Social media has added a new element to the world of hunting. There are great resources for hunting out there but until the boom of social media, they were limited. Now, you can watch live video feed of deer feeders in Iowa to see what is coming in. I have recently found maybe one of my favorite resources for hunting…podcasts! You can listen to hunters talk about African hunting, antler growth and how to cut shooting lanes... the possibilities are really endless.
Up until a few months ago, the word ‘podcast’ was something that I assumed as like a radio show but online (and it is). I didn’t go looking for them or know how to get them. And now, as I write this, I can not think of what it was that made me get started but I have not stopped. There are incredible hunters, men and women, all across the United States who host weekly or monthly shows that are usually about an hour long that bring the best of the best to the forefront to talk about their expertise when it comes to hunting. Most are free and you can listen all the time! In the car, at work, at home… unlike those cable shows, podcasts offer the opportunity to cut the fluff away and get to the questions you may have about hunting.
If you have access to podcasts you can listen to a hunter's podcast, tweet with them on Twitter and friend them on Facebook in order to continue the conversation about hunting and what it means to them. If you really wanted to make sure you didn’t miss a single thing from your favorite hunting personality, you could also subscribe to their blog, YouTube channel, Instagram… it goes on and on. I do realize that being on the younger side of the bell curve, many hunters just don’t care about friending a fellow hunter, but that is where we are headed. In this technological world, those who host these podcasts or write these blogs need to put themselves out there to get people to read and comment on what they are doing. It is a bigger push for a conversational style rather than just writing or posting a story and hoping that someone cares enough to read or listen to what you have to say.
That is when it gets fun! Hunters from all over the United States, Canada and the world can now connect to one another with a couple clicks of the mouse. For me, there are some incredible outdoor women who are doing some cutting edge hunting and working with firearm companies to create more effective, lighter rifles and shotguns… and I can connect and talk with them through the venues of social media. Women like Britney Starr, Carrie Zylka, Mia Anstine and Barbara Baird are nationally known hunters who are leading the women’s movement in the outdoor industry and they talk with me about their hunts, my hunts, the best trail cameras… it’s endless. I have chatted with hunters like Steven Rinella (and freaked out when he started following me on Twitter) because social media allows the opportunity for a hunter in Maine to get the thoughts and opinions of renowned hunters.
Social media offers hunters all over the chance to connect with one another and get tips and tricks for the best, more successful hunts possible. It may seem a little ridiculous but the opportunities for those of us who want to connect with others and learn from people beyond our immediate hunting circles, these podcasts and social media connections are priceless.
Hunting Podcasts that I am listening to:
Wired to Hunt
Wild Game Hunting
Wild Word of Carrie Z
Saturday, August 23, 2014
|BIG BEAR! No one is scaring him off of that bait|
|That is a normal sized milk crate! 300-400lb bear looking at you!|
|My preferred bear: one that comes out during the daylight|
|My shooter. He came out at 6pm. I would gladly shoot him and be happy.|
Thursday, August 21, 2014
|Lance and Lorri putting some bait into an empty bucket|
|The good smelling bait... mmm strawberry|
It was another day in the woods baiting with Steve. We also had his girlfriend Lorri and their friend Lance with us. We headed yo a new-to-me spot where Steve had killed his 420lb bear a few years before. The site had been hit!* The camera was an old school one that had film in it. With 18 pictures taken, we knew we would have to find a place to get the film developed! Lorri and I walked around the site and saw bear poop so the anticipation for what was on that camera heightened. We refilled the bait and dumped the lobster bodies on top of the beaver (I took photos of this happening but for everyone's sake I will not post them. They are very unflattering pictures of us gagging and nearly puking) but we filled everything back up and headed out. We went to Lance's site and had to tweak a few things. It had not been hit so we refreshed the bait and moved on to Site 1 and Site 2.
Site 2 was still in tact. Nothing had some in but there were some pictures on the camera. We scanned them and saw that a bear had come in, smelled the bait site and left. He never stopped to eat or check things out more than a quick sniff. Bummed, but still excited from the Site 1 action, we declared that the worst part about not getting hit, is having to carry the full buckets back out of the woods.
