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Writing for Women Hunters

One of the benefits of membership in the WH club is that WH will publish your best hunting stories and tips. 

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Tips for General Hunting

Headlights

staff writer-Minnesota
                               

 

The idiom “deer in the headlights” means to be “so frightened or
surprised you cannot move or think”.

Read more: Headlights

Hunting with Pantyhose

 

Hunting With Pantyhose

Janice Baer

Field staff Coordinator

Vice President of
Womenhunters

Minnesota

 

No, I don't mean wearing the pantyhose while hunting, but they're great to keep in your pack because they can be put to good use in a variety of situations.

 

Read more: Hunting with Pantyhose

Tick Talk

Tick Talk Too
By Synthia Wilson, Staff Writer and Prostaff, Kansas

In this article I will provide the need-to-know facts about ticks so your hunting and fishing experiences can be less painful. Most of the information was gathered from the Lyme Association. This article will include the following:

  • How to avoid tick bites
  • How to remove a tick properly
  • How to treat tick bites

Read more: Tick Talk

Deer Thoroughfares--Hunt the Creek Beds

Hunting Tips: Deer Thoroughfares

"Ms. Outdoors" Sheila Ogle

Did you ever notice that the active deer trails you set out to find on a new hunting property usually elude your search? I would like to suggest a new way to find success when searching for deer thoroughfares...

Read more: Deer Thoroughfares--Hunt the Creek Beds

Food Plot School 2011 - Part 2, Sites - Selecting and Prepping

Picking a site means scouting to see where animals travel. If unsure where to plant, or new to food plots or hunting, contact your state's Department of Natural Resources for help. For example, Minnesota has a free Woodland Stewardship Program to evaluate your property, help pattern wildlife and help make recommendations for food plots and other things.

Place food plots at pinch points along travel routes. Consider stand locations, prevailing winds, direction and amount of sunlight, and terrain features such as swamps or hills that create funnels or corridors.

If you are carving a plot out of woods, you may need to hire out since most of us ladies seldom have bulldozers or backhoes. Once your plot is cleared of trees and brush, your next steps are--

1.  Weeding. Spray with a Roundup or Glystar type herbicide and wait a week. In the  meantime, clear out rocks and branches.

2.  Disking. Before you can take a Ph reading, and to break up the soil, heavy disking is needed. If you don't have a disk, hire out. Get a Ph kit from any outdoor or farm store.

3.  Sweetening. If your soil is too acid, add pelletized lime. Spread the lime and fertilizer, and disk both into the soil. Lime can take six months to work, so plan for that. If you cannot disk, do a deep drag harrow (see photo).

4.  Flattening and Preparing. Disking leaves soil very rough. Use the deep tine side and drag harrow the plot in a cross-hatch pattern six times. Do the deep harrow right before you plant so the moisture in the soil keeps the dust down.

Next:  What When How

Food Plot School 2011 - Part 1, Tools of the Trade



Farming food plots is addicting. The more you farm food plots (aka green fields), the more you will love it and want to take it to the next level. Plus, food plots draw wildlife. You will have more success and fun hunting if you have food plots. This five-part series will cover--
  • Tools of the Trade
  • Sites - Picking and Prepping
  • What, When, How
  • Care and Maintenance
  • The Big Picture

As you start out, keep in mind that this is a slow process. Enjoy each aspect of it. The tools of the trade can be simple or over the top. Presently, I am somewhere in between. My grandpa was a farmer and had all the “stuff”. But I am not farming hundreds of acres. I am farming a total of 6 acres in five locations in the woods for 10 years. In the photo at right, left to right, you can see--

  • A flip-over disk
  • ATV with drag harrow
  • 1,000-lb capacity ATV cart
  • Spreader
  • Chain saws, tools, and seeds to plant.

I started with a hand-held spreader for fertilizer and seed, and a reversible drag for harrowing - to deep harrow before planting, and then shallow harrow to get seeds into the soil.

