Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mo Snagging 2011...Fish On!!!!!

Well it’s that time of year between deer hunting and the spring turkey season that gets Pete and I fired up... It’s spoonbill snagging time in Missouri.

We got a late start to the morning because Makenna was sick and decided it would be a good idea to puke on herself at the Dr’s office. Pete, Nick, and I finally got on the road to the Lake of the Ozarks around 10:45am. The temps were closing in on 80 degrees by mid-afternoon, but there were also high winds blowing from 20-30mph. After arriving at Levi’s lake house around 1:45pm we got our gear unpacked and put the boat in the water, and we were snagging by 2:30pm. Joe had been down fishing for two days already, so we were able to get into fish right away. Between the two boats (Joe/ Pete in Joe’s rig and Brian/Nick in the slaying rig) we ended up banging 14 spoonies the first day. Brian led the first day total by snagging 6 spoonies, but the majority of fish we caught were small males. Joe caught the biggest fish of the day when he landed a 70+lbsr. To highlight the first day Pete finished the night outing in style when he snagged a big 12lbs. flathead catfish (too bad Brian can’t tie a knot or else we would’ve had a couple of huge slabs for the frying pan!!!

Friday morning greeted us with much colder temperatures with the highs in the lower 50’s and dropping throughout the day. Levi and the Marshall boys finally made it down that afternoon and it was time to seriously get after the hunt for monster spoonies. Unfortunately we found out real quick that the fish were hard to find and spread out everywhere. Nick put the hurt on Pete and me when he landed all 4 of the spoonies that came into our rig for the day. Between the twelve guys we only caught 18 on Friday, which was our slowest second day of snagging to date. The highlight of the day was getting buzzed by couple of A-10 Warthogs that flew over us; right on the deck!

The Saturday temps were even colder than Friday’s and with thunderstorms in the forecast for the early afternoon everyone hit the lake early. The action was a mirror image of Friday....speratic action at best! Everyone seemed to catch some fish but like the previous day the fish were smaller and few and far between. The biggest salvation of the day was Nick banging out a 23lbs flathead catfish; we tied this one properly. He was pretty fired up and it was his biggest cat to date on rod and reel. Unfortunately Saturday afternoon Mother Nature decided to unleash hell on us with strong thunderstorms, luckily our boat was safely under the dock cover before the brunt of the storm hit. Some of the other boats in our group were not so lucky!

Sunday morning we woke up to clear skies and much warmer temps, but with the fishing being so slow we decided to pack it up early and head home to please the woman folk. We’re making another trip down in a couple weeks, so hopefully the fish will have started stacking up by then.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

OK Hog Hunt 2011

2/25/11 - The MN gang arrived at my place around 12:15am for a few short hours of rest before we packed back up and headed to OK around 4am. The snow and ice KC had Thursday evening made for an interesting drive, but we made down to the Addictive Hunting ranch without any major hiccups. Bob Berger met us at the front gate and the hunt was on.

After getting settled in and relaxing for a bit we got our gear together and headed for the stands. The forecast had called for mid 60s and sun all weekend, so the 28 degrees, overcast skies, and 15-25mph northeast wind Friday evening made for a long, cold sit. I drove around the ranch with Bob and dropped off Jason and Chad at their sets for the evening sit. Once they were situated we loaded up and Bob drove Scott, Lance, Logan, and me to the north end of the ranch. Logan and I hunted a set called "The Boneyard" that evening. Wee-man hung in there like a trooper with the cold and wind, but after 2 1/2 hours he'd had enough and I walked him back up to the rig were Scott met us. I headed back down to the set and around 4:55pm four nice sows moved into the bait site. They were grouped up devouring the sour corn I'd prepared and I couldn't get them to separate long enough for a clean shot. After about 10 minutes of waiting I decided to slide out of the blind and try to get a better angle on them. I snuck about 30yrds down the shooting lane and finally had a shot opportunity present itself. I was settled in and about half way through my trigger squeeze when the sows all looked up, then tore out of the bait sight. That's when I noticed a black blur tearing towards the feeder from the left. I could tell it was a bigger hog, so when it stopped broadside about 80yrds out I touched the shot off. I heard the bullet hit and the shot felt good, but the hog was instantly screaming through the tall grass towards the canyon. I saw the sows reach the canyon and drop over the lip, but when the hog I shot at reached the same trail I heard a bunch of crashing around and brush breaking. I was confident about the shot, so I slid back into the set and waited for nightfall.

Around 5:45pm I heard a shot from Scott's location, but unfortunately he missed a shot at a running hog about 250yrds out into the wheat field Logan and him had set up on.

We decided to let my hog sit overnight since the temps were dropping into the low twenties. I hunted "The Boneyard" again Saturday morning and after Scott, Logan, Bobby (guide), and Nathan arrived at my set around 9:15am we started the tracking job. We headed straight for the edge of the canyon were I heard all of the commotion the night before. After a short tracking job into the bottom of the canyon we found my boar piled up in the bottom of a deep draw. This is the biggest boar I've killed to date 190lbs with 2 1/2 inch cutters.
We all met back at camp for lunch and sorted out a game plan for a drive on the big canyon that ran through the ranch. I decided to stay back at camp and get my boar butchered up, but everyone else headed out for the drive. Unfortunately the drive only yielded hog sightings, but no kills....unless you count Logan cracking a dillo's ass and Chad smoking a trapped coon.

After they returned to camp we sorted out the evening sit and Chad and I decided to play a hunch and sit over a wheat field that Bobby had been seeing a big group of hogs in the past couple of nights. There weren't any sets in place to hunt that spot, so after putting out some sour corn I created a sweet ground blind about 160yrds north of the corner the pigs had been spotted on. It was nice to finally get to hunt with Chad again, because it had been about 6-7 years since we've hunted together. At 5pm sharp I spotted several hogs headed towards the field. There were 3 big sows and 8 piglets in the group and they had one thing on their mind "sour corn". Chad and I watched them for a couple minutes while we worked out a game plan to put a double on the ground. Chad was going to shoot the biggest sow and I was going to crack the next biggest sow's ass, but when one of us had a clean shot the other one didn't. After a couple minutes of waiting the opportunity finally presented itself. Our plan was to count to three, then shoot on a silent four count so Iwasn't talking and trying to shoot at the same time. I think the excitement might have gotten to Chad a bit, because when the word "three" left my lips I heard the report from his 300 mag, I got a shot off in short order and when the dust settled two sows where down. We're not sure if I actually hit the second pig or if Chad smoked both of them with one shot, but regardless we had pigs down and it was Chad's first hog ever. We took advantage of the remaining daylight and decided to get some photos taken before it was dark out.

Sunday morning was warm, but the wind and overcast skies remained and nobody saw any movement as far as hogs go. We all headed back to camp around 10am to get packed up and head home. All in all it was a great trip. We killed three nice hogs, Logan got to smoke an armadillo and a skunk and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. It would have been nice to see/kill some more hogs, but when your hunting wild animals there is no guarantee. We're already talking about heading back down in June/July of 2012 for a summer time hunt.

Next up on the Minny-MO calender is the MO snagging season, followed up in short order by the spring turkey season....stay tuned, because we'll be laying down some more animals shortly.