5 Ways to Get Her to Hunt: From a girl who loves hunting

5 Ways to Get Her to Hunt

From a girl who loves hunting

By: Molly Keefe

EvoOutdoors Team Member & Fit Huntress 

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It’s no surprise that the hunting industry is male dominated, BUT there are some awesome ladies making their way in and becoming great role models for young women and girls!  This is written for anyone looking for ways to share the hunting lifestyle with the special girl in your life, and keep her coming back!

I was raised in a hunting family, my Dad has a passion for upland bird hunting, shooting trap, and he enjoys deer hunting.  I was lucky enough to have such a strong male role model who encouraged me to come along but never made it feel like I was pressured to do something I wasn’t interested in.  I found my love of the outdoors was not just hunting, it was being out in the woods during the most beautiful time of the year, it was watching our dogs look for birds, and making memories with my Dad that I will never forget. He planted the seed  and has been able to watch it grow into a lifestyle with my own family!  I married an outdoorsman and we now have a two year old daughter we already have tagging along with us.

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  • Take her along: Yes, she’s a girl! But girls don’t always want to stay home, girls love adventure too!  Teach her that hunting isn’t all about harvesting an animal,  teach her how to check trail cameras, how to track the movement of deer, where to put food plots and mineral stations.  Let her help you!  Show her how to put up a deer stand, with teaching her how to do things you give her the tools and confidence to hunt on her own someday. Maybe she’s not old enough to hunt yet?  Take her with you anyway!  Guess what she gets the thrill of seeing?  Watching YOU, her role model call some ducks into your spread, or watching a doe and a fawn eating acorns 20 yds away, maybe it’s sitting on a mountain side while the sun rises.
  • Whatever it is that you do, she gets to be with you.

  • Make her comfortable: The thing about being a female in the woods, going to the bathroom is awkward, cold, and uncomfortable.  Let her know where she could relieve herself, there’s not much worse than sitting in a cold deer stand, shivering…and feeling like your bladder is going to explode at any minute!  You don’t need to hold her hand but simply letting her know a private spot close by will do it.  If it’s cold out, bring extra hand warmers, gloves, a blanket, or extra snacks. Things that you usually don’t think of because maybe you’re used to the cold! And those snacks?  Bring out some homemade deer or goose jerky!  And while she huddles under her blanket you can whisper to her how you shot that deer right out of this very stand!
  • The best thing you can do is make a positive memory, and she will want to come back again!

  • Set her up for success: By success I don’t mean make sure she harvests an animal her first time out.  There’s a process that starts WAY before hunting!  Let’s say she’s never shot a shotgun before, start her out with something small like a 20 gauge.  Make sure you teach her how to take it apart, put it back together, load and unload it, and how to properly mount it.  Don’t give her a 50lb bow and expect her to pull it back.  Start her out with a low draw weight and teach her how to work her way up!  Show her the proper form and share the excitement with her when she’s able to shoot 20 yds accurately!
  • Everything goes back to the basics, always encourage her.  If she misses don’t tease her, watch her next shot and see if she needs help with her form.  

  • Share your pride!: Brag. Her. UP! I mean it! I’m 26 and when my Dad tells our hunting stories to others and talks about that perfect shot, or watching the Northern Lights after I harvested a deer. I see the pride in his face, and my heart just SOARS! Tell anyone who will listen how proud you are! How amazing she is and how she caught the biggest fish that day!  Or how she sat for 8 hours in -15 degrees and didn’t complain, she’s a tough girl.  That right there, will make your girl feel amazing.  
  • Be the example: You can’t expect her to just go out and start shooting a shotgun by herself. Or be able to shoot a tight group of arrows picking up her bow one time.  You are the example she needs to see!  Practice together, because it’s not just the practicing she will remember…it’s spending time with you.  And when she beats you because she will celebrate!  
  • You just found a lifelong hunting buddy.

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Molly Keefe hails from Minnesota where she loves the outdoors, fitness, hunting for grouse, ducks, geese, pheasant, turkeys and deer. Especially bowhunting. She is a huge animal lover and has a hobby far with a lot of animals.

 

Food Plots 101: An Introduction to Creating a Healthy Food Source for Your Deer

Food Plots 101: An Introduction to Creating a Healthy Food Source for Your Deer

By: Lyle Gibbs

EvoOutdoors Team Member

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Something that draws a lot of attention in the hunting world, especially in whitetail country, is food plots. You know those times as you are driving home right at sunset or on your way to work early in the morning and your headlights cross the corner of that field and all you see is sets of eyes look up at you? In this post I will walk you through some simple steps to help you better understand the science of food plots and what it takes to produce a healthy, quality stand that your deer and other wildlife will enjoy.

To begin, let’s start with site selection. This is probably one of the harder parts of creating a good food plot. A lot of times you are limited to an area between groves of trees or a small corner of a production field or maybe even in that back of your pasture at home. These locations can work great and be easy to get to but a lot of times you run into issues like poor drainage, lack of air movement (hard frost), or maybe a rock bar from an old stream. If possible, choose the best location possible by looking up your county soil maps, each soil type will be defined by a number or number and letter combination. These numbers will then be placed on a key that will have the name of the soil type and a description of what they are. For instance, a common soil type around here is 98 Waldo, a silty clay loam. A lot of times this is found in lower spots in fields, that are poorly drained, where the river or creek may wash out in the winter time and leave silt deposits when the water regresses back.

