"THIS WEEK IN THE OUTDOORS" by Luke Clayton Luke Clayton The bean counters tell us the economy is still in a slump, but if you were in attendance at the Texas Trophy Hunters show this past weekend in Ft. Worth, youll probably agree that when it comes to hunting and the outdoors in general, were living in the boon years! The isles at the show were packed with folks, all eager to visit with outfitters, plan hunts and purchase the latest in hunting gear. If you were anywhere around booth #313, where Mike and Lori Ford were set up, introducing their Rio Rojo Rancho in Red River County to the masses, you might have experienced somewhat of a delay. Ford had one of the new GhostBlinds (www.ghostblind.com) set up and the innovative new mirror blind drew quiet a crowd. The blind has a series of panels, mirrors on the outside and camo inside, with backpack straps and weighs less than 20 pounds. Game approaching the blind sees a reflection of exactly whats in front of the blind, finally the perfect camo! Karl Harmon, the inventor of the Feedlite, a unit used to illuminate the area around feeders for hunting hogs at night, has come up with another very useful product, The Remote (www.the-remote.com). This unit works on any spin-type game feeder and remotely activates the spinner. Its range is up to 175 yards and uses only 1/3 mA, which does not drain the feeder battery. How many times have you been setting in your stand, wishing you had a bit more corn on the ground? Now, with the push of a button, you can remotely activate your feeder! If you enjoy predator hunting, you will love watching Ultimate Predator (www.ultimatepredatortv.com) a new DVD by Chris Robinson and his pro staff. Check out the web site to see a preview of the video. The footage highlights over 40 night hunts for bobcat, coyote, ringtail and contains the best footage of night predator hunting that Ive ever seen. While walking the isles, I was pleasantly surprised to see that one of my long time favorite hunting ranches, Squaw Mountain Whitetails (www.starbuckwhitetails.com), located north of Jacksboro, Texas is once again a hunting ranch. Over twenty years ago, when I was beginning my career as an outdoors writer, I hunted the ranch on many occasions. The ranch was used for private hunting for many years until the Wieser Brothers purchased it and once again opened the gates to this storied old ranch to the public. Im looking forward to once again having the opportunity to visit the rugged hills where I taught my older son to hunt. Photo courtesy of Luke Clayton. TEAL HUNTING TIPS- Teal season opens in mid-September and its time to think ahead and plan our hunts. Teal are the easiest of ducks to decoy, the trick to hunting them is scouting and locating areas where the migrating birds stop to rest for a few days in their migrations. Teal are notorious for being here today and gone tomorrow. To be effective, scouting should take place the day before one plans to hunt. In years past, Ive scouted a marsh or shallows on a remote lake or pond and found good numbers of birds, only to return a week later and discover they have moved out. If possible, do your scouting the day before your hunt and disturb the birds as little as possible. Some hunters use only teal decoys but Ive had good success with standard mallard decoys, the same ones I use during the general duck season. Shovelers also migrate early and are often mistaken for teal. Since only teal can be harvested during the special early season, learning to identify the species is a must. The Ducks Unlimited web site www.ducks.org, has a section Duck ID, that is very helpful in learning how to identify the various species. The best time to hunt teal over decoys is during the first hour or so of daylight. Calling is not a must but I have had success using the blue wing teal whistle that does a good job imitating the peep-peep sound made by the birds in flight. I seldom hunt with more than a dozen decoys during teal season, its important to go light and remain mobile when hunting teal. Teal are considered the best tasting of all ducks and they require no marinating. Ive enjoyed many tasty meals by simply skinning the birds, stuffing them with jalapeno, wrapping them in bacon, and smoking or grilling over hot coals. Waterfowl outfitter Cory Vinson (469-867-4299) is offering teal hunts on his private waters located a few miles west of Cedar Creek Lake, near Seven Points. Vinson reports the several hundred acres of shallow water on the place usually attracts good numbers of migrant teal. GAR WITH ARTIFICIAL LURES- Regular readers might remember an article I did this summer about catching gar on rod and reel. The article, archived at www.catfishradio.com, gave details on how to rig with live bait or cut bait. I stressed the fact that I was certainly no expert in fishing for gar but wanted to invite you to follow me in my new pursuit and possibly learn with me. For years, Ive heard that a 6 inch strand of white nylon rope makes a great artificial lure for catching gar. After a couple of recent fishing trips, using this method, I can attest that it DOES work! To make your own gar lure, simply cut a 6 inch length of white nylon rope. Burn one end so that it does not unravel. Then, using a stiff wire brush, comb out the other end for about 4 inches, then, to insure your lure doesnt continue to unravel, melt the strands of nylon (3-4 inches from the end of the unraveled section). These lures are best used when sight casting for gar. First, spot your gar, and then make a cast in front and a few feet past it. Work the bait back slowly, making short twitches, much like you would work a top water plug for bass, allowing it to pause right in front of the targeted gar. The fish will slap at it with its long mouth and quickly gets many teeth entangled in the strands of nylon. As mentioned in my previous article, smaller gar weighing less than 20 pounds, are excellent eating and not at all difficult to clean. Outdoor tip of the week- Now is a good time to take stock of your hunting gear and repair or replace worn or worn out items. Plastic storage containers are inexpensive and are a great way to keep items for various outdoor activities organized and in good condition. I have plastic containers that I use to store everything from duck and goose calls to items needed for deer hunting. In years past, it seems I spent as much time hunting for my supplies as I spent in the field actually hunting! Now, I mark the containers and when its time to pack up for a hunt, I simply take them out of my storage building and put them in the truck. I also keep my hunting clothes in these handy containers. 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. 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