November 08, 2013

Stand Aside Boys!!

Paula Bauer Wilson 2013 Archery Buck
Paula Bauer Wilson 2012 Archery Buck
Paula Bauer Wilson 2011 Archery Buck

November 07, 2013

The Big Buck Serial Killer

Yesterday was the day I predicted for the best rut day for the year for S.E. Wisconsin... However, Nov 4th is always the day I pick. I was just back from a hunting trip and was not planning on hunting till Dave called to tell me he observed a buck passing thru the small farm he owns and we share hunting on. The farm is only 60 acres and receives a lot of pressure on the borders. There is more pressure on this area than most of the public land I hunt.

Anywho, I chose a staging area with a Slayerseed clover mix plot( Thanks Deerslayer ) an apple tree, and adjacent buck and doe bedding. I felt any buck worth shooting should cruise thru this area to check on the local girls...

About an hour before dark I looked up and saw a buck standing on the CRP hill scanning the area... I felt naked in the bean pole tree I was in without any leaves anymore... I got the camera rolling as the buck approached the food plot, He came in on a cross wind heading for the center of the plot. He could do one of 3 things, he could walk straight in, he could circle down wind, or he could circle up wind. The buck looked cautious and I was betting myself he would do what most bucks I observe in this situation do... He went to the up wind side and circled into the plot with the wind to his back. He was smelling behind him while he watched in front of him while eating.

I had also noticed that one area of the plot on the far side looked a lot heavier browsed, he went to that spot right away. I have seen this before too, whether its a certain oak, a certain spot in a field, or one of dozens of the same plant, they will prefer one... I think it has to do with the best soil / nutrients, but I am not sure.

I waited for the buck to feed into the screen of the camera and I took my shot. My shot looked low, it hit the buck below the vitals thru the bottom of the chest, at 1st I thought I may have clipped the heart, but the buck stopped running about 50 yards out and calmly looked back... I new right there that I did not hit the heart. Then, to my total amazement, the buck I had just shot turned around and walked right back into the food plot... Thats where the next lesson comes in... I hung my quiver on a branch, the trouble was the only suitable branch was below the stand. "I didn't think" a buck would likely give me a second chance and now the buck is even more spooky and I have to bend over skylighted in a bean pole no cover tree and get another arrow...

I moved when ever I could while the "wounded" buck fed. I very slowly sat down then crouched till I got my hand on an arrow. It was in that quiver really good and took some force to pop it free which made a ( you guessed it ) popping noise that the buck heard and immediately locked eyes on the blob hanging from a treestand with an arrow in his hand... There was a stair down for a few long seconds and then he went back to feeding.

There was a gust of wind and he looked over his shoulder into the wind and I used that moment to right myself and nock the arrow. He turned to see the blob had moved and stared a little more then started walking past at 10 yards...

There is a phrase I use a lot to refer to why pressured bucks seem smarter... Its called "stupid dies" and this buck had all the signs of "stupid"...

When he passed by I drew the bow and since he had been eye balling me since the 1st time I shot him he stopped to watch me draw. The arrow disappeared right in the crease... The shot looked perfect. In one bound the buck was gone behind heavy brush.

I got down out of the magic bean stalk and went over to look at the arrow. The arrow was stuck into the mud and was coated with blood. The exit sprayed blood around the arrow and I thought, "easy track job" But that was far from the case... After 4 hours of searching on our hands and knees Dave and I had uncovered a whopping 3 drops of blood all within 20 yards of the hit. With two arrow holes you would think the blood would be pouring out... Wouldn't you?

Late last night after calling it for the night I went to work to take care of some things I was needed to do... I left work at dawn with no sleep and two Monster caffeine drinks eating a hole in my stomach and met Dave at the farm. I have to say, that Dave is as loyal a friend as you can find, never preaches about bad hits, and is there for you no matter what.

We searched all morning and it was not looking good. I was going up and down trails in a dense swamp looking for blood when I noticed a running track and then a patch of deer hair... Looking at the hairs they looked cut with a razor so I got down on my knees and was able to find a speck of blood. I called Dave and he came over and we finally got on a blood trail. When we lost it again we split up again.

Dave yelled out, "I got blood over here" so I went over there and he was down on one knee pointing at another tiny speck. He looked me straight in the eyes and said " I figure went straight down this trail here and he is probably laying somewhere over there where those deer legs are sticking out of the grass... I looked up and sure enough, there was deer legs sticking out of the grass and we both busted into laughter...

The shot was right where I said, right in the crease... How that buck got over 200 yards I will never know.

Dan Infalt
The big buck serial killer

Goldie Locks

Salix matsudana or (Chinese Willow) is a willow native to northeastern China.  It does not grow naturally in Wisconsin.  It is one of the first to bud in the spring and one of the last to give up its leaves in fall.

This Cork Screw Willow is holding tight to her Golden Mane but, she will soon lose those "Goldie Locks" because of upcoming cold and wind.

Goldie Locks can be found by the St. Phillips Cemetery near Rolling Ground.  This is the first Cork Screw Willow I have ever seen in my life.

This tree needs to be babied its first couple years of existence.  It was odd to find it in the sumac and the weeds about 20 yards from the cemetery.  

November 06, 2013

December 3rd

Coming attractions.

Getting old is not fun.

L4/5 fusion.

MRI on left knee on November 15th.

Think have meniscus tear.

Get it all fixed this winter so ready for March opener.

First 100 yards

This stream does not seem like a decent stream at the bridge.  The next 80-100 yards are less than spectacular.  Most folks stop before the good part begins.