On the way back home, I asked Lorri about hunting bear and what her experiences had been. She has shot two bear. One from a treestand and one from the kitchen window (which is impressive). She gave me pointers on where to aim depending on where the bear is. It will be different because we are going to be in a ground blind instead of up in a tree.
|Site 1 getting refilled. Notice the missing bark on the tree!|
We take to the woods on Monday! I have Monday and Friday scheduled to be in the blind waiting for the bears. I am nervous, excited and relieved that Steve and Lorri will be with me. I bought the bear tag for my license and will be sighting in my gun this weekend. My clothes will be washed in unscented soap and I will say a little prayer to Mother Nature that I have a successful hunt and no one suffers (me or the bear!) Wish us luck!!!
Monday, August 18, 2014
Here they come! Site 1 and 2 now have bears coming in. Steve said that they are very good looking bears and healthy, too. These are from the trail camera memory chip that Steve puts into his camera. He then takes these photos, of the camera screen, with his phone. Don't worry - in a few weeks there will be a photo of the real thing ;)
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Dad has been gathering and rotating the camera memory cards for about a month now hoping to get a picture of something we like. There are a group of does hanging around which we think are the same group that has been there for the past three of four years. We kept telling ourselves that 'where there are does, there are buck' but it's just not the same. Finally! We saw what we were looking for. Just two pictures but this one is good enough to get us ready to take to the woods.
Bring on deer season!
Bring on deer season!
|I called tibs on this guy! A nice eight-pointer walking through.|
Monday, August 11, 2014
Steve went back out to the sites four days after we had and there were pictures at site 2. Not the best pictures but there are bears around and coming in! We have a couple more weeks until the hunting season starts and then it runs for 14 weeks. I'm trying to work my schedule to get out and help bait one more time before I head into the woods on the last week of August to try my hand at bear hunting.
Friday, August 8, 2014
|On left, unopened sweets. On right, the goodies ready to be put out.|
I was lucky that it was only 73 degrees out! I would have melted after we headed to the first bait site. I carried buckets filled with bait and some secret ingredients to keep the bears coming back again and again. While I was glad to not be carrying the bucket with the cut up dead beaver, I was reminded of my position down wind of it after every few steps.
|Making a bait barrel|
While I support bear hunting as it is now in Maine, I did not know a lot about it and felt that if I was going to support this fight, I should know what I was talking about. So, I told Steve that I would try everything, including preparing bait buckets. If you ever want to cut sweets out of your diet help out with preparing bait barrels. For more than an hour, I opened packaged sweets that had the overall smell of a cheap bar. The smell wasn't what got to me, it was the fact that they contained no mold! What kind of "food" doesn't mold after more than a year?!
Once I had done my duty of opening up bait, we loaded the truck and took off. Three buckets of sweets, some secret ingredients and a bucket or maybe two filled with chunks of previously frozen beaver (THAT is the worst smell ever!). We drove a while and came to the first of two sites along a dirt road close to the middle of nowhere. I willingly grabbed two buckets and followed Steve into the woods. He had started the sites three days before so we were not sure if we would need to top off any bait or muck out the buckets after some pretty heavy rains.
|Bait site 1. The blue crate holds the piece of beaver *gag*.|
Site one had not been hit yet. Everything seemed to be in place and fairly dry so we moved on to site two. This one was probably my favorite since it was located at the bottom of some rock cliffs. I stood at the site and looked at the cliffs surrounding me in awe. This site was also in pretty good shape so we added some scents and left for site three. A little closer to home, site three was further into the woods and surrounded by low blueberry bushes. Again, no bears but we did finally have pictures on the trail cam- of a turkey vulture.
When we were done, we had been working the bait sites (and prep) for eight hours. There is nothing easy or quick about baiting bears. The hours that go into preparing the bait followed by bringing the bait out into the woods and keeping it fresh... I have a whole new respect for those who do this on a regular basis.
We had no pictures and no signs of bears coming in but with determination and a knowledge of the work involved, Steve was confident that we would eventually get something. I'm still not totally sure I want to shoot a bear but I am learning more and more about the work involved in trying to make that happen.