Displaying items by tag: hunting

West Kentucky Wild: Early Season Squirrels

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (8/28/13) – The 2013 squirrel season opened up on Saturday, August 17th. Rain had come sometime during the night and lightning flashes were receding in the distance. Daylight was still over an hour away, giving me a chance to stop in town, grab cup of hot coffee, and a sausage biscuit, while still having enough time to drive to the Muhlenberg County farm before daylight. The rain during the night, along with the calm winds, left ideal hunting conditions.

For reasons unknown, I decided to take my .22 rifle at the last minute, which is tough enough anyway, but especially so in the early part of the season with all the green leaves. To make matters worse, the 3 X 9 scope that is usually mounted on this rifle was moved to the .50 caliber, black powder muzzle loader last fall to help short up my aim for deer season. I suppose if I had really wanted a mess of squirrels, I would have taken a shotgun. Sometimes it’s just about the hunting part and the chance to get out in the woods. After all, it was a beautiful morning—even the mosquitoes and gnats weren’t too bad.

The hardwood ridges on the farm are filled with many varieties of trees that attract squirrels, including beeches, black gums, and oaks, but I knew it was the hickory trees that would give me the best chance. The tight barks, pignuts, and scaly barks are usually the first to hold concentrations in the early days. Later on, the oaks bearing acorns take over. With the abundance of nuts this year, it seemed all species of hickory were full.

The squirrels seemed to be scattered, too, with no one area better. While the rain drops falling from the still-wet leaves masked the sound of nut cuttings hitting the forest floor, there was still quite a racket when a squirrel jumped from one limb to another.

The final results were definitely in the squirrel's favor on this day. There will be other days—hopefully when some the green leaves have fallen. And you can bet a scope will be attached to the .22 rifle a on the next trip.

And don’t be fooled; Duck Dynasty's Robertson family isn't the only place fried squirrel can be found. There are still kitchens in this part of Kentucky where you can find platters of fried squirrel, along with milk gravy, fresh-sliced garden tomatoes, and hot biscuits. If you’re looking for a recipe for fried squirrel, I’d be willing to bet that your grandmother, or maybe even your mother, has one.

Sugg Street Post
Written by Nick Short

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West Kentucky Wild: Deer Hunter Support Sought for Charitable Food-Based Ministry

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (8/5/13)—Wanted: West Kentucky deer hunters’ support for the 2013-2014 "Want Not Waste Not" charitable food campaign.

With the 2013-2014 deer season rapidly approaching (archery season kicks it off on September 7th), local deer hunters’ attentions will be turning to preparation for the upcoming season. The excitement begins to build as the days get shorter, nights get a little cooler, and the leaves begin their changing process. Thoughts of harvesting that trophy buck dominate our dreams. Though the 2013 Kentucky Statewide deer tag allows a hunter to take two deer—one antlered and one antlerless—seldom is that second tag ever used. However, the “Want Not Waste Not" ministry hopes to change that.

Having heard somewhat about the program, I wanted to find out more. So this past Saturday, August 3rd, between weeding flower gardens and the PBS 7pm showing of "Elvis from Hawaii,” my better half and I headed to the Ballard Convention Center in Madisonville, KY for a sportsman's bash.

We browsed the many different vendors displaying their wares and services. I enjoyed eating a bagged taco from the Hope2All concession stand. I have to say, those ladies are really good salespeople.

We eventually cornered Chad Browning, founder of "Want Not Waste Not.” Chad was more than happy to talk about this program.

He explained how he and his wife, Tonita, were driving down one of the Peabody coal roads during the opening weekend of the 2011 season and came upon three abandoned camp sites that contained a total of seven complete deer carcasses. As an ethical hunter, this was very disturbing to Chad. To make matters worse, Hope2All community food bank was asking for people to donate any processed deer at the time. This was the birth of the "Want Not Waste Not" ministry God called upon the Brownings to create.

During the 2012 season alone, a total of 61 deer were donated. However, Chad anticipates collecting 150 or more this year.


“By partnering with Hope2All to distribute the processed deer, we can concentrate on collection and raising funds as it takes $60 for each deer processed,” said Chad. “The final product is ground venison mixed with beef fat in two pound bags.”

Want to donate a deer to this worthwhile cause? If so, read up on the following guidelines:

1. Your deer must be field dressed. If the current temperature is 50+ degrees, add a couple of bags of ice to the chest cavity if possible.

2. You must use your tag. Call the tele-check line at 1-800-245-4263 and get your confirmation number before you call.

3. Call Chad Browning at (270) 635-0544. Be prepared to give your name, phone number, area/location, and your confirmation number. Leave a message if necessary.

4. The WNWN ministry also offers deer donation pick up services that cover both Hopkins and Muhlenberg County. They also accept deer from other counties when possible. Call them at the number listed above and they can direct you to where to take it.

“We are currently working with three processors: Livingston Meats in Hopkinsville, KY; Barnes Processing in Beaver Dam, KY; and Yoder’s Custom Meats in Sebree, KY,” says Chad. “They will accept the deer without any issue. Just tell them it’s a donation for the ‘Want Not Waste Not’ program.”

