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Showing content with the highest reputation since 05/26/2015 in all areas

  1. 18 points

    It is with great pleasure...

    ...that I present to you a picture that I took on Saturday evening. Lots of time and effort went into this, but Ryan made good on the shot this button buck offered him at 9 yards. The deer went 50 yards and dropped in sight. We literally jumped for joy, hugged, high fived, and shook hands. It was a big day for my ten year old boy, and for his dad too!
  2. 18 points

    HSO Deer Photo's

    My Dad took this deer opening morning. He's 92 years old! Pretty proud of my old man.
  3. 18 points

    Classy Gesture

    Guys, I posted about my dad passing away and truly appreciate all the kind words. Today we had the funeral and before the service my sister asked me if I knew who the flowers were from that said, "from your friends at HSO". I was floored. I've never personally met one person on this page unless I happened to know them before. My wife and kids kiddingly mock me all the time about being on this page very frequently. My daughter calls it my "blog page". I've told her it's not a blog and finally have relented and call it whatever they want to. When I showed them the flowers they couldn't believe it. I told her "I guess my blog page is a little cooler than you think." From the bottom of my heart I appreciate this classy gesture from my friends at HSO! We are planting the flowers in our garden tomorrow.
  4. 15 points

    My Old Man Still Gettin' it Done

    Yeah, yeah, I know, it's with a gun, but you guys know me, those over in the gun forum, not so much. At any rate, my Dad's 92 and I'm pretty proud of him.
  5. 13 points

    Big Bear down!!

    My son Dean took his first bear this past Sunday (9/13) and it was no average bear!! We had one bait station that was getting hit regularly by 2 bears, one being close to 2 hundred pounds and the other just a bit larger. These bears were coming in during daylight on a pretty regular basis,,,,,,,,,,, till the acorns started to drop. The bait was only being visited every few days and then only once in the last week. The regular visits had stopped and hopes of getting one of the average bears was not looking good. We were freshening the bait daily since season started but the bait was being hit less and less. This past Sunday it was very windy and a little warm but Dean decide to spend the afternoon in the ground blind at the bait. At 7pm a bear that we had not seen at the bait before came in. With the bear looking at the blind Dean had little time to analyze the bear, in fact he did not see the bear come in due to playing on his phone. He looked up and the bear was there at 30 yards. The bear turned his head to the bait and Dean was able to make the shot. I was near and heard the 300 win mag bark but waited for him to call. When he called he could hardly talk and I said im on my way. I was expecting a 200# bear to be laying by the bait. Well the bear bolted at the shot but only made it 30 yards but out of page of the blind. I walked down and saw the bear piled up. I got up to the bear and could not believe my eyes. It was a beast. We were in awe of the size. The big boar dressed at 420 pounds with an estimated live weight of over 500. We are still in disbelief of the whole hunt. This bear had not been seen on the camera all season. Right place at the right time!!! The first pick is off the trail camera before the shot.
  6. 12 points

    Twice Baked Potatoes and Prime Rib

    Had my adopted son Tony and his girlfriend over yesterday. Made some of my twice baked potatoes and a prime rib roast. Pulled the rib roast out at 135. Was going to pull it at 130 but got distracted by conversation. Made the au jus and sliced the roast and put it in the au jus right away. Very tender was said by all. The twice baked potatoes is the same as the recipe posted on my page in the Recipe page. Scooped out the baked potatoes and put sour cream, butter, cheddar cheese, green onions and milk and mixed until smooth [salt and pepper also]. Then scooped it back into the potato shells. Covered the potatoes with bacon that I fried previously, more green onions and more cheddar cheese and put them in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes so the cheese is melted. good luck. Ready for the oven. In the au jus the slices go.
  7. 12 points

    Smoking some beef today

    Holy cow - literally! This turned out WAY better than I expected, given that before September last year, I really hadn't smoked a thing in my life besides maybe a rack of ribs on my gas grill. Here's the grand reveal. Thanks Reinhard, as always, for your wisdom. Followed mostly the procedure on your page. when my 8-year old says "Dad, this is WAY better than Arby's!" I did something right! Out of the smoker and into the foil to rest a while. As soon as I cut that first slice, I knew it was going to be awesome! Getting' happy in the juice! Voila! threw some sautéed shrooms on there and a big slice of muenster and put it under the broiler before putting the top on and chowing down! Lots of leftovers, too. Can't wait for lunch tomorrow - I may have to have it for breakfast! Also, I really liked the flavor of the cherry wood for beef. Will be doing it again, for sure!
  8. 12 points

    HSO Deer Photo's

    Decide to take the day off and hunt. Quarter past noon this guy comes walking out at the end of the clearing. 300 yards. I knew it was a buck, but was just concentrating on making the shot. Went about 40 yards. Oh boy did I get excited when I walked up to him. 13 points. Think l am still shaking.
  9. 12 points
  10. 11 points

    Wild Turkey Photos

    Myself and my 9yo on his first turkey hunt. He decided Wednesday he wanted to try turkey hunting. He has never showed much interest in hunting before. Needless to say I think he is hooked! Oh and he shot a bigger bird than I ever have. 25.6lbs 10 3/4 inch beard and 1 1/4 hooks.
  11. 11 points

    A deer hunting story.