How many streams like this have you ignored through the years?

I think a return trip is warranted to those dismissed streams in 2014.

November 05, 2013

The Nine Year Old Trout Master

It was September of 2010.  I was driving home from a trout outing and saw him.  He was hopping over a barbed wire fence out in the middle of nowhere.  The area he came out of was buck brush central. It was so tight in there I bet he had to walk backwards in some places to get through.   I slowed down to see if everything was alright.  I rolled down the window and asked him if everything was ok?  He flashed a huge smile at me and said: “Better than alright.”  He bent over and picked up his Zebco 404 with one hand and his stringer with the other.  The stringer had two massive brown trout hanging on it.  I let out an audible “WOW!” when I saw the stringer.  

 The kid gave me the short version of his exploits.  He told me he recognized me from me doing a trout presentation at his school the year prior.  The young trout master introduced himself as Michael. Michael was way out in the sticks and there was no farm anywhere near so I offered him a ride home.  He accepted the ride because he was way tired.

On the way to his house he told me that he only went on this stretch 3-4 times a year and always did well.  I told him I had fished today also and my results were nowhere near as good as his.  The trip went by quickly and we pulled in to Michael’s driveway.  Michael wanted me to come meet his dad.  He had told his dad about me after I spoke at Michael’s school.  Two hours later and about 30 trout stories swapped between us I drove away.  Michael had invited me to fish with him and we had set the date for 2 days later.  Michael’s family owned the three farm stretch and I received permission to fish it any time I wanted.

Michael’s dad dropped us off at the starting point of our fish and I parked at the top or ending place.  Dad drove away and wished us luck.  Four hours later and only one fish in my creel we got to the truck.  Michael had caught three really nice browns.  The smallest was eighteen inches.  Michael and I talked on the way back to his house.  He told me his grandpa had taught him all the good places on the stretch and that was why I did so poorly because he had “home field advantage.”  Those were his words.  I had paid attention on where Michael had caught the trout but not really close attention.  The weeds and brush were really thick 3/4s of the stretch and it was a long and tiring outing.

Michael and I went out two more times before the end of the year to fish.  Each time out Michael kicked trout tail and caught 2 or 3 monsters and I caught maybe one each time out.  I was not a quitter so I fished the stretch 5 more times before the end of September and season closed.  I got skunked all 5 times.  The stretch of water was unclassified water.  The nearest classified trout water was 4 miles upstream.

March came and I wanted to go fishing with Michael again.  Michael said he did not go fishing during catch and release season because his grandpa had taught him that injuring trout for sport alone was unethical.  I went on my own and was skunked again.  I stopped by at Michael’s house and told him of my lack of success.  He told me to come back the next day and he would go along with no pole and give me some pointers.  I smiled inside when he said that and thought:  “What the heck, there might be something I am missing on stream.  Maybe he can give me a pointer or two.”

I picked him up the next morning and off we went.  I had brought an extra pole along to try to talk him in to fishing.  He was adamant about his stance on injuring trout for sport and declined the offer to use my extra rod.  Four hours later and me releasing a dozen trout over 17 inches, we were finished.  He had pointed out every place to cast.  I asked him on each specific place why there?  I wanted to get some insight on the reasons.  Each time Michael told me that is where grandpa had told him to cast.  Michael did not know the rhyme or reason for the areas to cast.  He just remembers that was where his grandpa had told him to cast.  Grandpa was fishing in heaven so I couldn’t ask him.

It was March and the weeds were all down.  The stream looked much different than it did in September.  Each place I caught a decent fish had a common theme.  There were swamps or small springs in the area.  The swamps didn’t empty in to the waterway so I was a little puzzled.  I took the water temperatures downstream of the swamps and there was a dramatic difference in temps.  These swamps leeched in to the stream by being in close proximity through the ground.  There was no obvious entry point in to the waterway.  The springs emptying in were obvious now because the weeds were down and I could see them entering.  The mystery was solved!

Trout are very temperature dependent.  The outside weather directly affects the stream temperatures.  In the middle of summer there can be 4-8 degrees temperature difference in the water due to a swamps or springs leeching in to the water.  Most swamps are caused by springs.  Ground water comes out at about 42 degrees.  That swamp leeching in the stream can have a dramatic effect on fishing.  Warmer water holds less dissolved oxygen.  Those swamps and small trickles that you can only see when the weeds are down are the keys.  The same goes for cold weather conditions.  A March day the water temps can be near the freezing point.  Those thermals “swamps and small springs” can raise the water temps 4-8 degrees and that raise in temps can turn on a lethargic  trout that is unwilling to move due to cold water.

One time about 15 years ago I was a member of a shocking crew.  They went out on a July day when the outdoor temps were in the low 90s.  Most of the stream temps were in the middle 70s and dangerous for the fish to be caught in.  The shocking crew leader showed me the “thermal” effects.  He got excited about 100 yards before each.  He told me the trout would literally stick their noses in to the banks where swamps leeched in and at the tiny springs that fed in to the waterway.  

 That marginal water you drive by or scoff at as frog water might have thermals.  Bigger trout can tolerate warmer water.  Most of these places are quality water not quantity. 

Keep your eyes open the next time you are fishing.  Look for thermals.  A decent thermometer is needed.  Every once in awhile take a temp where you caught a fish and you will be amazed at the difference.  The area might have an underwater spring feeding in.  Most of all keep an open mind and let a nine your old trout master help if he offers.

November 03, 2013

Stream In Seasons

This five months closed season nonsense needs to stop.  We need a longer season!