This year I may be buying a girl-sized tractor, and it’s nearly for sure I will buy a one-row planter for corn and beans. I have been doing my own food plots alone and if I can do it, any of you ladies can do it. The three basics you really need most to do a food plot effectively are--

  1. ATV
  2. drag harrow
  3. hand spreader.

You can effectively plant a small plot with just these basic tools. A reversible drag harrow costs $150 or less at an implement dealer.

The fourth thing on your “must-have” list is a flip-over disk for the ATV. These range from $500 to $800. Just Google “flip-over disk” to find them.

An ATV cart/trailer is helpful to lug chain saws, seed, tools, spreader, supplies, etc. to and from your plots.

The seed spread runs less than $100 at farm stores. Right now I have all the things in the photo, plus I bought a 16 gallon ATV mounted sprayer ($135) this year and have that tractor and one-row planter on my wish list. Farming food plots a great for fitness too! Next column will be “picking sites to plant and preparing them”.

Tips:

  • Buy Ag equipment in winter or off season to get better deals

  • Shop Craig’s List and ebay for good deals on farm equipment

  • ALWAYS wear work gloves, ball cap, long sleeve shirt, heavy pants and rubber or work boots when farming to protect yourself from injury.

  • STAY fit. Having good fitness will make farming SO much easier.

Next: Sites—Selecting and Prepping

TRUCK!

When I got my first GPS, a big old Magellan Gold, a hunting buddy advised me, “Wherever you park your truck to hunt, create a waypoint and name it ‘Truck.’ Then you can always find your truck.”

Seems obvious, right?

That is because I had never been really lost in the woods.

The days were growing shorter when I headed out to a new area for a quick afternoon hunt. Someone had described the terrain to me, and I had followed up by studying it on a not too detailed map.

I parked my truck, decided which side of the hill I would walk down to hunt, shrugged, created a waypoint and named it “Truck,” and then forgot about it.

I didn’t like the first bottom I came to. Nor did I like the field beyond it. I wound up using most of my time scouting. When I finally decided on a tree, I knew I had only a half hour or so before sunset, and another half hour to hunt after that, but what the heck. I was there, so I jacked up the tree and settled in for a short hunt.

The late afternoon sun lulled me and I fell asleep. When I awoke, I had five minutes of shooting light left, which meant it was time to get down and head back.  I climbed down, packed up, and headed out of the woods.

About the time the darkness hit I realized I was in a bowl and the city lights were the same all around, so my usual method of orienting myself was unavailable. Every direction looked the same. There was no moon, and I could not see the stars for the haze, so I could not tell which way to go. I stumbled around in the dark for 45 minutes with as many pounds on my back, through a swamp I had not known about. I had to climb over deadfalls and bend down to crawl under limbs, sometimes falling over, I was so topheavy with my stand on my back. There was no step I could take without complications. It seemed more like hours.

I had my first cell phone at the time, but the signal was spotty as my provider did not have a tower nearby, and I was in lowlands. I was unable to make a call.

Where on earth was my truck?

Just as I was thinking I would choose a tree to sleep in, hopefully safer off the ground than on it, it hit me:  Not only did I have a GPS, but I had created a waypoint for my truck. I turned on my GPS, waited while it found the satellites, and felt like Dorothy when she learned about the wizard. I was going to get home! There, on the bright little screen, was an arrow marked Truck. And a line showing what direction I had to go to get there.

After that I just crashed through everything and gave my waterproof snakeboots a good workout. I let the momentum of those 45 pounds carry me through the briars on the far side of the swamp. As I made my way up the hill to my truck, as I saw the dim silhouette of my truck against the skyline above me, I felt like I had found the Wizard of Oz.

I called my friend the next day and said “Thank you.”

“What for?” he said.

 

“Take It Like A Girl” - Getting fit for hunting season - the sequel

Whoa,   I was seeing stars.  My peripheral vision was blackening and closing in on me.  A sudden crashing pain had me stunned still as I stood pinned against a tree by a hundred pound twenty foot ladder tree stand.  I was knocked silly.  My jaw muscles were on fire.  Time stood still.  The last time I felt like this, I ended up in the hospital.