    I woke up, startled, why was there light peeking in the windows?... I found my phone, muted, saying "press here to snooze"... Threw on my clothes, grabbed all my stuff and threw it into the car because I was going to go straight home after hunting, not coming back to the cabin. The wind forecast was out of the south, and I had a good spot in mind that is ideal for a south wind. Also very close to the car in a large area of public land. I had to be home by late morning, didn't want to shoot something a mile back that would take forever to drag out by myself, especially in the heat. I pulled into the public land parking spot a few minutes before sunrise. The deer usually cross the road by this spot right away in the morning as they feed in a private field not far away and bed on other private land on the other side of the road. I have hunted this spot many times when short on time or the wind is right, today for both reasons. I always try to get there well before shooting time. Not today though. Since it was light out, I quietly worked my way towards the creek where they like to cross. Looking for fresh tracks as I went, since I hadn't scouted this area yet this year. There were a couple sets from the previous night. I crossed the creek and moved towards the far woods quickly so I wouldn't be caught in the thirty or so yards of open grass if one was coming down off the hill in the trees. Once across I picked up the trail quickly, good sign on it. If any deer were still coming, they probably would come right to me. It's actually a good thing that I forgot my tree stand straps at home. I realized it on Saturday afternoon when heading out to an evening spot and found they were missing. If I had to put up a stand, it would have ruined everything. So I stood next to a big tree very close to the main trail, and a lighter crossing trail. The small trees near my offered good cover if I could spot anything coming at a distance. I wasn't sure if I would stay long though, so didn't bother moving more than a couple yards off the trail. 10 minutes went by, and I heard a couple branches break up the hill and on the main trail. In the late fall I would easily have been able to see up there, but early season is different. A moment later I head more noise, it must be a deer. I quickly pulled up my bow and attached my release as I spotted antlers ahead. The deer looked plenty big for me, so I drew as he was about 25 yards out and still behind lots of leafy saplings. He quickly walked through the first opening, thankfully angling slighty off the main trail, otherwise he would have walked right into me... I was in plain sight of him, but he never took the time look my way. I would have shot but he didn't stop, so as he hit the next opening at 15 yards I grunted because I doubted he would stop on his own. He froze, and I put an arrow into him. The shot looked great, good height, maybe slightly back. He ran in a circle back to where he came down. And stood there and flicked his tail a few times..... I knew then that I probably hit liver. It was too far forward for guts. He was too far, and too much between us to take a hail mary shot. He walked a few steps behind some leaves where I couldn't see him. I waited only a couple minutes as he never appeared further ahead, so I slowly moved to the side to try to spot him. I couldn't see him, so I went back to the trail he had been on and crept forward. After a short distance and not seeing any blood yet, I had a bad feeling setting in. Then I looked ahead as I saw movement in the ferns. Antler tips were sticking up and he moved his head again. He had bedded in the ferns where I last saw him, licking his wound. He was surprisingly only 20 yards ahead of me, but hadn't seen me through the ferns. His head was swaying a bit. He looked semi-alert, so I had to think fast and didn't want to let him sit and suffer. The only thing between us was a lot of ferns, and I could see the top of his rump, and his antler tips, so in between would be vitals. I drew another arrow and sent it into the ferns where his center body would be. He bolted up in the air and into a small tree and landed back on the ground. I probably hit his spine, he was stuck against the small tree now and could see me but wasn't moving. I quickly drew again and sent one more into him, this time I finally put one in the lungs... He expired shortly after. It was nice and cool, no mosquitoes like last night, and I could comfortably take my time to get a couple photos and get to work. Of course I forgot my dragging strap at home. I had to get him out the old fashioned way. I thought I would go ahead to the car and get a drink, then realized I forgot my cold root beer, and the ice pack, at the cabin. I guess they will wait until later this season. I knew I was out of shape, but good grief, 300 yards of dragging was never so hard. And I still had to get him into the back of my VW wagon. Finally on the road, I stopped to talk to someone coming out the woods with blaze orange and a shotgun. They were squirrel hunting, and not familiar with the area, so I pointed them to where I had seen some grouse and wished them luck. I actually hadn't seen any squirrels while scouting, they were probably fat and lazy from gorging on acorns. The first gas station I came to was a welcome sight. I got a cold soda, and a 10lb bag of ice to pack into the deer to combat the heat. It was getting warm fast. Home an hour later, deer cut up and in the fridge as quick as possible, and I'm ready for a nap.
  12. 11 points

    Boars Boar!!!

