Friday, September 16, 2016

Must have clothing for outdoor women

I did a radio interview recently and was asked about women's hunting apparel and if it is getting better. I ecstatically answered Yes!  Thanks to my involvement with EvoOutdoors, I have been fortunate enough to learn what you really need to be wearing when you are in the woods during bear season, deer season, coyote etc. With the holidays coming up, here are my MUST HAVEs for any outdoorwoman or man.

First Lite: I sit while I hunt and I was always getting sweaty on my way in or out of the woods. I layer so that I can stay warmer longer but it would also take me a while to regulate my body temperature after I got warm walking into my stand. I can only imagine how much more comfortable my hunts would have been had I learned about this company and actually worn their products years ago. Here are my must haves: start with the Lupine Crew as your base layer and follow that up with the Artemis Hoody and depending on the temps, I will add the Halstead Tech Fleece on top of that. These layers are so warm and breathable… I actually wore my Artemis fishing in 80+ degree weather (to cut the morning chill and reduce sun exposure) and I stayed dry and cool the entire time.  I also wear the Corrugate Guide Pants which are perfect for bear baiting when it is hot out and you want to limit the amount of exposure you have to ticks, mosquitoes etc.

Kryptek Helios kept me cool in the 90 degree heat

Kryptek: The very first time I sat by myself to bear hunt, it was 90 degrees and I had the wrong gun with me (see blog for compete story.) My must have is the Kryptek Helios ¼ zip top.  I was camo'd, dry and comfortable. It was incredible. I stayed scent free and was ready when that hunt turned exciting.

Prois: Kristie and Katherine have created a line for women that covers all kinds of hunts, locations and conditions. These ladies are hysterical on social media and are incredibly easy to contact and talk to about their gear if you have questions. So many of their pieces are must haves! Last fall, when deer season was too warm and I didn’t need a lot of layers, I wore my Prois Reversible Sherpa Vest with the blaze orange on the outside along with a Lupine crew and I was all set. This spring while Dad and I were scouting for turkey, I wore my Generation X Jacket.  We got caught in a downpour and when we made it back to the house, my jacket was almost completely dry! The rain rolled right off the jacket and I was dry. 

Prois Reversible Sherpa Vest and beanie






All three of these companies have extensive catalogues of gear and if you are wondering what to get the outdoorswoman or man in your life, check these places out.  Hunting gear is not cheap, we all know that, but I can promise you that upping the quality of your gear will pay off tremendously and the more comfortable you are while hunting, the longer you can stay and the more alert you will be. 













* I do not receive any benefits from these companies to write about their gear.  These are my opinions based on my experiences with their clothing.


Thursday, September 8, 2016

September starts ‘go-time’!

Check your batteries, clean up the SD cards and get those cameras ready for deer season to begin.  September really kicks off ‘go-time’ for deer hunting.  The trail cameras need to be in the best possible spots, the treeseats go into the trees, blinds get any last tweaks and the amount of food available is telling; is it a good apple year? acorns? Or will the deer be moving into the cornfields and competing with the turkeys and bear?

We have lucked out and had some pretty lean winters over the past couple of years. The deer on our property are quite healthy and have the body mass to prove it.  We have also been fortunate to have pictures of a fawn on the camera this year.  That marks two years in a row that we have had fawns born on the property! Hopefully this one is buck and we can watch those little buttons grow.


Deer season is also when I unwind.  If you have ever sat for hours on end, you know what I am talking about.  You melt into the landscape.  You hear the geese and squirrels and probably a few turkey. You can put away the cell phone (I make a point of doing it) and just process everything without worrying about Facebook notification, how many re-tweets you got or likes on Instagram.  It is a break from all of it and a chance to refocus on what is important. For me, it is like meditation, 12 feet off the ground.  I love it.  I look forward to it. 