Not a hunter, but still want to show your support of this charitable minsitry? Tax deductible donations are also accepted. In fact, a gift of $60.00 takes the deer from the forest to the dinner table of a local family in need.

Make all checks payable to the following address:

Hope2All
200 North Main Street
Nortonville, KY 42442

If you would like to volunteer your time or donate a deer, please call (270) 635-0544.

To learn more about the WNWN ministry or Hope2ALL, please visit this link: http://www.hope2all.com/. You can also find the WNWN ministry on Facebook by clicking here: https://www.facebook.com/WantNotWasteNot.

Additional photos from the outdoors festival held at the Ballard Convention Center in Madisonville, KY this past weekend are attached below.

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A former Kentucky State BASS Federation Champ and longtime outdoorsman, Nick Short has spent over five decades learning the ins and outs of the hunting and fishing world. From coon-hunting as a youth, to hanging with fishing pros as an adult, Nick knows a thing or two about how it’s done outdoors. Want to know his secrets? Check out his latest installment of “West Kentucky Wild.”

To read other “West Kentucky Wild” installments, visit Nick’s Sugg Street Post blog page by clicking here: http://www.suggstreetpost.com/index.php/outdoors-west-kentucky-wild

Sugg Street Post
Written by Nick Short
Photos by Nick Short/Want Not Waste Not

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West Kentucky Wild: Cold Water Bass

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (1/22/13)—A former Kentucky State BASS Federation Champ and longtime outdoorsman, Nick Short has spent over five decades learning the ins and outs of the hunting and fishing world. From coon-hunting as a youth, to hanging with fishing pros as an adult, Nick knows a thing or two about how it’s done outdoors. Want to know his secrets? Check out his latest installment of “West Kentucky Wild.”

Let’s face it, all that new fishing gear you got for Christmas is just sitting there waiting—and it’s driving you crazy! You’re fired up and ready to go, only there’s a couple problems. For one, it’s colder than heck, and there’s even a thin film of ice in some places on your favorite lake. That brings out the second problem: water temperatures stuck in the low 40’s.

Though I can’t help much in the way of fixing either one, I can tell you that the fish will bite if you can get around that whole “ice thing.”

What to Throw?

1.) Rubber-Skirted Bass Jigs

As far as color, stick with black, brown, or a black and blue combo. Start with a ¼ ounce weight and go as high as a ½ ounce. An old-school #11 Uncle Josh “Pork Frog” will complete this big fish killer. Fish it slow, then even slower; make sure to keep it touching the bottom. Strikes will range from a “mushy” feeling to a distinctive thump. If you think you got a bite, a “jerk” style hook set is free.

2.) Suspending Minnow Jerk Baits (Long, slender minnow imitators)

The choices are endless as practically every lure manufacturer makes one. Prices will vary from relatively reasonable to $20 or more per lure. Some good, affordable choices include Smithwick’s “Rogue,” Strike King’s “Wild Shiner,” or any models by Luck “E” Strike. Those that are four to five inches in length seem to work best, and they perform at their peak in deeper, “clear” water. For these, stick with shad or minnow color.

These lures are not hard to learn about or use. Simply make a long cast (usually with a mono or fluorocarbon line that’s 12lbs or less), crank it five or six turns, let the bait just sit, twitch it a couple times, and repeat the process. Don’t be afraid to vary the length of time you let it sit; in the end, the fish will tell you how long. In colder water, fish will often swipe at this lure while it’s sitting still, so watch your line.

Local angler, Wayne Adams, shows proof that cold water bass will bite! This fish, along with several others, were taken during an outing on January 20th with fellow angler, Daniel Davis. As Daniel noted, most of the damage was done with suspending minnow jerk baits. Daniel also said the bites got better as it warmed up and that he got plenty of experience netting. Thanks for the pics and info.

PHOTO: Local angler, Wayne Adams, shows proof that cold water bass will bite! This fish, along with several others, were taken during an outing on January 20th with fellow angler, Daniel Davis. Most of the damage was done with suspending minnow jerk baits. Daniel said the bites got better as it warmed up, and that he got plenty of experience netting. Thanks for the pics and info, Daniel.

3.) Crank Baits

Grab some Rapala “Shad Raps,” models SR5 or SR7, in crawfish or shad color. These are cold water standards. Additionally, any flat-sided cranks, such as Bomber “Flat A’s” in fire-tiger—or any of the crawfish colors—should also work. With these, smaller to mid-size seems to work best in colder water. Just remember that the water is cold. Slow your retrieve and don’t expect it to get a ton of bites.

FINAL WORD: Dress warm, be extremely cautious, and, if at all possible, take somebody with you. From there, give these lures and techniques a shot—you might just be in for a surprise!

If you need any of the lures mentioned, or any others, go see Barbara Wiles of Winding Creek Bait & Tackle at 1635 Eastview Dr. in Madisonville (270-825-9997) or visit her website by clicking here. And remember, if she doesn’t have it, she will get it for you!

Sugg Street Post
Written by Nick Short
Column logo/photo by Jeff Harp

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