    Holey smokes what a night, the story contines off of "This looks promising" and no theres no swapin underwear, LOL, so on wensday The big boy back out on my my buddy xx1957xx, he had driven all the way from worthington to hunt for the second time this season. So Pumpkin Head backs out, and we decide together that thats my bear to hunt, PH dont like the new player in buffette room. we let it sit thursday to cool down and get him comfetable, I had decided to let 57 hunt my private land which is offlimits cause of family members, to many fingers in the pie. but 57 came 6.5 hrs to hunt. Cant let him sit on the couch, other sites were dry and this one was picking up again. with recent pictures of the nice one from earlier this baiting season. He was very greatfully for that that. Heck he'd do it for me. So Im running to Pumpkin Head's buffette table to freshing it up, of course he'd been feeding of course and it was licked clean, half of an army duffle bag and two bucketts. Gone! in less than two days. Glutten! Im sitting in stand, and ya know, when youve spent alot of time in bear stand, ya just know wen something is gona happen, you get that feeling that all the hard work is gona come together, im comtemplateing this in my tree of solitude, playing with my new phone, eeeesh wat bad habit, but hey, that or a Tina Fay book my wife bought. so I set up google accounts and stuff. As Im sittitng there on a perfect killing night with tunnel vision cause of a head net and hoodie, thinking,"yup, its dinner time". I dont see him till he's right where he backed out on 57 two nights ago, just there. I love that, such amazing creature, so big but yet so quiet moving thru the woods. He's just there, Apex preditor in all his Glory. Just waltzing in like John Wayne into a saloon to belly up to the bar."Well i tell ya pilgrim" Maybe Clint Eastwood, " are ya gona pull them pistols, or whistle dixie" either way he owns these woods. John Clint PumkinHead Eastwood, circles the bait, gives me a broadside shot, BOOM!!! JCPHE HAS LEFT THE BUFFETE!! He made it 40 yards as I watch him drop over.and Im shakin, bad..... Feels like the first time!, now thats in your head boys. im trying to do this, text my wife, 57, icehole, anyone. just gota let it out crazy like! I finally settle down enoguht ot get a text out to 57, My freind got a nice one !!!! right at the same fipping time! Me and 57 double up! first thought was way to cool!!!! then "its gona be a long night" LOL but yeah! it will!! how cool is that. I get down, and this black form on the ground, gets bigger and bigger, and Im 25 yards away from it and this thing is keeps growing. I get up to it and Im astonished! hes huge! his head is massive! bigger than a lid on five gal bucket by far, ear are huge, paws are huge, toes, man his toes are as big as my big toe! well I start to make the calls for the calvery, this bad boy was shot at about 630 pm and it 10 before were home 20 min from home, thank God for a very cool night. I call my boss and he graciously lets me use the shop equipt with how many hoist I dont know. but the job just got easier. I put the scale on the hoist and pull him up and tips the scale at 340 dressed. Biggest to date! pushin 400 on the pad! so we get that job done and hide and meat are cooling dow, and on to bear number 2, again thank God for a very cool night, had no worries about 57's bear, down in the river bottom, actually hovering just abouve freezing way down in there, so after about another hour but with a 4 wheeler to help we haul out his prize, and what a prize! The dude shot a chocolate!, verified it at the shop in the light and yeah, xx1957xx takes a Chocolate that tips the scale at 205. Great job buddy!! normaly my river bottom is of limits but Im so happy that you had this opportunity, and You sealed the deal on a gorgeous bear! Im jealous dude, Im glad it was you! what a night. Whent to bed at 330 this morning and the adrenaine is still pumpin! Boars back on top!!
  13. 11 points


    I was wondering why I was posting this here since my dad didn't cook a ton, but was renowned for his breakfasts mainly because he was a bacon expert. My dad passed away yesterday at 86 years old (third from right in photo). If you could die perfectly he surely did that. He got to whisper "I love you's" to his kids and grandkids and a little while later peacefully moved on to be with my mom. Good timing since their Anniversary is tomorrow, Sept 20. He was awesome. He discovered Nueske's bacon before it's time and discovered Thielen's bacon 20 years before it was in the NY Times. He made thousands of pancakes (the thin Swedish kind) for his family and especially canoe shaped ones for his grandkids when they visited him at the cabin. Lowell Martinson was his name.
  14. 10 points


