"HUNTING SEASON QUICKLY APPROACHING" by Luke Clayton Luke Clayton As a youngster, I thought August was a LONG way from hunting season. The older I get the quicker the seasons seem to roll around. In about 3 weeks, we will once again take to the dove fields and a couple weeks later, have the opportunity to hunt waterfowl with the opening of the special teal season in mid September. Then, a couple weeks more and its time to take to the deer woods in quest of a big buck and fresh venison for the freezer. For those that enjoy hunting wild hogs, we a can pursue these good eating and challenging critters year-around. Life truly is good for those of us that enjoy spending time in the great outdoors. Thousands of Texans are making plans to attend the various hunting shows across the state, the largest of which is the Hunters Extravaganza shows in Houston, San Antonio and, August 14-16 at the Will Rogers Center in Ft. Worth. These shows are a great place to meet with fellow hunters, book hunting trips, and learn from the pros at hunting seminars as well as get a look at the newest in products that are intended to make your time afield more fun and successful. Ive developed a method of taking in these shows, that are usually jam packed with folks that are equally fired up about the upcoming hunting seasons. Rather than jumping all over the huge 100,000 square foot building in Ft. Worth, I simply position myself on one side and, systematically walk every isle, stopping to visit with venders that have products or services that perk my interest. There is no need to be in a rush, there are far too many people packing the huge building for that. I devote at least a couple hours to see the entire show, sometimes twice that long. I always meet a few good friends at the show and we enjoy visiting with each other and renewing acquaintances with other hunters. Through my many years as an outdoors writer and radio broadcaster, Ive made many friends that are hunting outfitters and this is my chance to stop by and say hello. We talk about past hunts and make plans for future outings. There will be many interesting people to visit with this year and some innovative new products. Mike Ford is a long time friend that will have a booth at the show. Many of you might remember Mike when he was the star quarterback at SMU and later played for Tampa Bay. Mike and his wife Lori will have a booth highlighting their Rio Rojo Rancho, located in northern Red River County. Mike will have one of the new GhostBlinds in the booth. This innovative new hunting blind sets up in seconds and has mirrors on the outside that reflect the brush, weeds, trees, etc. in front of the blind; finally the perfect camouflage! You might want to look for a booth with THE REMOTE. Karl Harmon will be showing off his neat unit that remotely activates deer or hog feeders. Where many of the old style units zapped the feeder battery relatively quickly, Karls new Remote uses only a minute current. He will also have his Feedlite on display. This system of lights is battery powered and has a built in solar panel that keeps the battery charged for over a year without maintenance and provides a great way to harvest nocturnal wild hogs. When the sun goes down, the Feedlite automatically illuminates the areas directly under a corn feeder with just enough light for the hunter to make a shot with bow or rifle. The next few weeks is a great time to perform the necessary maintenance of equipment that will soon be put to work. If youre a bowhunter or plan to hunt with a crossbow this year during archery season, there is no need for a reminder to do lots of practicing; chances are good you already have your shooting skills honed. Hunting rifles should be thoroughly cleaned, and not just on the outside. A good bore solvent should be used on the bore to assure the rifling is clean and ready for the deer woods this fall. Likewise, shotguns should be thoroughly cleaned and if you shoot an autoloader, unless you are thoroughly familiar with cleaning procedures, its a good idea to take it to a knowledgeable gunsmith for a thorough cleaning. You certainly dont want to head to the dove field in a few weeks and encounter problems that could have easily been avoided with a good cleaning! Photo courtesy of Luke Clayton. If you are a duck or goose hunter, you probably have already been taking inventory of your gear. Chances are pretty good you have at least one (probably more) duck decoys with holes in them (surely not from errand shots last year!) that need patched. Nothing ruins an otherwise good looking decoy spread than a decoy or two listing to one side because of water inside! Break out those calls and make sure they still sound true, you dont want that gadwall call to sound like a juvenile Rhode Island Red rooster attempting to learn how to crow when you get in your duck blind this fall! Yes, those of us that love taking to the marshes, fields and woods are eagerly awaiting opening day. It wont be long and now is prime time to make plans that will insure every thing is ship shape when it arrives! Hot striper fishing at Texoma- Guide Bill Carey with Striper Express (www.striperexpress.com. 877-786-4477 reports stripers have been on a very dependable pattern the past month and he expects the pattern to continue. Weve been catching regular limits on top water plugs and the 1.5 ounce chartreuse Fiesta Slabs by Moes Tackle (www.moestackleshop.com). Stripers have been on a very active bite and they are hitting the slabs when they are dropped to bottom and cranked up through the water column. Many of the schools of feeding stripers are huge, sometimes encompassing several acres. tips Carey. OUTDOOR TIP OF THE WEEK: Chances are good that if youre a deer hunter, there are still a few packages of venison in your freezer. Did you ever consider canning venison? This idea was new to me until Mike Pullen with Frisco Spice (www.friscospices.com) taught me just how easy canning venison really is. Pullen also taught me a recipe for making venison/pork bacon. The bacon and canned venison with an Au Jus sauce are both very tasty and a great method of putting venison to use. Pullen offers free brochures giving detailed instructions for both recipes. Feel free to contact Mike at email@example.com or 800-762-6689. 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 and check out the new fishing videos at lukeshotspots.com Contact Luke at firstname.lastname@example.org 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!