One of the biggest controlling agents for a healthy stand is soil pH and soil nutrients. This can be checked with a standard soil test than can be submitted to your local farm store, fertilizer/chemical dealer, or by checking online for a lab near you. The sample is usually pulled in a profile of 0-8 inches deep throughout multiple spots in the field. Let’s say you have a half acre you are looking to plant I would pull 3 or 4 samples and place them all in a clean bucket and mix them together. This sample can then be placed in a bag (usually provided by the lab) and sent in for testing. If possible I would have them send the results and a recommendation for lime requirements. For example, if your soil pH level comes back as a 5.8 and your crop requires a 6.5 you may need to spread 2 tons of lime to the acre (these numbers are just an example). These tests will normally give you levels for Phosphorus and Potassium as well. Besides Nitrogen, these two nutrients play a key role in overall crop establishment, health, and recovery. The lab should be able to inform you on what levels are adequate for your area.

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This is a soil type map, showing where the soil changes and what the description is of the type. Can be found online at http://websoilsurvey.sc.egov.usda.gov/App/HomePage.htm

Once you have established a location and built up your soil nutrient levels it is time to choose a crop. I like something with variety. A legume blend is a good option, high protein, quick recovery from grazing, low impute, heat and cold tolerant, and easy to maintain. A nice blend may contain alfalfa which we know deer love, a clover that will germinate and grow fast, another legume like birdsfoot trefoil that will fill in slowly but leave you a very hardy stand, and also something like chicory which will give you big leaves with lots of forage material. With these crops you are able to use selective products for grass control which leave you with only the forage crops that you want. A lot of times these aggressive growing legume crops will need to be mown off (not too short) throughout the year to prevent them from going to seed and maintain vigorous healthy new growth. Another added benefit of these legume crops is their ability to fixate nitrogen on their own which means less fertilizer requirements from you.

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A basic soil sample is shown here. As you can see there is about 6-8 inches of a soil profile on the shovel.

I will list the steps below of how the preparation is can be done to establish a healthy food plot.

  • Site Selection
    1. Choose the best soil you can.
    2. Measure to know the size of area.
    3. Soil sample.
  • Chemical Burndown
    1. Glyphosate products.
    2. Remove any grass or weeds growing.
  • Field Prep.
    1. Plow or disk under dead plant material.
  • Soil Amendments
    1. Lime to desired pH
    2. Fertilize to adequate P and K levels.
  • Planting
    1. Choose desired planting blend.
    2. Broadcast seed (after risk of frost).
    3. Drag/work seed into soil.
  • Fertilize
    1. After germination.
    2. Legumes (use low nitrogen blend ex. 6-24-24).
  • Herbicides
    1. Use a selective herbicide for grass control.
    2. Addition of an adjuvant may be beneficial.
    3. Always read the label before using any chemicals.
  • Maintenance
    1. Mowing may be necessary throughout late spring and summer.
  • Enjoy watching your wildlife and prepare for hunting season!

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There are many benefits to having a food plot in your hunting area. Giving deer a variety of food to choose from besides what nature provides will naturally attract deer to the area. Having a food plot with multiple crops in it will give them even more reason to come back throughout the entire year as different crops are available. Alfalfa, clover, and chicory all provide high levels of protein and nutrients to help promote not only antler growth but also overall herd health which in turn will lead to better breeding success, healthier fawns with quality milk production from the does, and most importantly you are being a steward of the land and doing your part in creating habitat for the wildlife in your area.

Please keep in mind that these are only general guidelines to help you get started and that every location is different than the others. Do your homework to create the best habitat possible with minimal disturbance to the natural landscape. There are always local agronomists and biologists willing to help as well so don’t be afraid to contact them with any questions that you have.

-Lyle Gibbs-

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I was born, raised, and reside in the Willamette Valley of Western Oregon. I grew up in the outdoors learning to hunt and fish with my dad, camping with my family, and always looking for the next adventure in life. I learned early in life that the outdoors can provide something that is overlooked by most but found by those who share the passion, it truly provides memories that last a lifetime.