    How about some pulled chicken. Here are some pics from my page on how I make pulled chicken. Good luck. I put my rub on the whole birds and cover them with bacon and tie the wings and legs. I put the rub under the skin, on top of the skin, and some on top of the bacon. Put them in the smoker at the top temp, 275 deg. Here are the birds when done. The bacon is nice and crisp. I let the birds rest under foil a bit to cool down for pulling. That bacon not only keeps the birds moist but I cut it up and put it right into the pulled pork mix. Here is the chicken pulled and mixed with my sauce and the bacon. You just want to put enough sauce in the mix to get the flavors to meld. I don't like pulled pork or chicken drowning in sauce. Then the sauce overpowers the taste of the smoke chicken. I serve the pulled chicken with extra sauce on the side for those who want it. And what would pulled chicken or pork be without some great slaw on top. I make my own Asian slaw for this. Close up shot. I like to brown the buns in a pan with butter.
  15. 10 points
    Well, I hit the big 3-8 today. B-days are no big deal to me . I'm not afraid of growing old (as I'm OBVIOUSLY getting better), so I'm not ignoring it - it's just another day. In fact you gotta set aside 30 minutes just to manage all the Facebook messages you get (If you do the Facebook thing). Anyway, one thing to look forward to is the good eats. My wife picked up fresh donuts from the bakery this morning as I'm not a straight-up cake fan. She's gonna bake some fresh carmel rolls this weekend when we have some more time. Then I had a great lunch with my awesome coworkers at Pepito's in South Minneapolis - all you can eat Taco bar - one of my favorite places to eat in the cities. Lunch was too big and the weather sucks! So we're going out to dinner to celebrate tomorrow at the Ranchero supper club in Webster, MN. Fantastic German and American Fare. Not sure what I'm getting but I bet it ends in "Schnitlzel," "Braten" or "Wurst."
  16. 10 points

    YUM, Twas the night before Ash Wed.

    Butterflied chicken breast stuffed with aged smoked ham, provolone and asparagus. I also double wrapped these in thick cut bacon. I cooked them on the Weber, they turned out pretty darn good. Next time, I will add some sliced jalapeno’s to kick it up a bit.
  17. 10 points

