HUCKLEBERRY- THE BIRD HUNTING JACK RUSSELL TERRIER" by Luke Clayton Luke Clayton Yantis, Texas- When upland bird guide Cord Burnett loosed a brace of well trained pointers on a recent hunt at Hidden Lakes Hunting Resort near Yantis in East Texas, I did a double take when his little wirehair Jack Russell Terrier Huckleberry hit the ground and quickly disappeared into the patch of standing sorghum, right behind the bigger dogs three times his size. Jack Russells have no shortage of heart, they were bred to go into fox holes and dig out the quarry for fox hunters in England back in the 1800s. Bred with long legs for their size, the little dogs could keep up with the bigger fox hounds; Huckleberry also does a great job keeping up with big running pointers! Photo by Luke Clayton Bird hunting was excellent at Hidden Lakes, as it always is and Huckleberry proved his worth as a flushing dog every time the pointers locked up on point. Cord would send little Huckleberry in and he would put the quail, chucker or pheasant in the air and, often beat the other dogs to the downed bird and make the retrieve. He has even made water retrieves, bringing back upland birds that fell in standing water! On a couple of occasions when the game bird scent was really hot, I watched the little Jack Russell freeze in mid stride, just like the pointers. Whether he was actually on point or just pausing in an attempt to locate the game bird hiding in the cover ahead is anybodys guess but was acting just like one of the pointing breeds. I thoroughly enjoyed this, my second hunt at Hidden Lakes, with my friends outdoors writer Bob Hood, owner Billy Burnett, and Billys son Cord, who served as guide. I might forget a few aspects of this world class wingshooting outing but I will never forget this little bundle of fur named Huckleberry that has the heart of a lion in a body not much larger than a big jackrabbit! For more information on hunting quail, chucker or pheasant at Hidden Lakes Hunting Resort, go online at www.hiddenlakeshuntingresort.com or call Billy Burnett at 903-714-7574 BIG STRIPERS BITING" by Luke Clayton Photo courtesy of Striper Express Guide Service. Winter is prime time for catching the biggest stripers of the year. When asked my favorite time to go striper fishing, I always reply, a cold winter day with a light wind. Stripers are saltwater transplants and they love turbulent water, they often bite best on windy days. But when fishing in cold weather, I opt for a light wind rather than a gale, after all, a fishing trip should be enjoyable rather than an endurance test. A light wind is usually enough to put the fish in the biting mode. Winter fishing can be very comfortable when the angler dresses properly in layers and makes sure to wear gloves and a face mask. Its also a good idea to bring along a thermos of hot soup, coffee or chocolate. Usually the coldest part of the trip is the boat ride to and from the fish. Dressed properly and assuming you are not driving the boat, if you turn your back to the front of the boat during the run to and from the fish, you will never feel the chill. I am fortunate to have a couple of excellent guides from a couple of great striper lakes as weekly guests on my radio show. Both had a red hot striper report this past week. The big news is that big stripers, up to just over 20 pounds, are biting big baits fished close to bottom. At Texoma, guide Bill Carey says his son Chris has had some awesome trips the past few days. Weve been enjoying the best big fish action of the year. Our most recent trip resulted in multiple stripers weighing between 13 and 23.5 pounds. says Carey. Stripers are stacking up in big, tight schools now. The frigid weather we recently has the shad holding in the deeper cuts and channels and the stripers are there feasting on the hapless baitfish. Were fishing 1 ounce Roadrunner jigs and Moes Dead Assassins or Shad Sticks close to bottom. We tell our clients to fish the baits very slowly close to bottom and be ready for a subtle bite. Its important to set the hook when the slightest resistance is felt. adds Carey. At Whitney, guide Randy Routh and his clients have been enjoying like action on stripers up to 20 pounds. We're dead-sticking jigs with white worm trailers close to bottom. The trick is to mark the stripers on sonar, then keeping the trolling motor on low speed, position the boat above them and simply drop the baits to bottom and crank them up a couple turns. Then, just hold the rod and occasionally give the rod a quick twitch. These stripers, even the bigger ones often bite very softly, just mouthing the baits. tips Routh. If youre suffering for a case of cabin fever, an exciting winter striper trip might be just the cure. If youre fishing Texoma, call Guide Bill Carey at Striper Express (877-786-4477, www.striperexpress.com). At Lake Whitney, contact Guide Randy Routh at (817-822-5539, www.teamredneck.net) OUTDOOR TIP OF THE WEEK- Chances are good you have plenty of venison in the freezer from this past hunting season. If you enjoy eating corned beef, consider making corned venison from your venison hams. Corning venison is really easy. I just finished transforming 8 pounds of venison ham steak into some of the tastiest corned meat imaginable. The process is really very simple. The meat is cut into pieces weighing 2-3 pounds and brined a few days. To determine how long to brine the meat, use this formula: 1 day for each pound of meat plus a day; a three pound piece of venison can be brined (cured) in 4 days in the refrigerator. After the meat is brined, rinse off the excess cure and cook it in the oven to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. I learned this method from Mike Pullen with Frisco Spices (www.friscospices.com). Mike is a storehouse of knowledge for anything to do with making sausage or curing meats at home. Feel free to contact him with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Order your spices or cures from the web site online. Want even more of Luke's hunting/fishing tips and tricks, wild game recipes etc? Listen to Outdoors With Luke Clayton for a new show each week at www.catfishradio.com Contact Luke at email@example.com The BOC has a virtual library of Luke's stories right here on the forums; just about anything you could want to read about the outdoors. Click here to see a boat load of information!