First, I scout and hunt off trail on public lands in the incredible Big Bend region of Florida's Gulf Coast. This area during a typical summer is wet, hot, with overgrown thickets, few trails, interspersed with hammocks, surrounded by lowlands, swamps, sloughs, etc.
This environment is best suited to mosquitoes, ticks, snakes, alligators and wild hogs. During the hot and humid summer only a few of us that may be lacking in common sense, in between visits from girlfriends, without wives or wishing we were, those that appreciate the challenge and punishment, and/or simply enjoy the wonder and freedom that Teddy Roosevelt, Aldo Leopold, Boone, and others knew and cherished, or some combination of, venture to scout for the upcoming hunting seasons.
My gear suggestions may not in themselves make you a more successful hunter but they will make you a safer, more comfortable hunter.
I will start with transportation. On public lands it comes down to feet or bikes. I found a nice mountain bike at a pawn shop that works well. Since taking this photo I added some ATV type gun holders.
Snake boots may be the most important. Over the last couple years I wore out a pair of Rocky snake boots. They were good enough for me to recommend them. I came close to stepping on a venomous snake a number of times , but I was not bitten, so I can not vouch for them being fang proof. The materials do inspire confidence though and made me believe they were "snake proof".
Comfortable, lightweight, good soles, waterproof...for a while.
They eventually were not waterproof anymore, but all other components held up well.
My prefered pre-season scouting knife has the following qualities:
It has all the qualities above and is an absolute pleasure to use. This knife is not for wimps, it is more machete than knife but thanks to it's dimensions and weight it can be used for long periods of time without fatigue.
What about the cost?!?!:
A buddy once said, "you can't put a price on love". I think we all have to prioritize what is important and its far better to purchase high quality gear that will serve you for the long haul than what passes for gear today.
I bought my first rifle when I was 16, it was a used pre-64, Winchester Model 94, in 30-30, for $55., and because it is a great, simple, well designed, utilitarian, high quality and versatile rifle, I will always have it.
The Esee Junglas is that kind of tool, if you buy one, I expect you will enjoy, appreciate and keep it.
Let me know what you think!
Well, it is that time of year, getting hot, mosquitoes, ticks, snakes, gators, etc....did I mention hot?
Keep in mind this is public lands, not easy access, lots of walking, often wet, always hot this time of year with an abundance of blood sucking insects and a few other creatures that will bite you if you give them that opportunity. Have I mentioned before that I don't like venomous snakes and alligators much?
The main goals:
>Set a couple game cameras, see whats out there and how the deer and hogs are developing.
>Scout favorite areas but also find new areas that look promising.
>Locate trees suitable for ambushing deer and hogs from climbing tree stands during archery and rifle seasons.
The oak hammock above is a small hammock that I found about a mile off trail. It has the elements I'm looking for:
>A nice amount of oaks (acorns in the Fall).
>It is not too large, maybe 2 or 3 acres or so. I prefer the smaller hammocks as the deer and hogs will often provide me a shot if I set up in the right place.
>Backs up to a swamp on one side, providing an edge.
>Open areas with low vegetation for good visibility and shot corridors.
>A good climbing tree or two.
>Can be approached from down wind when the wind is from the North, NW, NE.
In an upcoming post, I'll discuss the scouting gear I think is essential.