    A few observations - Pic heavy

    1st: Always check the cooking forum frequently, this seems to be the catch all for anything related to this page. 2nd: When you see bets that involve smoked/cured meats from members, enter as you never know when you may get lucky (I did on the final score of the Minn – Hawks game and won!) 3rd: When you win, the creators of the contest rapidly connect with your using HSO’s PM service which was nice. 4th: When the first box gets delivered in a very short period of time, sealed with duct tape and the return address just says “Boar” have your wife open it. I feel I am more bombable than she is. 4.5: Who is this BOAR guy anyway, don’t you have to be a socialite or famous to just have a single name you like Cher or Madonna? 5th: The two boxes I have received, included a nice little note. Read those so you know what you are getting into. 6th: After you filter through all the bacon, summer sausage, beef jerky and Canadian bacon there is still one item left neatly wrapped in shop towels that I am leery of opening. I immediately reverted back to the 4th step which is have the wife open it, low and behold 2 hunks of smoked cheese one smoked apple-wood American and the other gouda. 7th: Try to explain who these people are that are sending us these treats to a 9-6-4 year old, their first response was “Dad, you tell us all the time not to make friends on the internet” 8th: Explain to children, Dad isn’t always right. 9th: Get mom all mad right before dinner as we ate the summer sausage, jerky and a big hunk of cheese, by the time dinner was done all 4 of us said we are not hungry! 10th: Drool for this weekend as I am cooking up the traditional bacon and Canadian bacon Sat morning before one of their big swim meets. In all honestly, wow was it good and completely appreciated. I will be checking the archives for these recipes and tricks, because I can only hope they turn out as good when I try to make these. As for those of you who are against using backstraps for jerky, you need to rethink your position. Thank you again, LoveBigBlueGills , Boar, and Reinhard1
  18. 10 points
    We got to the tracks and soon two other trucks showed up. Five serious and hard-core mountain lion hunters filled those other two trucks! We got out and met them and thanked them for their key help in trying to help me get a cat. From 5:00 – 7:30 AM we waited, told stories, and “hung out with the guys”. It was great listening to these guys! When it came to lion hunting, there was a nice mix of experience levels, but all of them clearly knew a lot (and importantly a lot more than me) and were fun to hang out with. Here are a couple pics of the dog boxes that the pooches rode around in. As legal light approached the houndsmen started to get their dogs ready. They kept them all on leashes, but got them situated and ready to “run the track”. Once we reached our legal starting time for the day they had the dogs “lined up” and they were off. After less than 100 yards the dogs seemed a bit confused and lost the track. One of the houndsmen kept saying “They’ll figure it out”, and he was right. Soon their barking and baying faded down the canyon. Ryan said “get in” and we headed down the road. After a few stops we heard the dogs again, about ½ mile downhill from our starting point and essentially straight up the steep mountainside from us. After a few minutes one of the houndsmen pulled up to us in his truck. He was looking at the gps unit that allowed him to see the location of his dogs (GPS collars on each of them). He looked at the GPS unit, then looked at me and said “Your cat is 260 yards up there”, pointing up the steep incline. He also said “My pup is 890 yards that way”, pointing almost the opposite direction. I wasn’t the only one in the mix who had a lot of learning to do about mountain lion hunting! Jake asked if the cat was treed and the houndsman simply replied “Yep”. We grabbed our packs, my hunters orange vest, and my bow and off we went. Even though it was only 260 yards to the dogs, it was just about as far uphill! That country was steep! It didn’t take too long though and I could soon see the dogs moving around at the base of a large ponderosa pine tree. Ryan asked if I could see the cat, and with a little help, I spotted it. As we got closer I started to take a few pictures. Within a minute I was above the base of the tree and nearly eye level with the cat. I ranged him and I was a mere 15 yards away. He was sprawled out in plain view. I took pictures and started to ready my bow a little bit. I took off my jacket since I had time and I was overheated from the hike up. As I was doing this the houndsmen were getting the dogs tied off so I could take a shot. Suddenly the cat went from comfortable and planning on going nowhere to up and moving. He walked down the branch he had laid on, turned around, then nearly fell when he got back near the base of the tree. He soon leapt out to a different branch and found a new perch. He looks very calm and still in this picture, however, his lack of movement was short-lived. He quickly relocated to a different spot. I nearly had a shot while he was getting resituated, but I didn’t think the dogs were all tied off and certainly didn’t want to do anything that resulted in a dog or a person getting hurt. Not shooting when I could have would be a far smaller mistake than shooting when everyone and everything wasn’t ready. One common theme that I hear talked about often in mountain lion stories is the chaos that inevitably accompanies a treed lion. I have to admit, I always wondered “Just how chaotic can this really be?” In my opinion if you’ve never done it before this question seems understandable. After being involved in one treed cat, however, I no longer wonder this. It was really unbelievable! Between the barking and baying and jumping and running around the dogs do, the tying up of the dogs, the houndsmen trying to be heard over all the racket the dogs are making, the cat doing everything it’s doing, and the adrenaline of the whole situation, it’s truly chaotic! It’s a really unique and incredible experience, but most notably loud and chaotic. Ryan called me over near him for a shot, but it was quartering to me much more than I liked. A houndsman at the base of the tree called me down to him. I had a nice clear shot at the cat from there, but it was almost completely straight up. I said “I don’t like this shot.” Ryan soon encouraged me to take the shot, since it was clear and the cat had already gotten antsy once. Another houndsman hollered at me to take the shot as soon as I was ready. It was clear they wanted me to shoot. I said “Are you sure you want me to take this shot? I’m not in love with this angle at all.” They both looked at me and said “Shoot!” I drew my bow and aimed up, up, up! It was instantly clear that my very vertical shooting at home wasn’t nearly vertical enough for a shot like this. The cat was about 45 or 50 feet up in the tree and I was well under ten feet from the base of the tree. Here’s a pic of the shot I had- the mountain lion was dang near straight up the pine tree and in one of the branches just a little to the right. The picture makes it seem like the shot was even less vertical than it actually was. If you’ve never tried a shot like this, which I hadn’t, give it a try sometime! To get my pin on the cat I had to drop my back leg down and bend my knee a long ways, then I had to arch my back and bend back at the waist as far as I could. As uncomfortable as I was, I checked all my shot checkpoints and everything felt good. I found my anchor point, I had clearance with my arm, my grip felt good, so I leveled my bubble, found my 20 yard pin and centered it on my aiming point. I was confident I could make the shot, in spite of the extreme angle. I let the arrow go and hit exactly where I aimed. The cat sprung straight up in the air from the branch and began to spin in my direction. I was fully aware of the fact that I was standing on the only flat spot anywhere near the tree and I had wondered if this might be an inviting location for the cat to land. As the cat rocketed up and spun it looked down directly at me and made eye contact with me for a split second. I immediately thought the cat was going to land right on top of me. I, of course, did what any real man would do- I ran like a little school girl behind a tree I had previously identified just behind me. The cat kept spinning, however, and went another 180 degrees before he passed below the branch he had been sitting on. He hit the ground and the houndsmen were immediately after him. I followed right away, going down the steep hill as fast as I could. Even I could follow the blood trail, in spite of being color blind- it was impressive! Due to a miscommunication a couple of the guys let some of the dogs go from up by the tree. Ryan and I managed to intercept two of them and Ryan grabbed their collars. A third dog ran around us and headed downhill. I followed and 20 yards later I saw one of the more experienced houndsmen standing his ground, pointing a 44 Mag pistol into the brush right in front of him. He yelled at me to get over there and get another arrow in the cat. I ran over and to my amazement, I saw that the mountain loin was bedded and staring right at us, not more than 10 feet away from him. I had to move past the houndsman to have a clear shot, so he lowered his pistol for a brief second to let me slide by him. As I passed by the cat let out a hiss, clearly indicating he didn’t like me or the current situation. I wanted to put more space between the cat and me, but from the cat’s bed the hillside dropped sharply for about eight feet, but then plummeted almost straight down after that. I walked into the opening about eight feet from the cat. While I stood in the last available inches, before the mountainside dropped almost straight down, I tried to knock an arrow quickly. The small ridge suddenly gave way and I fell backwards down the steep drop-off. I somehow managed to catch myself after one terribly ungraceful “flop” and without looking up, knocked an arrow. I had only fallen about six or eight feet, but I could no longer see the cat. I scurried up the hillside and found a solid foothold so I could take a final shot. Just as I was about to draw my bow the cougar let out a low, throaty growl that made the moment seem even more like a scene from a movie. It was absolutely surreal. I came to full draw, centered my pin, and let it go. The arrow blew through the cats vitals from the mere eight feet I was away from it. After exiting the cat it hit a rock and sent sparks flying up several feet high! However, I didn’t have a chance to admire these sparks because upon impact the cat pounced out of its bed straight at me. His front paws hit the ground and his back legs loaded under his hind quarters- he was like a loaded spring about to unload on me. He was about to make a final surge that I could have done nothing to prevent or even defend myself against. The houndsman stepped in and leaned forward as the cat shot out at me. However, he didn’t need to fire a shot- the cat didn’t have the strength to finish his attack and tipped over dead. He was less then five feet from me when he died.
  19. 10 points