 

Venison Crock Pot Lasagna

Venison Crock Pot Lasagna

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 If your a guy like me who can bring the wild game to the table but can’t cook it…Then a crock pot is what you need! It’s so simple, follow directions, turn it on and forget it. The meals taste great and there always hot. It’s the perfect way to end a long day sitting in the woods. This recipe for venison crock pot lasagna is one of my favorite meals!
Ingredients:
1.5lbs of ground venison
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
un cooked lasagna noodles
small container of cottage cheese
1 egg
1 bag of 16oz mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
small onion
garlic
Step 1: Brown venison with onion and garlic. Mix the sauce with browned meat.
Step 2: In a bowl mix cottage cheese with one egg.
Step 3: Mix mozzarella cheese and Parmesan in a separate bowl and keep on hand.
Step 4: Place small among of sauce on the bottom of crock pot, then start layering uncooked noodles,cottage cheese mixture, then sauce then mozzarella cheese. Keep layering like this til crock pot is full.
Cook on low for 2-3 hours. ENJOY!
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“To me taking someone out and getting them into what I love doing is just as rewarding as if I were to hammer a big buck, turkey or catch a huge fish. The smiles make it all worth it.” -Ryan Van Lew

Introduction to Competitive Shooting

Introduction to Competitive Shooting

By: Morgan Garcia

EvoOutdoors Team Member

Armed Rogue

IMG_0356Years ago my husband and I wanted to get into competitive shooting, we just didn’t know how. We had heard of a 3 Gun match and thought that was really the only type of competition we could get into. Unfortunately we didn’t have the funds to get another shot gun and another rifle in addition to the ones we already had so that we could both get involved at each competition. Not to mention all of the ammo that we needed for each weapon.

We searched on Google but came up short. For some reason there didn’t seem to be any information that we could find about how to get into competitive shooting in general, 3 Gun or otherwise. We got discouraged and decided to forget about it.

Years passed, but the desire to shoot competitively was still strong.

One day I jumped back onto Google and tried searching again. I found a lot of information on competitive shooting, but nothing on how to get started, where to go for matches, etc.

After a while of frustrated searching, I decided to look locally. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before!

I came across a local shooting league called, Alpha Mike Shooters. I sent Mike an email and gave him my phone number, expressing my interest in wanting to get involved in competitive shooting and asking if he could speak with me. I didn’t have high hopes, but to my surprise, bright and early at 7 AM the next day he called me and we had a great chat about how to get involved. He was so inspiring, passionate and generally very excited about getting me involved. You could really tell that he loved competitive shooting and loved to get new people involved.

He encouraged us to go to a match that was happening that very weekend. He said over and over, “Do not come to watch, it’s boring, come to shoot!”

I was scared. I had wanted to get into it for a long while now, but it was all suddenly happening so fast!

But, there’s no time like the present. We went that very Sunday and shot the entire match. It was a huge eye opener to the whole sport. It was very laid back and everyone was so nice and encouraging and helpful. It was surprising, actually.

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Gun owners are generally nice, but wow, these people were extremely welcoming.

The overall match was such a thrill! There were some people that had been to dozens, even hundreds of matches  and they were SO FAST! But it wasn’t intimidating, in fact, it was like watching what we could become if we continued with competition shooting; it was encouraging.

Alpha Mike had warned me that I would come in dead last. And he was right. I came in dead last, my husband was one peg above me. But it was expected. There were a lot of professionals there. We went to learn and experience. And at the end of it, we were hooked and ready to keep competing with different organizations and at different ranges. And that’s exactly what I’ve done.

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Here are a few tips if you want to get involved in competitive shooting:

Always look locally. I made the mistake of looking nationally/too broadly, but the matches that you’re going to go to in the beginning, will be matches in your region. Many of our local shooting ranges advertised that they had shooting competitions, but sometimes they didn’t and sometimes you had to call and talk to someone. Sometimes you just learned about them through other shooters. But search locally, ask around and find out where people go to shoot competitions locally.

