumbs up!

“Kudo’s” to Cabelas for offering s superior quality product!