    Daughters First Deer

    Macy passed her Firearms Safety training and was excited to hit the stand this year for the second weekend of the slug season. We allow kids to slug hunt our bowhunting spot and had a lot of deer on camera including some nice bucks. One of the pictures was of a buck we nicknamed Wide Boy - He was about a 250# 10 pointer with an inside spread of 20". Leading up to the hunt, she had her mind set on shooting Wide Boy. This was the first time Macy was going to hunt in a stand (double with Dad) and she was a little nervous. We got into the stand and I wrapped a camo net around it to allow for a little more movement. The double stands are really not big enough, so I stood on the top rung of the ladder to get her more room and a little sense of security that she wouldn't fall out. We had been in the stand for approximately 45 minutes when I looked down the food plot and spotted twin button bucks coming right at us. I asked her if she wanted to shoot one and her eyes got huge. She got into position and had the gun trained on an opening that they were going to pass through at 30 yards. She had shot her 20 gauge quite a few times and knew where she had to shoot for a quick-clean kill, but I was a little concerned about how her nerves would effect the shot. She did tell me that she was concerned that she would have to shoot a deer again if her first shot wasn't a good one, so she practiced ejecting shells so she would be ready. The deer passed right through the opening and I asked if she was ready and she said she was. I stopped the deer and she pulled the shotgun to her shoulder and settled for the shot. I watched the deer, but kept my eye on her too as she squeezed the trigger. Her shot hit just perfect and the deer did the "Donkey Kick" and took off running. Macy ejected the shell and swung around the tree and said she needed to take another shot. I grabbed her gun and said "wait and watch". The deer ran 25 yards and started to stumble and soon fell. We waited in the stand and celebrated for a few minutes and climbed down. She wanted to head right for the deer and I told her to wait. I asked her where the deer was standing when she shot. She walked to the spot and I asked her how she knows. She says, because that is where it was standing. I was trying to get her to pay attention to sign. She said he was right here because there is hair and blood. Then we started tracking the deer. "Dad, this is dumb, its laying right over there" I explained that this is the best case scenario, but she needs to learn about what happens after the shot and tracking. She tracked the deer and followed blood right up to where it fell. I pointed out the color of the blood, the bubbles in the blood the void where the deer was to show the shot went through. I think she learned quite a bit. Now when it came to field-dressing the deer, she said she will watch me do the first few of her deer and then start doing it herself. Another great day in the deer stand. Get your kids out hunting....they are the future of the outdoors!!! DL
  20. 10 points