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  1. Don’t be afraid! As I said in my story, there were a lot of professional shooters there, way faster, better gear, had been doing it for years, some of them were sponsored, etc, etc. But you have to start somewhere. Nobody will judge you. In fact, everyone is there to help you. Ignore the professionals and focus on your own pace.
  2. Take heed of safety. Safety is obviously important when operating a firearm, but it is crucial in shooting competitions. There are people hanging out all over the range directly behind you, so you want to be as safe as possible and make sure you pay attention to the safety rules that you are given. You will be disqualified if you don’t follow the safety rules. I know that sounds intimidating, but don’t worry, just focus on paying attention to the safety rules and then implementing those safety rules as you run each stage, and you’ll be just fine.
  3. If you can pick up brass, then pick up brass. If you can’t, then don’t. You’ll notice right away if you can pick up your brass or not by noticing if the other shooters pick up their brass. Feel free to ask if you can pick up brass, but I’ve noticed that only a couple ranges will let you pick up brass during a competition. It’s usually because it’s time consuming and they want to just get through the stage as quickly as possible.
  4. Listen. The range officer is there to help keep everyone safe, as well as to help keep the stage moving along without incident. Listen to the RO, pay attention and ask questions if you don’t understand. If you’re struggling, the range officer, or whoever is timing you, might whisper in your ear as you’re shooting to do something specific; listen to them. Everyone is there to help.
  5. Take it slow. There might be others there that are faster than you, but your goal starting off shouldn’t be speed, it should be accuracy. Get your accuracy down and slowly increase your speed. Take your time, focus and make sure that you’re getting the shots you want. I came in last with my very first competition, but ever since then, I’ve climbed the latter because I’ve steadily increased my speed, along with my accuracy.
  6. Get the proper gear. I’m not talking about the most expensive gear, or the most ‘cool’ gear, I’m talking about the proper gear. Most competitions require an outside the waistband holster and at least 3 magazines. Depending on how many rounds the magazines for your gun holds, will determine what class you’re in. But, regardless, get at least 3 magazines, as well as a magazine holder that can hold 2 magazines. Two magazines in the holder and 1 in the gun is how it works. Make sure you have appropriate clothing, as well. Close toed shoes, eye protection, ear protection, etc.
  7. Make sure you have ammo! I usually have about 200 rounds of ammo with me when I go to a competition. Even if they say you only need 100-150…bring more. While there may only be, let’s say, 10 targets per stage and you only need to shoot each target twice, you may miss a target and will need to empty an entire magazine just to hit the target. It happens! So bring extra ammo.
  8. Speaking of ammo, get the MagLuLa Magazine loader and thank me later! You have to reload all of your magazines after you’re done with each stage. Do you know how tough that is on your thumbs?! I do! Cause I did at our first competition. It was miserable. Get the loader that is appropriate for your magazines/caliber. Just do it. Trust me.UpLula1-456x456
  9. Iff you shoot .22, make sure you find out if the match that you’re going to, allows .22. The minimum caliber that you can be sure will be accepted at any match, is 9mm. But there are lots and lots of matches that allow .22. Most calibers are generally accepted, it just depends on the type of match. Ask ahead of time to be sure.
  10. During a stage there may be a tough target that you’re just not hitting, move on! It’s okay to move on, especially when you’re just starting out. If it’s a target that you just cannot hit for whatever reason, then just move on, instead of wasting a bunch of ammo. You’ll get a miss, but in my opinion, it’s better than wasting time, as well as ammo. Many shooters will agree.
  11. Pay attention to what type of match you’re doing. Is it USPSA? IDPA? NSSA-NSCA? Other? Shooting all these different types of competitions is a lot of fun and highly encouraged. However, every type of competition will have different rules, so make sure that you understand what you’re walking into first. Ask questions before you get there and ask questions when you are there. Don’t worry, you’re not bothering anyone. Ask questions.
  12. You don’t have to go to every match. You may feel as if you have to go to every match, but that’s not true. You can come and go as you please. Go to one match a month, or all of them! It’s completely up to you.
  13. As Alpha Mike said to me, don’t go to watch! It is incredibly boring watching matches. If you want to get involved, then just go ready to shoot! You won’t learn anything by just watching. Trust me, you have to get in there and experience it and maybe even fail (or succeed!), to get the full picture.
  14. HAVE FUN! The most important thing is to relax and have fun. Shooting in competitions is incredibly exhilarating and you will be addicted. It can be easy to get caught up in wanting to get sponsored, etc. But just have fun for a while, maybe you’ll discover that you just want to do it for fun instead of as a profession. But no matter your goal, don’t forget to enjoy it.

The world of competitive shooting is vast. Get involved and have fun!

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Morgan and Becca from Sure Shots San Antonio. Sure Shots is a women’s pistol league which provides a safe, enjoyable and educational environment for ladies of all ages and experience levels to learn and grow their shooting skills for recreational, competitive or defensive shooting. Aside from shooting competitions, Morgan enjoys 3-D archery shoots, hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, prepping for disasters and emergencies, training for a 5/10K or just enjoying all that the Texas outdoors has to offer.

5 Ways To Get Outdoors This Spring

5 Ways To Get Outdoors This Spring

by Andrea Haas

Team member EvoOutdoors/Huntress View

Spring is near and soon the weather will be warming up, flowers will be blooming and everything will be turning green. Why not get out of the house and enjoy the great outdoors? Here’s a list of 5 fun outdoor activities to try this spring!

  • Geo-caching

Geo-caching is hunting for and finding a hidden object by means of GPS coordinates posted on a website. You will need to go to www.geocaching.com and register for a free membership, enter your zip code to search for geocaches in your area, and then enter the coordinates of the geocache into your GPS device. Basically, geocaching is a real world outdoor treasure hunting game! Not only would it be fun to try and find each hidden geocache, you will get to enjoy the different scenery along the way to the different locations!

  • Morel Mushroom Hunting

DSC_0016_copy2Morel mushrooms usually start to pop up around April, when the temperature starts to stay in the 60’s. Not only are they fun to look for, they taste amazing! Trust me, they are worth searching for.

South facing slopes will get more sun and that’s where you will probably find the first ones. I had the best luck finding them under oak trees on my property last year, but they also tend to grow under Elm, Ash and Poplar trees. Searching for them on a muggy day after a rain shower will probably be your best bet. Once you find one, keep looking around that area, as you will likely find more close by! Once you get home soak them in water for a couple of hours to rinse out any bugs and then they’re ready to eat!

Here is how I made mine: (link for recipe, or feel free to post the recipe in this blog) http://huntressview.blogspot.com/2015/04/fried-morel-mushrooms-recipe.html

  • Photography

Learning your way around a digital camera can be tricky, but you don’t have to be a professional photographer to enjoy taking pictures. I feel one of the best ways to learn is to just get outside and do it! I have had a digital camera for a few years but have never tried to use it outside of auto mode until about a month ago. Taking pictures of wildlife has proven to be a great way for me to learn and spring is a great time of year to do just that!

