Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Drop and Give Me 20!

I decided to get the bow out this evening and do some practicing. My wife, our girls and I went over to my in-laws so I could have room to set up a target. I have to admit that it has been awhile since I shot my bow - too long actually. I'm ashamed of myself. I have never had any problems drawing this bow, but this evening I was reminded that if you don't use those particular muscles consistently they will become weak. The daily pushups will begin tonight, and more frequent practice with the bow begins immediately! Turning 30 is really kicking my tail!

Somewhat Disappointed . . .

I pulled the memory cards off my trail camera this past weekend. I was glad to see that I had quite a few deer pictures, but I was a little bit disappointed that I didn't have more buck pictures than I did. That happens sometimes - I know they're out there, but they didn't show their face. I put in fresh batteries and a clean memory card and will see what happens next time. Here are some of the pictures. This first one is the best picture of a buck that I got this time.

The middle deer in this picture looks like his antlers aren't growing properly.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Trail Camera Trophies

I have plans to check my trail cameras later this week and I'm really excited about what might be on the cameras. I've become a big fan of trail cameras over the last several years. They provide valuable scouting information because they are in the field doing the scouting when I can't be. Each time I check a trail camera, it's kinda like opening presents on Christmas morning - you never know what is gonna be on those memory cards. I've been really disappointed before when I would check a camera and a cow had rubbed up against it and knocked it down, resulting in a memory card full of pictures looking up at the sky. I've also been pleasantly surprised when something unique would show up on the camera. One thing I like about trail cameras is they provide another aspect to hunting. Even though you may not be able to bag that trophy buck, your trail camera might capture a picture of him. I decided to sort through some of my old trail camera pics and share a few of my favorites with you, along with a story for each one.

This first picture might not seem that unique - that's a 9-point on the left and a 10-point on the right. What I liked about this picture is that one of the deer is still in velvet while the other one has already lost his velvet. Also, if you look really closely, I am sitting inside the box blind off in the distance. This was the second morning of dove season, and there had been no birds flying the day before, so I decided to sit in my scouting blind that morning and see if I could see some deer. I took a camera with me and was able to take a couple still shots of the same deer that are in the trail camera picture.

This next picture is really strange. I thought about sending it to the National Enquirer and telling them I had documented evidence of a Chupacabra. My hunting buddies and I analyzed this picture quite a bit and we determined that this is a coyote with an extreme case of the mange.

The next picture is one that has really stood out in my mind. This is the biggest boar hog I have ever caught on camera, and I've gotten lots of hog pictures. My guess is that this porker would go 300+ pounds easily. I nicknamed him "The Grand Champion", because the way this pig is standing in the picture reminds me of a picture of an FFA boy with his showpig. I have to admit, I've walked to my stand before in the pitch black during the wee hours of the morning, armed with nothing more than a bow and arrow, heard a rustle in the brush and had visions of this image. I really don't want to come face to face with this dude!

I've gotten quite a few pictures of coyotes over the years, but this is one of the best ones. It doesn't snow that often here in Texas, so this one is a little unique.

And I can't leave you without a deer picture. Each fall it seems like I get one picture of a buck that is what I would consider a giant (at least for the area we hunt). Usually that picture is in the middle of the night and the deer is just passing through. Here is a perfect example. Although this wasn't the best angle of this deer, this is the only picture I've gotten of this buck in several years of having cameras up. The date is November 3rd, probably in the peak of the rut, and the time was 12:02 - just after midnight (I know the camera showed P.M. instead of A.M. - I had it set wrong by 12 hours). This buck doesn't have a very wide spread, but look at the length of those tines!

I love trail camera pictures! If you have a unique one that you would like for me to share on my blog, click on the email link on the right-hand side of the page and send it to me. Include a brief description of the picture (your name, where you are from, where the picture was taken, and any other pertinent facts) and I would be glad to post it on my page. Hunting season is just a couple months away!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

First Sign that Hunting Season is Drawing Near

One day last week after coming home from work I walked into the house, said hello to the wife and kids, and strolled into the kitchen. I glanced down at the kitchen counter and noticed a plain-looking booklet sitting with the rest of the mail. Although drab and lackluster in appearance, this is no ordinary booklet. This is the Texas Parks & Wildlife's yearly Applications for Drawings on Public Hunting Lands booklet.

This is the first sign that hunting season is quickly approaching. (My wife sarcastically saying "Yea, hunting season is almost here" and rolling her eyes is the second sign.) It is a sign that cooler weather is on the horizon (I know, I know - anything is cooler than today's high of 104.) The arrival of this book in my mailbox triggers a change in my demeanor from "I can't wait until hunting season gets here." to "Hunting season is almost here!" The glass is no longer half-empty.

This book is full of lottery-style drawn hunt applications from every region of the state. Most of the hunts are carried out on wildlife management areas, but there are a few you can apply for on private lands as well. The hunt application fees range from $3 to $10 per person, and if selected, some of the hunts require an additional permit fee ranging from $80 to $130. Several of the hunts have a better than 50/50 chance of being drawn for a permit, while others are highly sought after.

