Since our visit last week, I’ve had time to get a bit of rest from the week I spent in Colorado elk hunting. While I was out of state, I left my new Mathews Z7 Extreme with my buddy Steve Trimble, the bow technician at All Star Bow Shop, to work his magic and get my new bow ready to be put to work on upcoming hunts.

The much cooler weather we’ve been enjoying the past few days came at just the right time for more comfortable practice for bow season. If the situation dictates, I will get out and practice in sweltering heat but shooting repetitive shots at 3D targets is much more comfortable when there’s a little nip in the air.

 I’m planning on opening bow season up in Jack County at Squaw Mountain Ranch, located a few miles north of Jacksboro. I’ve hunted this ranch for more than two decades and have many pleasant memories of hunting these ruggedly beautiful mini-mountains.

Last year, I was hunting with Keith Barnett at the junction of a couple well used trails on the ranch and arrowed a fine buck that scored 157 PY inches. In a  conservation with Barnett recently, I was informed that antler development is excellent on bucks, thanks to an intensive feeding program. I know the quality of deer on the ranch and that has caused me to double my practice sessions to two per day, one the first thing in the morning and again later when the sun sets.

We should be in for a great deer season. Corn and protein feeders will pay big dividends because of the lack of food in the woods. The drought has definitely taken its toll on browse and grasses. I’ve noticed that most of the red oaks I’ve checked appear to have at least an average acorn crop, but some on our property are loaded with acorns.

Regardless where you do your deer hunting, it’s a good idea to pack your binoculars on the next scouting trip and scan the tree branches for mature acorns. Find a tree loaded with acorns and you will be well on your way to finding a deer hot spot come the opener of bow season.

Duck season is also quickly approaching. The low water conditions on some of the back water ponds I hunt are perfect places to plant duck food such as Japanese Millet. I recently replanted the moist shoreline around a marsh where I hunt. Millet matures into seed heads in 45-60 days so I am hopeful that by the beginning of the second split of duck season, when the major migration is in full swing, there will be plenty for the migrant water fowl to eat. Millet continues to grow when standing in water. Hopefully we’ll get a few inches of rain between now and the opener of duck season. The biologists tell us the number of ducks coming down the flyway will be the best in years. If Mother Nature smiles and provides water and food to keep them around, we could have a banner season in North Texas.

Stripers biting at Texoma

Guide Larry Sparks, with Sparkys Guide Service, said he and his team of guides have been following the instructions of the Oklahoma Department of Fish and Wildlife in regards to the ban on swimming at Texoma due to the Blue/Green Algae problem.

“Striper fishing is going strong and there is no ban on catching or eating fish. We’ve been catching lots of stripers and there are very few boats on the lake now,” Sparks said. We’re following instructions and washing the stripers with clean tap water before we fillet them. “

Sparks says the next six weeks annually provide some of the best schooling striper action of the year at Texoma.

Corn feeders getting hit hard

If you’ve been feeding corn to attract deer, hogs and turkeys, chances are good you are well aware of the increase in cost.

Corn is selling for close to $20 per hundred pounds because of dry range conditions, browse and mast crops that wildlife depend upon for survival is in short supply and everything from raccoons to coyotes are attracted to corn feeders.

I have several trail cameras out on the Clay Hill Ranch near Fairfield and in one image, there were a total of eight raccoons raiding the corn feeder.

I have discovered a solution to the problem though. Karl Harmon with Ultramatic Feeders introduced me to The Eliminator last spring. This unit replaces the spinner plate on feeders and installation takes only a couple minutes. The Eliminator seals  the flow of corn from the barrel when it is in the ‘at rest’ position completely.

When the motor comes on, centrifugal force causes the Eliminator to open and corn is distributed. When the motor shuts off, the flow of corn is again closed. I have three of the units at work on my feeders right now and there’s no telling how much money I’ve saved in corn that would been eaten by raccoons, squirrels, crows, etc.  To watch a video of the Eliminator at work, visit www.ultramaticfeeders.com.

New bowhunting magazine debuting

Texas bow hunters will soon have a new print magazine catering to bow hunting in the Lone Star State.

 Texas Bow Hunter’s Journal makes its debut with the November/December issue.  It’s common practice for internet sites to support print publications, but Mary Bone, editor of Texas Bowhunter’s Journal says the new print magazine is preceded  by the very popular bow hunting web site: www.texasbowhuner.com.

“We’re hitting the ground running with a very strong reader base with our internet site,” Bone said. “Our goal is to cover all aspects of bow hunting. Everything from shooting traditional gear to state of art compounds.”

A new way to cook outdoors

You might have seen Seth McGinn’s Can Cooker advertised on outdoor TV shows. I’ve been a big fan of boiled foods for years, especially while camping out on hunting and fishing trips.

Before our recent trip to Colorado’s high country to hunt elk, I ordered one of McGinn’s cookers and it proved to be the most useful cooking utensil on our six-day hunt.

McGinn used to help his grandparents and their neighbors work cattle on their Nebraska ranch. For lunch, they buried an old cream can in the ground, raked coals around it and prepared everything from stews to boiled meat and veggies.

Later in life, McGinn decided to do some experimenting with his grandfather’s basic design. After much trial and error, his ‘Can Cooker’ was born.

The unit has a tight fitting lid with a gasket. A small hole is in the top of the lid to allow steam to escape. The cooker is not really a pressure cooker per se, but it does contain the heat well and facilitates cooking with a small amount of moisture. Usually 12 ounces of water is all that’s necessary to prepare a full meal.

Our camp cook, Billy Kilpatrick, used the cooker to prepare meals such as corn on the cob, new potatoes and sausage. Cooking time was about 40 minutes.  Roasts, carrots and potatoes are also very easy to prepare in the Can Cooker. For more information visit www.cancooker.com.

Listen to Outdoors with Luke Clayton radio at www.catfishradio.com. Email Clayton via the website with hunting and fishing news from your area.