I started by getting my camera off of auto and taking multiple pictures of the same object, but changing the settings as I go. This helped me identify the effect that each setting change had on each photo.  After that, I tried photographing wildlife. I noticed there had been a lot of ducks on our pond so I set up a ground blind on the pond bank and got in it the following weekend before the ducks arrived at sunrise. I was surprised that they paid no attention to me and I actually got some decent photos for my first try off of auto!

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  • Remote Photography

11150154_1072240759459432_4198246813710117181_nIf you’d like to get unique photos of wildlife but don’t want to take the pictures yourself, I recommend my personal favorite outdoor hobby, trail camming, aka remote photography.  Trail cameras are mostly used by hunters to scout for wildlife during hunting season but you don’t have to be a hunter to enjoy using them! Some of my favorite trail camera pictures are from spring and summer when there’s not even a hunting season open.

I__00034If you have private property, try finding a unique spot to hang a camera and see what shows up! You’ll be surprised at the variety of wildlife that you’ll get on camera that you never even knew were there!

  • Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP)

To paddle board you stand on the board, which looks similar to a surf board, with a paddle in hand and use the paddle to propel yourself forward on the water. This can be done on the ocean, lake or river and is an excellent full body workout!

Some places will rent you the equipment that you’ll need, that way you won’t have to go out and buy it all yourself. If you do choose to buy the equipment, here’s what you will need:

-Stand up paddle board

-Paddle

-Life jacket or personal flotation device

-Leash (It attaches your SUP to you, in case you fall off)

Although I have yet to try paddle boarding for myself, it is something that I plan on trying this year! I’ve heard from people who have tried it that since you are standing at your full height on the paddle board you get a better view of the surroundings than if you were sitting in a boat, and you are able to see the fish swimming below you!

My friend Samantha Andrews shared this photo with me on her SUP

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Spring is a great time to get outside and try something new. Whether you live in the country or in the city, you should be able to find somewhere close to you to try at least one of these outdoor activities!

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“During the months leading up to hunting season I can be found on our tractor plowing and disking our fields, planting food plots, scouting for deer sign, hanging tree stands and checking trail cams. By being a part of this preparation process I have a deeper appreciation for hunting and more respect for the animals that I harvest.” -Andrea Haas

 

9 Tips to Keep Your Hunting Dog ‘On Point’

 9 Tips to Keep Your Hunting Dog ‘On Point’

Sarah Gaffney

EvoOutdoors Team Member

lab 1 Even though hunting season is over, your hunting dog needs consistent work to stay in shape for next season. Without work during the off-season, your dog will become out of shape and likely forget many of the lessons it learned during last season. A year-round conditioning program offers the obvious benefits of making your dog more productive during the hunting season but it also provides for an overall healthier dog too. Healthy physical condition will likely mean a longer, more comfortable life for your hunting companion.

Williams 1Sloan and Samantha Williams of S&S Outdoors have a passion for the outdoors that developed at an early age. Hunting dogs have been a part of their lives since the day they were born. They were raised by a dad that loved to hunt and a mom that loved dogs which promoted a lifestyle that is often not enjoyed by girls. Sloan and Samantha have proven to be exceptions.  To them, it made sense to combine both of the family’s passions into a career that they not only excelled at, but love.

The sister’s share, “A dog that stays in shape throughout the summer will hunt harder and last longer in the fall.”

The Williams’ sisters use this time to also keep their retriever’s hunting skills sharp through regular training. Therefore, killing two birds with one stone [pun intended].

Arguably, nothing is more important than keeping your dog in top physical condition. There’s no better way to keep any breed of hunting dog in good shape than daily exercise. Whether you throw a ball, a stick, or a bumper—get your dog on their feet and moving. Here are some tips given by the Williams’ sisters that will ensure you and your companion a long and healthy hunting season.

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  1. Your dog may not admit when their tired, so be careful not to overdo it. Keep an eye on them and know your dogs limits. Short fun training sessions are just as important; remember your dog misses hunting season just as much as you do—so keep training enjoyable.
  2. Labs and other retrievers are built to swim. Swimming is extremely gentle on dog’s joints and provides a full-body workout in a shorter amount of time.
  3. Simply exposing your dog in the off-season to the scent of birds. This is especially important for puppies and young dogs with little experience on live birds.
  4. Keep challenging your dog, but also add some fun simple days in the mix. If you noticed something your dog wasn’t as strong with, work on improving that area. You will get out of your dog what you put into them!!
  5. DIET- You want to make sure you are feeding your dog high quality food to help them perform to the best of their abilities. A higher protein food will help keep the “good” fat on your dog that they need!
  6. OBEDIENCE- You want to make sure your dog is going to follow your every command. This is a great tool to keep your dog safe and out of harm’s way!
  7. HUNTING SCENARIOS- You want to make sure you set up some hunting scenarios to prepare your dog for the season. (gun shots, decoys, birds, water- whatever type of hunting conditions you will be in)!FB_IMG_1456538752968 (1)
  8. FIGURE- Your dog needs to be in good shape. You don’t want them under weight or over weight. Either way you are putting their health and well being at risk. Your first priority should always be doing what’s best for your hunting companion!!
  9. Always make sure to keep a good eye on your dog – their safety comes before everything else! When training or hunting make sure they don’t get over heated, too cold, or worn down! Your dog can be the best hunting partner of your lifetime if you give them the right skill set to do so!