One of the most coveted hunts is the Guided Bighorn Sheep Hunt Package, which will only be given to one successful applicant this year. Last year, almost 2100 people applied for a chance to receive one of two permits available. If drawn, the lucky hunter will receive a permit for a fully-guided 5-day hunt for a desert bighorn sheep ram on a wildlife management area in west Texas. The package includes the permit, guide, food, lodging, and on-site transportation.

I applied for several hunts last year, and was actually drawn for a gun whitetail hunt in east Texas. I was very impressed with how well the hunt was conducted and the safe methods in which it was carried out. I saw several deer, but none meeting the antler criteria. I plan on applying for several hunts again this year.

Now the decision process starts - so many hunts to choose from, and you can only apply for one in each category. For more information check out Texas Parks & Wildlife's website.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Rob's Hunting Journal - One Year Later

For the last few weeks I haven't had much time for blogging. A family vacation and just being busy is partly to blame. This week I'm taking a look back at my origins of blogging.

A year ago, I learned that one of my sister's had a blog page where she posted recent family pictures and shared stories with friends. At that time, I didn't really even know what a blog was, and to be honest with you, I thought blogging was a little weird. I didn't really think I needed to start my own blog. After all, I don't have that many friends, and I just didn't feel like it was for me.

But, several issues made me think differently.

First, for the last several years my dad and I talked about putting together a book of all of our hunting pictures, and trying to document which picture was from which year and so on. But, neither one of us ever really got around to creating this scrapbook. Another issue I had was finding an easy way to share trail camera pictures with my hunting buddies without clogging each other's email inboxes. And finally, I needed an easy way to document information from mine and my buddies hunts to help better manage the property we hunt.

Last July, after visiting my sister's blog a couple times, I finally thought to myself that a blog just might be the answer to those problems. So far, it has been. I've been able to upload pictures and include stories in scrapbook fashion. I can easily share trail camera pictures with my hunting buddies. And, I have been able to easily document each hunt or scouting trip with details that will come in handy in future years that I might have otherwise forgotten.

Not only has blogging solved those three problems, but it has also been an eye opener concerning other aspects. I never realized how many people can be reached and communicated with through blogging. Over the last year, my blog has received regular visitors from as far away as Alaska and Maine. I've had readers comment on my blog from various states including Connecticut, Kansas, Kentucky, and Florida, just to name a few. Even though my blog doesn't receive the number of visitors as some of the other blogs I visit, I am amazed and humbled at how many readers have stopped by. It has definitely caused me to see blogging in a different light, and that has led to some other callings. It reminds me of a verse from the Bible, Matthew 28:19.

Blogging has also been an avenue to express my creativity and helped me to hone my writing skills. I've really grown to like it, sometimes too much. Just ask my wife, she will tell you I spend too much time on this computer, and most of the time she is right. But, I'm thankful she understands that it is something I enjoy and that it can be used for valuable purposes.

If you are reading this, I appreciate you stopping by, and I hope you enjoy what you read. I welcome any of your comments and enjoy hearing from each of you. Don't be a stranger!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Baby Cottontails

I was mowing the yard this evening and noticed something a little out of the ordinary. Something moving through the grass. I took a closer look and realized that I had come within about three inches of running right over a nest of baby rabbits. I had moved a plastic Fisher Price type slide that my daughters have in the backyard to mow underneath it and noticed this.
I tried to grab the little feller to put him back in the nest but he actually hopped away and got under the fence before I could grab him. There were at least two more in the nest and they appeared to be unharmed.
I covered the nest back up with the plastic slide, as it was, and mowed around this spot in the yard. I just mowed this same spot on Friday afternoon, just 3 days ago, so the babies can't be more than 3 days old. I've read that if a nest is uncovered, to try to get the babies back in the nest and covered up because the mother will still come back to feed them with the human scent on the nest. The mother only comes to the nest two or three times a day, once usually right after dark, to feed. Hopefully she will manage to get the one that got away coaxed back into the nest.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

July 4th

I love America and the values for which it was founded! Even though I have never served in the military, I would consider myself patriotic. But, on this July 4th, I would like to say a special thank you to those men and women who have served in our armed forces to protect our freedom and way of life.

Several of my family members and close friends have proudly served our country. I would like to specifically remember and honor them today, for they are more of a patriot than I ever thought of being.

Both of my late Grandfathers were in the Army:
Wayne Watson (Grandaddy) served in Italy and Africa during World War II. I remember him telling me stories of spending months in a fox hole.
Hollis Jordan (Pawpaw) served in Korea and was part of central intelligence leading up to the Korean War.

My Dad, Scott Jordan, served in the Navy just after the Vietnam War.

My Father-in-Law, Danny Baxter, served in the Army and was in Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

My wife's Uncle, Jody Oren, retired as a Colonel from the Marines.

My wife's cousin, William Oren (Jody's son), is currently a Captain in the Marines and has served several tours in Iraq.

My good friend from high school, Justin Gamel, serves in the Air Force flying B-52 bombers and has flown missions during the recent conflict in the Middle East.

I am thankful for the service of these men, and for their efforts to protect our freedom!

Happy Fourth of July!