Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Annual Offshore Trip a Whopper of a Success

Karl Oestreich, once again, led his fellow Lampasas, Texas Anglers Blake Oestreich, Tim Miller, Bobby Chaney and Darrell Akins along with a group of anglers from Llano, Texas on his annual offshore trip with Dolphin Docks out of Port Aransas, Texas.  They took some very large Blackfin Tuna, Yellowfin Tuna and whopper Amberjack including one monster over 110 pounds.  I went on the 50 hour trip with this group last year and it was a true life adventure.  I had too many irons in the fire to go this year but I would recommend one of the early fall trips with Dolphin Docks if you have never been on one of these long range fishing trips.  Looks like these guys will be eating well for some time to come.  Wild Ed

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Predator Control Helps Wildlife As Well As Livestock


Making the rounds of our place out west of Lampasas I saw vultures fly up off the ground out in the pasture.  Being a sheep rancher I feared a lamb kill by coyotes and went to investigate. Instead of a lamb I found a small deer fawn, the third fawn killed by coyotes that I have found this season.  I had already found two adult deer this year that were killed by coyotes.  I fight coyotes all year as they can be really devastating to our lambs and thus our profits on the place.  We have livestock guardian dogs along with llamas that we keep with our sheep to help keep losses to a minimum.  If the deer loss to coyotes on only 200 acres with dogs and llamas was five verified kills and maybe some I did not find, then how many deer do unprotected ranches lose to coyotes each year?  I believe the number is a lot higher than most of us would imagine.  We have County Trappers that fight this battle all year against predators, but they are responsible for more country than they can cover and could use some help; and so could the deer population.  Hunters can be an important part of this wildlife management plan by taking out the coyotes and/or bobcats they come across while out in the field.  I know many hunters hate to take a shot at a predator and maybe scare off some deer, but think of how many of your future deer, turkeys and quail you may save by eliminating that one predator.  Coyotes and bobcats can make nice taxidermy mounts, rugs or just a tanned fur for your wall.  Predator populations are at an all time high due to low fur prices and need to be managed just as the rest of our wildlife.  Next time you have the chance to do your part in that management, pull the trigger.  Enjoy the outdoors, Wild Ed

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Focus Key to Better Shotgunning


Dove season is right around the corner and opens September 1st. There is still time to get that shotgun out of the safe and practice before opening day.  Depending on which survey you read, hunters fire somewhere between 3 and 5 shots per bird.   The current cost of shotgun shells makes each dove we put in the bag worth around a $1.00 or more in shell costs alone, not even counting all the other expenditures for a hunt. Even if you go on a social dove hunt for the fun and comradery, I find the better the shooter does the more enjoyable the hunt, especially when hunting with friends.  I have noticed that most hunters enjoy being one the best shots on the field or at least to have bragging rights to getting their daily limit of birds. 

Having been a shotgun coach and shooting instructor for many years I am often asked what is the one thing that will make someone a better gunner.  There is no magic thing you can do and being a really good shotgun shooter takes a lot of hard work and practice.  Even the pros practice regularly to stay on top of their game.  I can however tell you one thing that will make you a better shot no matter your level.  It is FOCUS.

There are no sights on a shotgun only a bead.  I call it the miss-me-bead because if you look at the bead you will usually miss your target and shoot behind the bird.  You should see the shotgun bead only in your peripheral vision.  Your eyes are your rear and front sight on a shotgun and that is why focus is so important.  You must focus intently on your target and not let your eyes drift to anything else while firing the shot. You notice I say “eyes”; both eyes should always be open when shooting.  Many of you will remember the saying “Aim small miss small”, in shot gunning this means focus on the front of the bird not the whole bird.  When one focuses on the whole target they will usually shoot behind.  Have you ever shot at dove and seen a stream of tail feathers when you shot.  This happens a lot if you focus on the whole bird.  Try to see the bill or eye of the dove when shooting.  I have had people tell me that while they were hunting at a stock tank, where the shots were close, that they have actually seen a dove blink when they were focused on the eye of the bird.

Focus on the eye or bill of the bird and remember you have to lead dove, so mount on the head and pull out in front and pull the trigger.  If you miss be sure and increase your lead.  Remember if the first of the shot in your shot string goes behind the bird, they will all go behind.  Stay focused on the bird and shoot to miss in front of the bird and I bet you will put more birds in the bag.  Remember above all to be safe and have a good time.  Wild Ed