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Sloan and Samantha of S&S Outdoors combined their love for hunting and the outdoors with their love for dogs. Based in Mooresville, North Carolina, S&S Outdoors offers retriever and gun dog training, upland training, HRC Event training, obedience, boarding, puppy socialization as well as Labrador Retriever breeding. The award winning sisters are some of the best dog trainers in the area and are eager to meet your pup and get them ready for the hunt. For more information contact info@sandsoutdoors.com  or call (704)577-2511

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Sarah was born and raised in South Eastern Pennsylvania where she followed the footsteps of her father pursuing all the game the land has to offer. Her passion ranges from coon-hunting to trapping as well as hunting whitetails. As with family traditions Sarah has embraced the outdoor lifestyle. She is an avid hunter whose focus is her hunting dogs. Sarah raises, trains and hunts Redbone Coonhounds and Black Labrador Retrievers.

Life Is A Garden: Do you dig it?

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Life Is A Garden: Do you dig it?

By Sarah Fromenthal

EvoOutdoors Team Member

So you’ve gone out and harvested yourself some wild game. What pairs well with the fresh, “free” food you just harvested? That’s right…. fresh, “free” vegetables from your own vegetable garden in your back yard! What could be better than a meal prepared by yourself, from items you harvested yourself?
Growing up, I had the benefit of watching my parents and grandparents, year after year, grow a fairly large, successful garden. When it came time to do mine own, I began to do my research and realized there is a lot more to it than just throwing seeds into dirt.

A backyard garden can be the most rewarding or the most painful process, depending on the amount of effort and forethought put into it.

It takes the realization that gardening is more of a long term process than a weekend project to be successful. I compiled a list of a few things you may want to research on your own before starting your first garden.
What are you planting? This part should be fairly simple right?

  • First take into consideration what do you like to eat. Think of the recipes you most commonly eat and what fresh produce it takes to prepare that meal. Does your family consume more venison spaghetti than the law allows? Plan on planting some tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, and possibly fresh herbs.
  • If you produce too many, will you have a way to preserve it such as canning, freezing, donate to more than happy to accept neighbors, sell at a local farmers market, etc?
  • Do you plan on getting small plants from a local nursery or starting from seeds? If getting seeds please read the seed packet carefully for planting instructions. Some seeds need to be sewn indoors before being planted outside, while others prefer to be planted directly into the garden.
  • Keep in mind there are hundreds of varieties of the most basic vegetable. Look at your local agricultral publications to find varieties that have proven to work best in your area.
  • Some plants benefit from being grown next to certain plants while others when planted close by will cause problems for each other through disease, bugs, etc. This is called companion planting. Think its just by chance that basil pairs well with tomatoes in many dishes? Nope! Basil is often grown in the garden next to tomatoes. This pairing helps with repelling pests while attracting bees for pollination. In addition, it improves the flavorings of your tomatoes.

Where to plant?

  • What kind of garden do you want to have? Old fashion rows in the dirt, raised bed, vertical gardening, flower pots, etc. I’ve also seen people plant directly into a bag of potting soil.
  • How much of a space are you are willing to sacrifice from your yard? How much do you plan on planting? Are you feeding yourself, your family, or the whole neighborhood? Keep in mind a larger garden is a larger time spent tending to the garden. Also remember bigger plants (tomatoes, eggplants, squash, etc) need more space per plant
  • Take into consideration you will need a spot that gets at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight. Also think about water drainage; you don’t want a spot that water collects in your yard. Most importantly you will need access to a water source near by unless you want to haul pails of water.

Get into your “zone”!

  • What is a zone you ask? The USDA has established a map called the Plant Hardiness zone map.  This map helps to determine minimum temperature ranges of your local area. When choosing your plants, look closely on the plant tag or seed pack and they will often tell you planting schedules based on this or similar zones.
  • Each plant has a specific “growing season” in which they thrive. For example, tomatoes love warm weather and aren’t very cold hardy. Because I live in Louisiana where it warm for most of the year, I have a larger “growing season” for tomatoes compared to my friends further north who may only get warm enough weather for only a few weeks a year. All this information on the plants you chose can be found with very little effort online.
  • Soil types, minerals, and pH vary from place to place. You should send off a sample of your soil to your local Ag center for soil testing. They should be able to tell you what needs to be added to your soil prior to planting. Either amend your soil according to their suggestions or chose plants to fit with your soil type.
  • Warmer areas tend to have a larger bug problem. Have a pesticide plan in your mind. If you are choosing to go a more natural route with pesticides, research more organic options and ideas on companion planting to help reduce the bugs.

