ON THE HUNTERS TRAIL

Discussion in 'LUKE CLAYTON' started by Luke Clayton, Aug 6, 2007.

  1. Luke Clayton

    Luke Clayton New Member

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    ON THE HUNTERS TRAIL
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    Luke Clayton​


    WARM WEATHER HUNTING & CARE OF MEAT​


    Centerville, Texas- As I followed Danny Smith through his ranch to the area I would be hunting hogs, I glanced at the thermometer and noted the outside temperature to be 92 degrees. A bit warm for hunting, some might think but ‘just right’ for those that like to get a jump on the fall hunting seasons. Smith gave me directions to a ground blind overlooking a corn feeder and told me when to expect the corn to hit the ground. The time was 5 pm. and with the cloud cover, I knew the temperature would begin to drop soon, especially in the deeply shaded grove of water oaks where I was hunting.

    This past summer was the wettest in recent history in much of Texas and Smith’s ranch had plenty of marshy lowlands adjacent the creeks that traverse the ranch. As I set there waiting for the feeder to distribute corn, I thought about how much I loved stalking hogs, especially when the woods are wet and quiet. Ten minutes later, I was easing through the oaks, face into a slight southwest wind, looking ahead and listening for the sound of feeding hogs. Ahead, I could see marsh grasses growing in what appeared to be very shallow water, maybe 10 inches deep. This area, known in east Texas as a ‘pin oak flat”, is perfect wild hog habitat. With shallow water to feed and wallow in, lush vegetation just under the water’s surface and seclusion, I knew my chances are high of encountering a hog here.

    When still hunting, I do very little walking and a great deal of looking and listening. In twenty minutes, I had penetrated the marsh only 150 yards or so then, I got that “feeling” that something was about to happen. If you’ve hunted much, chances are good you have also experienced ‘that feeling’. Something was out of the ordinary. I could faintly smell that musky wild hog scent but there was more; something subconsciously was tipping me off that game was nearby. Then I realized what the recesses of my brain had been trying to tell me for the past minute or so: The sound of dripping water coming from the reeds ahead. There was little wind and no moving water here. What was making this ‘dripping’ sound? Then I remembered a like situation several years ago when I slipped up on a wild boar feeding on wild onions in shallow water. There was a hog ahead rooting and feeding on plants underwater, then raising it’s snout and water was dripping off!

    It took at least 5 minutes of pushing one foot in front of the other in the shallow water to close the distance on the hog. She was a little sow that weighed about 100 pounds; prime eating! Using the big oaks as cover, I moved slowly from tree to tree until I was within range of the hog. Back at camp, with a cooler full of prime pork, I discussed with Danny Smith the pros and cons of hunting during warm weather, which in much of the country, includes the first few weeks of whitetail bow season.

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    Photo by Luke Clayton


    “We have a walk in cooler here on the ranch to hang hogs but on many occasions, hunters have to chill their meat in ice coolers. There is a big misconception that game meat should not come in direct contact with ice and water in coolers. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Other hunters think freshly butchered meat should be placed in plastic bags, then put on ice. I prefer to simply take the quartered game meat, put it in an ice cooler large enough to facilitate the meat and ice and chill is as quickly as possible after the animal is harvested. Cover the meat with ice, pull the plug on the cooler to allow it to drain and freshly harvest meat can be kept for up to three days, providing fresh ice is added periodically.” Tips Smith.

    TIPS FOR HUNTING DURING THE WARM WEATHER

    Hunt early and late. This is when game will be most active and the temperature coolest.

    Field dress game as quickly as possible and chill the meat as quickly as possible

    If there is moving water nearby, drag the field dressed animal into the water for quicker cooling.

    Dress in light camo clothing. There is plenty of “vented” camo on the market today that allows body heat to escape quickly.

    Spend the heat of the day doing as the game animals, resting and staying as cool as possible. Or, if you’re lucky, cooking some fresh pork on the smoker!

    For more information on hunting the Smith Ranch, call Danny Smith at 903-536-2505 or check out the web site at www.hoghunting.com
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