“Linda, are you all right?” my hunting bud, Mara, asked, pretending to be calm.   I did not feel alright.  I felt like barfing.  I felt like I had the IQ of a houseplant.  After a few minutes however, my endorphins kicked in and the pain began to wane.

To this point, I had felt like Wonder Woman with our project.  The experienced huntress, the tree stand wizard, the legend in her own mind.    Our project was getting a quarter mile off the road and into thick woods, navigating around six foot high standing corn to take down a large ladder tree stand and move it to a better hunting spot.   NO problem.  Taking the stand down got tricky however, even for two women.  I didn’t realize it was a twenty footer that weighed so much.  I had put up and taken down ladder stands by myself but they were much smaller.  This behemoth had a swing up seat, shooting rail, a Jacuzzi tub and wet bar.  Well, it was so heavy it felt like it had those last two amenities.   I managed to loop a rope on the chair of the stand and then lowered it slowly to the ground.  My friend was impressed.  Everything was working.   I felt like a female MacGyver.

We transported the stand a few hundred yards away to an area with very little footprint space available and found a crooked tree that unfortunately was the best location for it.  In the process of trying to raise the stand, the swivel seat popped loose and I didn’t have the strength to bear up under the stand’s ensuing fall to the ground.  On its way down, it bounced off my face, smacking me square on the chin and jaw.

So much for being a hunting goddess.  My eyes teared up and I started to cry.  I took it like a girl.  But I did NOT snivel.  And my gal pal did not fawn over me, thank God.   Instead, I bucked and focused on the task at hand.  Once the initial shock was gone, I was ready to rock again.

The rest of the process went well.  I put step stix up on the back of the tree, shimmied up and down a few times and looped the mother of all ropes over a branch 24 feet up.   While hanging like a monkey on a vine, I used my body weight to pull the stand into position, ending up flat on my back.  It then got secured it with a ratchet strap.  Mara trimmed out the stand area and I trimmed out shooting lanes.  We put up a trail cam nearby and hit the road for home.  Between raspberry thorns and the tree stand incident, I look like I’d been in a boxing match.

What was more sobering than seeing my beat up face in the rear view mirror, was admitting why this accident happened in the first place.  My chin was bloodied and swollen, my inner lip looked like ground round, my lower teeth felt loose and my jaw ached.  What I discovered was, my upper body strength had deteriorated due to lack of working out, to the point that I couldn’t do what I always used to be able to do in the woods.  I had made a mistake that I have preached to others about over the years, concerning the importance of fitness with hunting.  Now here I was, not physically prepared for the rigors of the hunt.  Dragging a 150 pound deer out of the woods was clearly out of the question.

Having been an aerobics instructor many years ago, I knew the shtick.  Plus, I have written about fitness and hunting as well.  You start form the ground up for getting in shape for hunting season:  Feet, Legs, Core, Upper Body and Wind.

Fitness for feet is less working out than it is having the right footwear.  Footwear needs to be as comfortable as a running shoe with ample warmth and protection for your hunting seasons.   You should get your hunting boots early, and go hiking in them in order to get them broken in.  Quality itch-free wool socks are a must.  There is nothing worse than aching, miserable feet that have been imprisoned in stiff new hunting footwear.

Fitness for Legs is next. Personally, I am a distance runner, roller blader and I walk a lot.  Any of these, or other leg workouts like biking, on a regular basis (3 days a week for at least an hour) will give you the strength you need to spend all day in the woods, climb trees or drag a deer out.   If you don’t stay fit year round, you should at least begin preparing three months before you hunt.  Hitting the woods with wimpy legs will result in exhaustion, cramping, shin splints, strains or even sprains and this goes for any age or gender of hunter.