Use some common sense:

  •  Don’t “Go Big or Go Home”! Start off small and manageable. It’s easy to get overwhelmed at first and you can always expand next season. Also, you won’t need the fanciest of tools to get started. A simple, rake, spade, trowel, and pruners will get you far.
  • Ask plenty of questions. Online resources are there by the millions (just be sure to look up more area specific information) or go to a local nursery. Use local Ag center publications. They are often free and full on great information. Youtube is also a great tool to see other’s techniques.
  •  Recognize symptoms before they become a major problem and fix it before the problem turns into a disaster. For example, if you see a couple of bugs on your lettuce, look into a way to get rid of them before you come back to a half chewed up plant or they spread to others.
  • Don’t forget some plants require a little extra support from trellises, stakes, cages, etc. Some require special pruning, fertilization, etc. Want free, easy, fertilizer? start your own compost pile from uncooked kitchen scraps. Anything from paper products, uncooked fruits and veggies, the fish you filleted for dinner, shellfish peelings, egg shells, etc. can be collected and made into a compost pile while cutting back on your waste.

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow. -Audrey Hepburn

Now that I’ve given you enough to get you a good starting point to begin your research, I will tell you how I started my garden last spring. I first decided I wanted a raised bed. This would help decrease my weeds, give me good soil drainage when we get our crazy spring monsoons, and I could personally keep better control of my soil type. I simply picked a spot, laid out my timber, and got to work. I first took my shovel and removed the top layer of grass (not a required step but it will definitely cut back on the weeds). I then screwed together my timber and I drove some heavy duty angle iron into the ground and screwed it into my timber for support. The angle iron step is not a necessity, but the weight of the soil can easily cause your boards to bow outwards. I then laid out a layer of flattened card board boxes and news papers as an additional weed barrier before adding my soil. I personally used a 25:75 mix of bagged topsoil and garden soil to promote good drainage and aeration. I also chose to go the “difficult route” and start all my plants from seeds.  Yes, over the course of the growing season, I struggled with bugs and plant disease, but as i previously mentioned, it is important to make these observations early and correct them. After long weeks of drawn out anticipation but very little effort, I began to see my little seeds grow and turn into huge plants which then turned into vegetables that we were able to eat.

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A few things that I learned along the way in my first year:

  • Do not lose your cool when one plant seems not to be growing as hearty as the others, it may just need a little more TLC but will soon catch up with the others.
  • Checking the buds every twenty minutes will not help them grow faster.
  • Bees love the garden. They will pay little to no attention to you working in the garden and are not there to attack. Lizards are also a necessity to keep some of the bugs at bay.
  • I needed stronger stakes for my tomato plants that got carried away and had the tiny metals ones nearly bent in half.
  • Try growing something you’ve never tried before and it’ll force you to get creative with recipes.
  • I just love my garden. Growing and hunting my own food gives me a true appreciation for what I’m putting in my mouth and how it affects the way my body functions compared to junk food.

 

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I was born, raised, and am currently living in Thibodaux LA (about an hour SW of New Orleans). There is nothing I don’t at least attempt to do. Gardening, cooking, kayaking, bow fishing, crafts, hunting, etc. I like to stay constantly busy.

Slow Cooker Venison Burritos

Slow Cooker Venison Burritos

Scott Emerick, EvoOutdoors Team Member

Are you sick of the same old venison recipes you have been cooking for years? Try these delicious and extremely easy venison burritos and I guarantee you wont just cook them once.

This recipe wins no awards for being the fanciest but is by far my family and friends favorite.

scottWhat you will need:

-1.5 – 2 lb boneless venison round

-1 (16 oz) Jar salsa (hot if you like spicy)

-1 (15 oz) Can corn – (drained)

-1 (15 oz) Black beans – (half drained)

-1 (8oz) Package cream cheese (4 oz needed)

-1 Package of your favorite flour tortillas

-1 (8 oz) Package shredded Mexican cheese

Lets get cooking!

  1. Place your venison into the bottom of your slow cooker.
  2. Cover with the jar of salsa, drained can of corn and half drained can of beans.
  3. Set the slow cooker to LOW and cook for 6-7 hours or until the venison pulls apart easily with a fork. It is easiest if you remove the venison from the slow cooker and pull apart on a cutting board. Return the venison to the slow cooker.
  4. Cube 4 oz cream cheese and stir in until melted.

That is it, time to eat!

Place the desired amount on a tortilla, top with shredded cheese, along with sour cream and hot sauce if you prefer and simply enjoy!

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Scott Emerick was born and raised in Michigan. He came from an outdoors family but aside from fishing, they never hunted. “I always was and still currently am the only one out of my family who hunts. I was introduced to hunting from a buddy in college. After a few hunts I was beyond addicted.”

BBQ Shrimp: A Quick Cajun Favorite

BBQ Shrimp: A Quick Cajun Favorite

Sarah Fromenthal, EvoOutdoors Team Member

www.evooutdoors.com

Do you love seafood, spices, butter, and crusty bread and want a quick weeknight meal (approximately 20 minutes total)? Well this is a meal that will quickly grab your heart by the tastebuds! Unlike the name suggests, this is far from your traditional ” BBQ” and requires no grill or BBQ sauce. Also, be warned in advanced that this is a finger food that is NOT meant to be neatly eaten, but instead, it encourages finger licking.