    HSO Deer Photo's

    Can't figure out how to turn this image. This big fella walked into my stand tonight. I let a very nice 8-pointer walk yesterday morning, so I'm thinking the good Lord was blessing me with a "little bettter" buck tonight! Praise the Lord for His bountiful provision and blessings!
  21. 10 points
    I've kept it under wraps over the last few months; because, frankly, I was pretty sure I'd fail . Not because I doubted my abilities (well, not just that) but the old fridge that I chose for my vessel was in really rough shape. However, it was FREE! So I kept tinkering here and there and ended up persevering! I had wanted to do a project like this for a LONG time. Store bought smokers are nice, but I ultimately want to do my own venison processing so I wanted a larger capacity and I also wanted something I wouldn't feel bad modifying as I get more versed in cold-smoking and curing. This route gives me capacity and flexibility - plus, it's just plain fun. Here's the whole story: My wife, kids and I were taking fall pictures last year at her Grandma's old farm property. In one of the outbuildings sat this old Kelvinator, rotting way on its side. After some inspection, it looked rough but had the metal interior that I was looking for and it seemed to be just the right size--so I got permission from Grandma-in-law. She was happy to get rid of it, so buddy of mine and I hauled it out of there. Pic above is the starting point. Removed the coils, compressor/tank and freezer box as well as the only plastic, which was the inner door panel and the rack pegs. Still a mess, almost wrote it off at this point. Couldn't believe I was actually thinking of cooking food in this thing. but kept going. Using a piece of scrap wood, I poked, prodded and pried all the old, stale insulation out from between the inner and outer box. Time consuming but worth it! Happy to say I found no evidence of mice. That might have been a game-stopper. Shop vac'd out ALL of the remains and let it sit open for a few days to air out and ensure any dampness would dissipate. Stuffed in fresh insulation tight all around the inner box and finally washed it out. I was surprised how well it cleaned-up inside. Any old musty smells were now gone. I cut some Aluminum angle stock to make rack mounts and salvaged some old oven racks that I cut down to fit. Ended up with a 5-rack capacity. The element is just an aftermarket replacement burner for store-bought smokers that I picked up online for $40. in the pic above, you can also see the two vents I cut in below the element on each side which I put standard household louvered vent covers on to control air flow. I put the dampered stack on for a classic look and it was time to fire it up. I hooked the element to the control unit that I also bought online which is REALLY slick. I wanted to heat it up good to burn out any bad smells and season the unit. So I cranked it to 300 and continued to feed it Apple chips for a few hours. It maintained temp to within a degree and generated smoke awesomely! For the second test I decided to see how low I could go and still get smoke. 180 deg with vents wide open seemed to be the temp where I could get good smoke could get it below that, but it was pretty weak. Going to by a smoldering tube for anything that requires sustained temps below 180. The best news is that there was absolutely no foul odors, the time I spent cleaning it out really paid off. And finally, What's a home-built smoker without a cool name! I gave it a good, fresh coat of BBQ black Hi-temp spray paint and made a stencil - goofy, I know, but it adds to the fun and that's what smoking is all about. That drippy paint was an accident, but ended up making it look even cooler! All-in-all, I'm really happy with the outcome - but I can't claim total success because I haven't actually cooked anything yet! Going to fire-up some ribs this weekend and that will be the true test. But there's no reason to think that it won't work after testing. I'm sure there's a LOT of trial and error along with a many modifications to come. I would urge anyone else out there that's thought of doing this to not hesitate. It's a blast and you learn a lot - and the learning will only continue I'll keep everyone posted if I discover flaws.
  22. 9 points

    HSO Deer Photo's

    2015 buck shot at my Ontario cabin last sunday. Green scored 160.
  23. 9 points

    One that didn't get away

    This is Walter, the fish that is. The little boy is Owen my nephews son. I took Owen and my son kyler on a fishing excursion and as the boys were plopping their plastic worms into the weeds along the shores of Dead lake, I told Owen about Walter living under the dock we were coming up to. Well after his first cast at said dock came up empty, the second one had a little weight on it and Walter took off past the boat and promptly spit the hook out, but Owen wasn't giving up and threw that worm in the direction ol'Walter was going and I'll be darned if Walter grabbed it again and the fight was on. This time we knew we had him hooked, he went from the back of the boat to the front and Owen was holding on for dear life with his 5 foot rod and 6lb test. I think they both posed very nicely for the picture. Walter was promptly returned to his home to be caught another day.
  24. 9 points
    Matt Johnson