Each weekend, it is exciting to plan our strategy and figure out who will move to which treestands and when. We share stories from our time in the woods and (I) become obsessed about trail camera pictures, rubs and new scrapes.  I can’t wait to see if I will get to watch this new fawn walk under my stand like last year’s fawn did. And I love being able to hunt with Dad and the comfort that comes from seeing his orange hat appear from the thick woods when it’s time to head in for lunch.
We will scout and plan and work hard this upcoming season to bring home meat.  But really, is there ever a bad day to be in the woods hunting?

As cliché as it is, hunting season is about so much more than killing a deer.  In this crazy world, hunting brings us back to our roots.  It allows us to reconnect with our families and enjoy being outside as the seasons change. I look forward to it every year and then find myself waking up on Sunday in late November and wondering where the time went.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

In the woods: Water birds

While Staci and I were out paddling, we had the chance to get pretty close to female Mallards and a Blue Heron as it fished.











Monday, August 29, 2016

Catching bass and watching for water snakes

I have no idea what Staci said after the words "water snake" came out of her mouth. I went into panic mode wondering if I was going to snag one with my fishing pole or if every bubble that came up from under the canoe was a snake below us. But, the plan was to catch bass and we climbed into the canoe and paddled off to do just that.


We started off with frog lures and within the first two casts, I had a bump on my line but nothing hooked. After a few more casts, Staci was landing bass on a regular basis.

One of about 15 bass that Staci caught
She was out fishing me almost 10 to one and I knew that I needed to hook something.  I cast into the shallows under one of the fallen down trees and boom! had a bite.  The fish hit and dove.  I could see the bass' light colored belly as it turned and went under the canoe.  Then, all of the tension was gone and so was my lure.  The fish grabbed everything and completely straightened my swivel.

I quickly got a new swivel and bigger lure tied on and kept casting.  Staci pointed out a fish that had surfaced a few times behind us.  That wasn't a fish!  We gave each other a look of understanding, put of rods down and paddled as the snake's head lifted out of the water and swam towards the opposite shore.

When we were a safe distance away, we started casting again.

Staci landed more bass and her first Pickerel. We talked, paddled, had a few motor boats pass us and fished. It was a beautiful day.  I was enjoying my time on the water and the beautiful scenery.  This was what made Maine fishing great.

Staci with her pickerel
After several hours, we decided to head back and get some lunch.  I was still unsuccessful in landing a fish. Staci went right back to catching bass.  One one cast, I had another bite and saw the long, skinny body of a pickerel under the water.  I was grateful that it threw the line before I got it into the boat.

My next cast was almost comical; I watched as the entire set up went flying into the water.  My line broke completely.  I was struggling. It was not my day on the water, that was for sure.

Staci fixed the line and put on a dark blue, crayfish lure.  It had a bright red hook attached to it. In my mind, it was too big and so odd colored (dark blue, really? will a fish see it?) that I was sure that I would throw out a few more casts and call it a day.  Staci was determined to have me catch at least one fish!

We paddled up to the dock where we had launched and started casting.  Boom! something grabbed Staci's line.  She set the hook and reeled. Whatever it was, it was big and not going without a fight. Suddenly, her reel snapped up and her lure was gone. The count was up to 3 at this point... good fishermen lose lures, right?

Another boat passed us and asked if we were catching anything.  I let her answer and I sat there and smiled.  I wasn't paying attention when I threw out my next cast and almost immediately, my pole was bending. Please, don't let it be a snake! I thought as I started reeling.  I was totally focused on landing this fish. I knew that once I got it close enough to the boat, Staci would have to help me net it.

video

I kept the line tight and when he came to the surface, I reeled more to get him as close to the boat as possible.  It took a few tries, but we got him into the net.  That blue crayfish lure had worked!  Staci and I each held it and estimated that the fish was between five and six pounds, which is impressive for a small mouth!  It is the biggest fish that I have ever caught, of any species!

Note: I am not holding the fish OUT for photos - I have my elbow braced on my knee to keep the fish up.

We had a very successful fishing trip! For the most part, we avoided the snakes, lost lures and hooked some great bass along the way. You can't beat a great fishing trip with a friend.