Now the original version that I have indulged in over the years contains an inordinate amount of butter, but I have knocked the butter content down from a pound of butter to under an individual stick of butter. Its also traditionally served with crusty bread to sop up all of the juice, but since we are going healthier I chose to use lightly steamed cauliflower.

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You will need:

  • About one stick of butter (my conscious only allowed me to use about 3/4 of a stick)
  • One can of your favorite beer
  • 1/2 Cup of green onion
  • 1/3 Cup of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp of liquid crab boil (I use Zatarain’s)
  • 1 Tbsp if cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp of red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tsp of hot sauce (I’m partial to Louisiana Hot Sauce)
  • 1 Tbsp of kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp of black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp of dried thyme leaf
  • 1 Sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 6 Cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 whole bay leaves (remove before serving)
  • 1 Lemon
  • Approximately one pound of large shrimp- de-headed but not peeled (the peelings enhance the flavor)
  • Juice sopping option (crusty bread, cauliflower, etc)

Melt the butter on a medium heat in a large saucepan. Once melted, add the beer and allow to simmer until some of the beer begins to evaporate. Once the beer is slightly reduced, add the green onions, garlic, bay leaves, Worcestershire, crab boil, cayenne, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary sprig, and hot sauce.

Roll the whole lemon on the cutting board before cutting in half to release its juices, then squeeze the juice of the halves into the pan then drop in the whole lemon (don’t let the seeds fall in because it will add an unwanted bitterness).

Stir all the ingredients well and let them come to a low boil without allowing it to smoke. If for some reason you think it needs more liquid, add additional beer.

When ready, add the shrimp in but be sure they are laying in one flat layer to ensure they cook evenly. After approximately two minutes depending on size, flip them over and allow that side cook until shrimp is all evenly pink in color but not overcooked. Remove the bay leaves, then pour all this deliciousness into a large plate and serve with your favorite bread (or other option to soak up the juice) with a handful of napkins!

Enjoy!

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Sarah Fromenthal was born and raised in Southern Louisiana and has a strong passion for hunting, fishing, the outdoors and cooking.

 

Going Greek: Venison Gyros

Going Greek: Venison Gyros

Adam Parma, EvoOutdoors ProStaff

Kristin Parma, EvoOutdoors Media

“Gee-ro”

“J-eye-ro”

“Hee-ro”

I still don’t know how to pronounce it however, no matter which pronunciation you decide, the Gyro sandwich has been deemed an American-Greek fast food staple. Served at festivals, carnivals and a select number of Mediterranean restaurants around the United States, the Gyro sandwich is a delicacy that I don’t often get to eat, but absolutely savor when I do.

According to Whats Cooking America the Gyro type of sandwich has been known, and sold on the streets of Greece, the Middle East, and Turkey for hundreds of years. Greek historians believe that the dish originated during Alexander The Great’s time when his soldiers used their knives to skewer meat that they turned over fires. Even today, a proper gyro is made with meat cut off a big cylinder of well-seasoned lamb or beef on a slowly rotating vertical spit called a gyro.

I don’t know about you but I don’t have a slow turning vertical spit in my kitchen. Heck, I barely have a kitchen! If you’re anything like us, you like to think outside the box when it comes to your wild game meat. After all, you worked hard to harvest the animal and what better way to honor your hard work than to experiment with different recipes.

Here is our own take on a venison gyro, or as Adam calls it a “Deer-ro”

Ingredients:

2 lbs venison steak- any cut.

We used a package of deer venison steak at the very bottom of the freezer…you know, that package that is unmarked and questionable. The one that clearly you were either too tired to label during processing or didn’t even know what to call it. Any cut and type of venison meat will do, from deer to exotic game.

Olive oil

Unsalted butter

1 white onion

Salt, pepper, turmeric, paprika, cayenne, garlic and any other spice combinations you may like- oregano and mint would be good!

Pita bread

Feta Cheese

Tzatziki sauce

Typically you can buy tzatziki sauce in your local grocery store. Store bought has a very strong dill flavor and I like mine a little more diluted. Click on the link for an EASY TZATZIKI recipe which you can tweak to satisfy your pallet.

Roma tomato, sliced

Romaine lettuce, shredded

Hot sauce- Because we live in the South y’all

Directions:

1. Thinly slice one white onion and the venison steak.20151130_183658

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3. Using a cast iron skillet, heat and coat pan with olive oil and a tablespoon of butter.  Add. venison and onion mix. Sear venison on both sides, making sure not to overcook but letting a crust form on the edges of the meat (that will give it the true gyro texture!). Add more olive oil/butter as needed. 20151130_1856134. Assemble sandwiches by heating pita bread. Layer tzatziki sauce, meat and onions, lettuce, tomato, feta cheese.

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Add hot sauce for a spicy kick!

5. If you are feeling really creative, wrap your Gyro sandwich in foil for that real street food feeling. Enjoy!

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Kristin and Adam Parma pose for Christmas portraits on their ranch in Adkins, TX.

Adam and Kristin Parma co-own the Czech Out Ranch in Adkins, Texas.