THIS WEEK IN THE OUTDOORS

Discussion in 'LUKE CLAYTON' started by Luke Clayton, Oct 17, 2008.

  1. Luke Clayton

    Luke Clayton New Member

    Messages:
    831
    State:
    Texas
    "THIS WEEK IN THE OUTDOORS"
    by Luke Clayton

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    Luke Clayton


    I have a good friend that has been penning a very successful weekly outdoors column for over forty years. When asked why he believes his words intrigue and captivate readers, he stated, “Folks like to hear what you’ve been doing in the outdoors. Keep it real and write about what you love and the passion will show through. Write to THEM, as though they were hunting and fishing buddies.”

    Well, hunting and fishing buddies, this has been a very exciting week in ole’ Luke’s life. I am fortunate to live in a part of the state that affords easy access to some very diverse opportunities. In less than two hours from my home, I can be setting in a tree stand at the Big Woods in Eastern Texas or fishing for stripers and catfish in the Red River on the Texas-Oklahoma border. Just over four hours of steady driving puts me in the bays of the upper Texas coast. Want to hunt mule deer? Then head the old truck west across the Pecos to the Glass Mountains.

    Earlier this week, I enjoyed a couple days of deer hunting in the mountains and the drive took just a tad over two hours. Considering that I live about thirty miles southeast of Dallas, WHERE would I find mountains within a 2 hour drive, you might ask!

    The Palo Pinto Mountain Range, situated in Palo Pinto County, only 15 miles long, is proof positive that Texas has a little bit of everything. The juniper and oak covered peaks such as Sugarloaf and Crawford and Antelope Mountain, that average about 1,450 feet above sea level, rise from Brazos River bed and stand in stark contrast to an otherwise relatively featureless landscape. These scenic and rugged hills were home to several tribes of Native Americans and the reason is obvious, once one gets out and spends some time exploring the region. Adjacent the serpentine course of the Brazos lies an abundance of sheltered valleys that are ideal for campsites. The country is still relatively remote and unsettled, thanks to the fact that there are some very large ranches in the area.


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    Photo by Luke Clayton


    I’ve been fishing and hunting on the Holt River Ranch (www.holtriverranch.com), situated just west of Graford, since this past spring turkey season and have had the opportunity to learn a bit about the region. My friend, John Bryan, is in charge of the hunting and guides fishing trips for catfish and bass on a 5 mile stretch of the Brazos River that traverses the ranch.

    Early this week, I headed to the ranch to spend a couple days bow hunting deer but, after a check of the trail cameras, determined the whitetail herd had temporarily abandoned the feeders in favor of their favorite food source, acorns! There was an extremely good acorn crop in the region this year and bow hunting will be tough until the easy pickings are depleted. Luckily, I packed my TC Triumph 50 caliber muzzleloader. Loaded with 100 grains of Pyrodex and shooting 250 Grain Shock Wave Sabots, this rig is a very effective game getter out to 200 yards. A couple days before the hunt, I topped the smokepole with a new Bushnell Elite 3X9 scope. When I left my makeshift shooting range near my home, the rig was printing a 1.5 inch group 3 inches high at 100 yards. I felt very confident when I left my bow at camp and headed to the woods with the fifty caliber. In hunting, having confidence in your rifle, shotgun or bow is a must and there is no way to gain that confidence other than practice.

    As I walked to my stand, the hills were illuminated by a moon just one day away from being full. There have been several studies that ‘proved’ moon phase has little to do with deer movement but after more than four decades of deer seasons to reflect upon, I disagree. I’ve shot a few bucks during the first few minutes of daylight during a full moon but deer usually bed early under these conditions, after spending the night feeding.

    I watched several does and what appeared to be a 130 inch buck moving just inside a woodline but hunting was predictably slow. On the Jeep ride back to camp, Bryan and I spotted a herd of what appeared to be twenty or so hogs, probably heading to thick cover to their beds along the cool banks of the river. John pulled the vehicle to a stop and pointed to a patch of Prickly Pear. “Ever notice cactus covered with all those little white spots? These plants are infested with an insect called the Cochineal. These bugs burrow into the cactus plant and lay their eggs which become larva that manufacture a dye that was used by Indian tribes in the Southwest. Mixed with animal fat, the dye was used for war paint and in its natural state, for decorating lodges and clothing. I pulled a piece of the white material from a cactus leaf, squeezed it and discovered I had just dyed my thumb and index finger a dark Maroon. The stains are still present after 3 days! We enjoyed a great dinner of homemade Mexican soup and ground venison steaks wrapped in bacon and made plans for me to return next week, during the dark of the moon!