    Dog Day Panfish

    Springtime panfish are universally sought-out, which is mostly due to their nature of being aggressively schooled-up and more than eager to attack whatever you put in front of their stout little noses. Big sunfish and slab crappies are caught throughout the Midwestern belt during the spring season and it provides some excellent action for anglers both young and old. However, the springtime flurry doesn’t last forever and those same aggressive-natured fish will once again become less energetic and will transform into wandering nomads, only feeding when their bellies tell them to. No longer do they devour what ever presents itself, or at least not in areas where we once sat wide-eyed at springtime and early summer. Now they are on a different path— a path that leads them into the dog days of summer… Panfish will hold shallow, there is no use disputing a statement like that, but shallow is only relative to the body of water being fished. Shallow can mean 2 feet in the local farm pond, yet in the expansive reservoir across the street it can mean 8 feet of water off a break. Panfish typically hold shallow during the spring-fling as they begin their open water adventures. The shallow water bite may last for a period of time, but those areas will change as the season progresses, and usually into conditions that make fishing them tough. Thick weeds begin to sprout up and fresh budding lily pads turn into thick mats of green and brown walls separating you from the underwater world. Conditions call for a new approach and fishing patterns will tell you the same. It’s time to seek out a new area, because one, the old hot spot is unfishable, and two, the fish have found refuge in nearby deeper water, although weed pockets are an exception. Deeper water areas usually take the form of deep weed lines or out in open water of the main lake and mid-depth basins. Around this time, most lakes experience an influx of thick, infectious weeds, which surround much of the shorelines and usually have a deep and shallow edge. Many lakes will see this veritable force beginning in 4-6 feet of water and ending where the water drops into deeper water, usually where the break line takes a drastic plunge. Some lakes will even have a deep edge along a flat or where the thick mat of weeds disperses into scarce weed patches as the bottom composition changes. No matter the form it takes, these substantial weed lines will attract panfish, but effectively fishing them can be difficult unless you search out for pockets in the weeds. Weed pockets are often over-looked, but hopefully from now on you begin seeing them as opportunities instead of just spaces of nothingness. These weed pockets all have the potential of producing panfish. Panfish are abundant underneath the vegetated barrier and they are scurrying about picking off tiny morsels here and there. You can bet a sunfish or crappies will snatch up an easy meal if it presents itself out in the open water of one of those pockets. Some days you can sit over one of these pockets and catch one fish after another. Several characteristics make weed pockets as effective as they are. Weed pockets provide an excess of sunlight, which will attract what attracts panfish, mainly baitfish and other forage. Weed pockets also seem to have a different bottom composition in the immediate area, which will also attract surrounding organisms and water dwelling insects. Just like weed pockets grab our attention, they grab the fish’s attention as well. Weed pockets are a part of my plan of attack when I hit the water in search of Dog Day Panfish. Plastics tend to be my preferred way of targeting these weed-dwelling panfish. Various insect-type plastics offer a unique, natural-appealing presentation that works well in weedy conditions. Nymphs and other insects will utilize these particular areas, and it only makes sense that you “match the hatch.” I typically rig these plastics with either a plain hook (for neutral buoyancy) or with a light-wire jighead (for a more aggressive technique along deeper weed lines). Minnow baits are another excellent option. Many anglers stop pursuing panfish once the shallow water bite ceases, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Locating summer panfish shouldn’t be intimidating and many times the fish are located in areas you seek out when bass or pike fishing. Weeds play an important role in summer panfish locations and the presence of deep weeds make things just that much better. Deep weeds and weed lines will draw in a huge smorgasbord of organisms for panfish to feed on, and in very high numbers. The cool water of the deep weeds is comforting to panfish and you can expect to find them there until the weeds change or the temps begin to drastically drop. Classic summer panfish spots will remain true throughout much of the summer months and the panfish holding on them usually won’t go far if harsh weather presents itself. Deep weeds are a classic summer spot and should be a part of every panfish angler’s daily routine once the summer sun take form. Weeds are very important, no doubt about that, and I usually seek out some form of weeds, whether it’s pockets or deep weed lines, but don’t let vegetation be your only guide to a day of success. Open water and mid-lake flats can equally victorious on some days too. This pattern holds true for crappies more than sunfish, but every body of water is different and locations can vary. Crappies will roam out in open water, and usually it’s the open water areas of a bay or the areas adjacent to deep weed lines and structure. Crappies like chasing down baitfish that are daring enough to adventure out into the open. The crappies know it’s an easy meal and that they have a huge advantage over their prey in situations like that. It’s not uncommon to find cruising pods of crappies out in 30 feet of water, suspended 10 feet off the bottom. This is where your electronics become your best friend as you search for these pods of fish. Crappie locations during the hot summer months can be very frustrating on some lakes, and the possibilities seem endless. In order to narrow things down, you need to grab a lake map and look for possible springtime locations (where the crappies were just recently at) as well as nearby deeper water. Figure out where the deep weed line is and where, if any, is there deeper structure. Crappies will hold near and around deep structure during the summer, then when the opportunity presents itself they will slide out into the open water to feed. You will even find lakes where the crappies hold out in the open water for extended periods of time, and they won’t feel the need to seek refuge around deep structure. Cruising the break line and deep open water adjacent from shallow structure—while watching your electronics—is a good way to locate a school of crappies. Once a school is located, it won’t take long to figure out whether or not they are hungry. So, to expand on this concept of summer panfish, I will end with a question: Why is it that during the winter months we target panfish in 30, 40 or even 50 feet of water, yet during the open water months we stop searching once we can’t find them in 5-6 feet of water? The over-looked answer (that will help you this summer): Panfish will utilize deep water just like walleye, bass and pike. Deep water shouldn’t scare panfish anglers, and having the willingness to target deep water during the summer months can really increase your catch. Some days it just takes patience and the motivation to look for meandering fish. I’ve only touched on a few of the options that are available for panfish during the summer months, and don’t let these possibilities be your only resort. Fishing is constantly changing and we must change with it and adapt to the given conditions. Watch for pockets in the weeds, check for deep weed lines, and pay attention to your electronics for pods of schooling fish in deeper water while motoring from spot-to-spot. By doing a few of these things you can eliminate some of the guesswork and wasted time spent on the water. But in the end, every day on the water is a good day if you have a fishing rod in your hand. Enjoy the summer and good luck!!!
  25. 9 points

    Lobster Party Around The Vortex!

    Seasoned with melted butter and Seafood Splash, grilled indirect around the Vortex till an internal meat temp of 145º. These were about 4 ouncers, we went in on a case of them with friends and neighbors getting them from a local Food Service truck. Worked out to just shy of $3.00 per tail, quite reasonable for lobster... sure were tasty!