You “Core” is your abdominals and your back. Having a strong core will help you stay warmer, help you sit tall and still in a tree stand all day and will make climbing and hiking enjoyable rather than an exhausting painful chore.  Not having a strong core can result in a pulled back or obliques, pulled abs, hernia, side aches and much more.  Some exercises for your core are sit ups, yoga, palates or weight bearing activities using machines.  Physical outdoor labor is great for core strength too.

Next is your upper body and this was where I messed up. Arms and upper back. I moved this year and my usual physical lifestyle had become more sedentary, upper-bodywise.  I used to chainsaw trees, split wood, dig, build, and always seemed to be shoveling something – every single day of the year it seemed.   Shoveling things by the way is EXCELLENT for your core too.  I’m still strong, but I didn’t have the strength I was used to having and that I honestly thought was still there.  I was still pulling the full weight on my bow after all, but I had misjudged.  The strength was not there after only six weeks of NOT getting upper body conditioning.  This is especially important for women, since our strength is less in the first place, but I’ve seen the same with men who do not maintain fitness.

Last, but probably most important, is your Wind, that is, your aerobic fitness.  How quickly do you get out of breath when exerting yourself?   If you are not aerobically fit, several problems can arise when hunting.  You won’t have the stamina to be outside all day walking through the woods to scout and hunt, for one.  You will break a sweat with very little exertion when hiking or walking to your stand and in cold weather this can make you chilled once you are sitting still in your hunting stand which can lead to hypothermia.  You won’t have endurance for things like putting up stands or tracking deer.

So I guess I have to resign myself to going to a gym for the time being.  It is no excuse to not have physical activities just outside my door like I used to.  I don’t want to ruin the upcoming 4 months of archery and firearms hunting just because I got a little soft.  The time to start is now.

How ready are you for hunting season?  It’s just around the corner and it’s not too late to prepare.

 

No Whining About Getting Old

No Whining About Getting Old
By Kathleen Kalina
 
 
Hunting may be easier for the young and fit, but as we all know, we can’t stop the aging process.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t hunt anymore.  We must adapt.  The first component is our genetic makeup causing some people to age faster with deteriorating chronic diseases.  Okay if you are over 55, you probably know how well or unwell you are aging. That’s why 55 plus is considered a senior at restaurants or the movies.  Instead of getting depressed and wishing you were as fit as you once were at 20, start thinking about what you can do to change the way you hunt.  I know we all notice that one 80 yr old who runs and jumps doing better than a 50 yr old. Remember:  we follow our genetics!  Some people have longevity and strong bodies.  But the average person follows a typical pattern.  Past injuries can catch up to us by 55.  I remember at age 20 being so athletic that I would fall and never felt a thing. (like the time I fell out the second floor of the college dorm fire escape as I was sneaking in late.  I got up and walked away unhurt).  If I did that fall today, I’d be in the hospital for a month.  Yeah, it’s the mileage that catches up to us.

Make a list of your physical needs at the hunts you do.  Decide that you will not give up hunting, but modify how you do it.

Can’t safely climb up a tree-stand anymore? Most of the deaths during deer hunting are the result of falling from the tree-stand and not by young  people.  Mostly men over 50.  Maybe some of them should have assessed their skill before they pushed themselves.   Ground blinds are the solution.

Can’t haul deer anymore?   Prepare a wheeled device, 4 wheeler, or sled.

Can’t walk too far anymore?   Find a nice spot where the deer seemed to triangulate and put down a ground blind and scent. Patience is better than sweating yourself to a heart attack.

Can’t walk the rough pheasant fields anymore.  Hunt preserves that have flatter fields and give your knees a break.

Can’t duck hunt in your waders in that cold water?  Get a duck boat and float your way to the ducks.

Can’t shoot a 12 guage anymore?…then shoot a 20 guage.  Sure you might a miss a few pheasants, but you are still hunting.

Can’t pull back a bow anymore?  Get a doctors signature (in the states that require them) to allow you to shoot a crossbow with a wind up crank.

