Sunday, July 29, 2007

Wild Turkey

(Meleagris galla)

To attract mates during mating season, male turkeys will perform by spreading their tail feathers, extending their wings, puffing up their bodies, and strutting in short, quick steps.
Few predators are able to catch an adult Wild Turkey. Their well developed instinct for survival, keen eyesight, and excellent hearing help to keep them out of harm's way. Hens on the nest, as well as poults during their first few weeks of life, are most vulnerable to predation.

The Strut Zone

For spring turkey hunting, get out there early, before daylight. If you've put them to bed the night before, you'll know which tree they're roosting in. If not, just use a locator call such as a hoot owl and you can get them to gobble before they fly down. Start walking toward the sound of the gobbles, but be careful not to go in too fast or you'll be spotted for sure. A turkey can see you long before you can see it most of the time. Remember, a turkey has extremely keen eyesight and is always on the lookout for any sign of danger. It takes some time, but eventually it's possible to judge your distance from the tom by the loudness of his gobble. Often times, it is a nearby hen that will spot you and sound the alarm, warning others which quickly leave the area. If you get close enough without spooking him, then you've made it to his strut zone. Here, the big tom will puff up and fan out his tail feathers, strutting back and forth to round up the hens. You can't always call a gobbler out of this zone. It is more natural for the hen to go to the tom, not the other way around. Depending on the terrain, sometimes you even have to crawl on your belly to get close enough to take this shot.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Crawdad Fishing Smallmouth Bass

In the late spring and early summer is a great time to go fishing for smallmouth bass. Also known as bronzebacks or smallies, this species of freshwater fish in the sunfish family of black bass can found in many of the cold, clear rivers and streams of the Ozarks. Many anglers agree that pound for pound, smallmouth bass cannot be matched for their ferocity once hooked. Using ultralight tackle, you can really feel the fight. One of the best fishing trips can be wading through these smaller rivers carrying minimal gear in search of this great gamefish. All you need is a light, four to five foot long spinning rod set up with 4-6 pound test line. Bring along plenty of #6 baitholder hooks and splitshot sinkers, and then all you need is bait. You can find plenty of crayfish (or crawdads) in very shallow creeks, usually hiding underneath rocks. The ones about 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 inches in length make ideal bait for smallmouth, just make sure to keep them alive in your bucket or container. When you’re looking for that perfect spot to start fishing, keep an eye out for a hole that is a little deeper than the surrounding water with a good current flowing near it. Some large rocks providing good cover are often a part of their habitat also. Place one or two sinkers about fifteen inches above the hook, which you’ll put through the crawdad’s tail. Cast upstream into the current above the target hole and hold your pole up, keeping your line tight enough to help prevent snagging. Once you get a bite, set the hook and hold on for a rush of adrenaline.

Monday, July 23, 2007