Campfire Talk Part 3 with Larry Weishuhn

07 June 2012

“She’s shooting just about dead-on, why not move it to the left almost a half inch.” said Tim Fallon of the FTW Ranch, as I sat at the “lodge range” making final adjustments to my Ruger 77 .375 Ruger African. I had just mounted a new Zeiss Duralyt scope on it with a lighted center point in the reticle. Shooting at a black-center target, I appreciated the small lit reddish/orange dot that allowed me to precisely find the center. As I made the minor adjustment I got to thinking how good it would be to have that lit reticle should be when it came to trying to do precise shot placement with black crosshairs against a dark colored bear. The next time I squeezed the trigger the Hornady 300 grain DGX, was exactly on mark, right in the center of the target. I could have quit shooting then, but, I love to shoot so I ran three more rounds through the .375 Ruger before putting it away. Those last 3 shots all cut the shot that put it dead center. I was ready for any black bear, black or colored phase, regardless of size. At the time I was still a week from heading to Manitoba to Rick and Colleen Liske’s Agassiz-Waterhen Lodge (www.agassizoutfitters.com) with Zeiss’ Bob Kaleta, radio personality Jim Ferguson and my cameraman/field producer, Blake Barnett for outsized black bear. The purpose of the “trip” was many fold, including of course hoping to shoot a monstrous odd-colored bear (which live in the area Agassiz Outfitters hunts), film the first segment of my new “Trailing the Hunter’s Moon” show which will debut on Sportsman Channel in late June 2013, and also to work on some “designs” to incorporate into the stalking shield I’m doing in conjunction with Nature Blinds. Research, research, research...someone has GOT to do it! Over the years of hunting throughout much of the world, including a tremendous amount of spot and stalk, or sitting on the ground in an area where a particular buck, bull or boar has been seen I’ve always wanted for “something” I could use either as a stalking shield to walk behind to get closer to an animal, or hastily set up almost anywhere...but it be something from which I could hide behind when necessary to avoid detection by the animal I was after. Thus, the idea for a stalking shield. I’ve “played” with numerous designs, and have spent considerable time talking to Tim Thomason about my thoughts and ideas, done drawings and cut-outs to play with. Also visited with Tim about weight (meaning less is better) and “ruggedability” of the shield. Tim being the key person to talk do because of his artistry and knowledge of the Nature Blind product(s). We’re, as of this writing, still making some adjustments, brought about due to intense field testing. And to me that’s the way it’s supposed to be. After all, when we finally introduce my “signature stalker”, it’ll have my name on it, along with “Nature Blinds” so I want it to be the best, as do Tim and crew. More about all this as we gather around campfires in the future. I’ve had the opportunity to do some traveling as of late and from a wildlife perspective, range conditions look really good. Yes, some area are still dry for the season, and warm weather is upon us. But across North America for the most part we didn’t have any problems with winter kills, and the animals as a whole came through what winter we had in absolutely great shape. The most critical time for antlers development and survival to a great extent is food or forage availability when the males come out of breeding season, and then summer when the young are starting to try to make it on their own. And based on the weather conditions we’ve had, we’re in really good shape across the country. Forage production (meaning native) is in great shape with the exceptions of isolated areas. What does that mean to us? It means this should be an really good hunting season that is coming up later this fall. Young survival rates across the continent have been good, meaning the populations should be steady to even increasing once again. Food availability coming out of the breeding seasons has been good, so males of the various species not only survived, they came through the winter in great shape. Thus we should expect excellent horn and antler development. I’ve talked to a lot of hunters who have been busy planting spring forage for wildlife...and I’m often asked (because of my background as a professional wildlife biologist) what should be planted. My normal answer is, “Go to the local farmers, find out what they plant, that the deer just seem to eat up and what they have the most problem with keeping the deer out of their fields...then go to the local feed/seed dealer and buy that seed and plant it. You that way know, the seed grows in the area and does well, that deer know what it is, and the like it!” That’s a pretty good combination and it holds true whether we’re talking about spring or fall food plots for deer. Now too is a good time to buy your Nature Blind and put it where you’re going to want to hunt. Then a bit later this summer say in July, go into the area and cut some shooting lanes. Once you’ve done that go to the local feed/seed dealer and buy the cheapest fertilize sold and “strew” it in the areas you’ve cleared for shooting lanes. These shooting lanes will create a path of least resistance, and when you fertilize them it’ll create a natural food plot. Deer have the innate ability to quickly determine the most nutritious forage in an area, and it tends to be “sweeter” (more palatable). So not only will you have created shooting lanes, you will have created paths of least resistance that serves as a mini-food plot! The campfire has just about burned down for some really good coals to cook over, so while I head inside to grab some steaks out of my Yeti Cooler, sit back for a little while and relax...supper will be finished in a little while.....