Ropes and levers make a big difference in lifting and hauling when you aren’t strong.  Women seem to lose about ½ their strength at 50 from when there were 20.   So all your planning must include carrying things on wheels.  If you are unlucky enough to get arthritis, then your strength is even more limited.

Find a hunting companion who is young and strong who you can teach the sport while they help carry gear.  This is why grandparents love hunting with their grandchildren.   There are many children who are looking for an adult to mentor them, so you don’t have to be related to have a young hunting partner.  Think positively and use your imagination and find resources to help you continue enjoying the sport.

 

Keep your shooting hot!

Summertime may be time to cool off and relax, but in order to keep your shooting hot,
you must continue to shoot regularly during the off season.

For many hunters, summertime finds us camping, boating, fishing and doing a myriad of other outdoor activities with our friends and families.  It’s easy to fall out of our regular shooting habits by assuming we have plenty of time to pick up our bows or guns before hunting season this fall.  Truth is, hunting season usually surprises us all by arriving quite suddenly, and hunters often do the “last minute” scramble to assemble their gear, tune up their bows and sight-in their guns.  Don’t get caught trying to play “catch up” at the end of August!  Plan now to shoot regularly all summer.

Make it priority this summer to maintain a regular shooting schedule which will enable you to be more relaxed and confident when season opens in the fall.  Whether your calendar allows for weekly sessions or daily outings, commit yourself to the task now.  Better yet, get the entire family involved!  Doing so will almost certainly guarantee you’ll stick to the schedule while creating some great family time together.  Shoot in your backyard or woods; attend 3D shoots, sign up for summer shooting leagues or simply visit the local gun range regularly.  Unless you’re shooting at a large tournament, most of your shooting can easily be finished in an hour or two, leaving the rest of the day for other summer activities.  For a fun outing, consider inviting other friends and families who hunt and make a day of it with some shooting followed by a picnic at the park or beach.

By shooting regularly throughout the summer, not only will you see your consistency improve, you’ll see improvement in shot placement and judging distances.  Both your form and strength will be enhanced; also a good reason to bring young or new hunters along.  This is a great time to help build confidence in new hunters and prepare them for the fall.  Shooting is a great time to discuss shot placement, shot distances and to instruct others on when the best time to execute a shot is.  Use this time to instruct new hunters on what to do after the shot also.  What to watch for, how to “mark” where the animal was standing at the time of the shot, how to record what direction the animal went after the shot, whether or not to take a follow up shot, and to begin teaching them about tracking an animal and recovering an animal.  It’s a great time to review safety procedures so they become second-nature by the time season opens.

Remember to check your gear each time you shoot.  Keep your hunting tools in top shape by keeping them clean, doing maintenance checks and promptly repairing any parts that appear worn or faulty.  The off season is a wonderful time to teach maintenance and cleaning routines to new hunters also.  You have more time to do so now and it teaches them essential procedures they will remember and use for life.

Taking action now to guarantee your shooting skills remain sharp will translate into a hunting season full of anticipation and confidence, and hopefully, a freezer full of game.



Good Luck and Happy Hunting!

 

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Regional Directors

 
Regional Directors organize
and participate in
get-togethers,
shoots and shows

Julia Heinz
Alaska and the Yukon
juliah@womenhunters.com

Kathy Russell
Missouri
kathyr@womenhunters.com

Tammy Hartline
North Alabama, Mississippi p
and North Georgia
tammyh@womenhunters.com

Synthia Wilson
Kansas
synthia@womenhunters.com

Kim Hose
Maryland
 
Rachel Baker
    Colorado    
 
Beth Milligan
Arkansas
 
Jo Rice
Washington
 
Angelina Coopersmith
Michigan
 
Jenny Paul
Texas
 
 
 Mara Osborne
North Carolina
 

 

Tracy Rowe
Illinois

 

 

 

 To become a regional director
for your area, contact:
kathleen@womenhunters.com