    Back at home, I loaded my little Nucanoe, a craft that is half canoe, half kayak, into the truck and did a little scouting for ducks on some backwater sloughs near my home. About a quarter mile back in into the marsh, I jumped about 50 teal, 20 or so wood ducks and even a flock of Gadwall. I selected a couple of new blind locations and marked my route through the backwaters so that I can locate the spots during early morning.

    Life is good in the outdoors and I sincerely wish that you can find some time to get out soon and enjoy the beautiful creations God has given us.

    Listen to Outdoors With Luke Clayton at www.catfishradio.com and check out the new fishing videos at lukeshotspots.com

    We have a virtual library of Luke's stories here on the BOC; just about anything you could want to read about the outdoors. Click here to see a boat load of information!
     
  2. jodster

    jodster New Member

    Messages:
    69
    State:
    texas
    I like reading all your writings! This sounded like you had a good time. When I started reading it I was looking/anticipating the kill. I have to keep reminding my self it all ain't about the kill. A good hunting or fishing trip ain't always about how many or how big. I do usually have a good time with out killing or catching anything. I'm still learning though, when I see the dove fly by I almost always pretend to shoot. I do still enjoy a trip to the woods, but feel almost naked with out a gun or bow, every body of water I see I think of what kind of fish would be in it or where/how I would fish it. I was told and also believe I should have been born in a era wich I needed to hunt, fish and trap to survive. I'm trying to do the catch and release, but my instincts say harvest.
    Keep up the good work and I look forward to reading your future writings!!
    Thank You
     

  3. Luke Clayton

    Luke Clayton New Member

    Messages:
    831
    State:
    Texas
    I certainly understand how you feel about 'harvesting'.. I am from the same school, in my case the 'old schoo'; I will turn 59 years this Feb. and grew up in an era when hunting and fishing was for fun but also FOOD! I have absolutely no problems with putting the fillet knife to fish that I or someone I know needs for food. I love venison and wild pork and each season, put plenty of this prime protein in the freezer.
    Living in Texas, I have an almost unlimited opportunity to harvest excess does on ranches with a game management plan. Removing the extra does is a must to keep the herd in balance. Getting plenty of game is pretty easy in today's world, at least it is for me. I can remember as kid growing up on a farm in eastern Texas, we were lucky if we harvested ONE buck each season. So, continue to enjoy hunting and fishing and doin't feel guilty when you put some fillets or steaks in your freezer or he freezer of a friend!
     
  4. catman4926

    catman4926 New Member

    Messages:
    1,602
    State:
    Texas
    Luke,
    Thanks for the great story,wish I still lived in Texas so I could enjoy all the things Texas has to offer in the outdoors.I do not think there is any other state like Texas. Keep the great stories coming.
     
  5. Luke Clayton

    Luke Clayton New Member

    Messages:
    831
    State:
    Texas
    THANKS FOR THE KIND WORDS. Yes, there's lots to do in the outdoors here in Texas but I dearly love hunting other states as well. I especially love to bowhunt deer up in the Dakotas. I took the buck that I'm pictured with there at www.catfishradio.com near Streeter, ND.. The rascal weighed just over250 pound, field dressed. The farther north one goes, the bigger the deer get!
     
  6. southtxcatter

    southtxcatter New Member

    Messages:
    11
    State:
    texas
    Great write up Luke
    I lisented and read you stories for a long time and really enjoy the stuff about cattin' and fishin all over texas...really enjoyed the gold magazine stuff too....any chance of some cent or s.tx stuff anytime soon?
     
  7. Luke Clayton

    Luke Clayton New Member

    Messages:
    831
    State:
    Texas
    Thanks for the note. YES! I welcome any and all outdoor topics for the radio show. If you have anything going on in the outdoors, drop me an email at lukeclayton@prodigy.net and we will get yo on the air. Or... if you might have a contact with some interesting fishing or hunting information, please have them contact me. We're open to everything hunting and fishing! God Bless and thanks again for taking the time to drop me a note. Luke Clayton
     
  8. Luke Clayton

    Luke Clayton New Member

    Messages:
    831
    State:
    Texas
    Let's get this article back up for folks that have not read it! Happy reading! Luke Clayton