The Smell of Fall: Hunting Season is Here!


Ah, the smell of fall! Leaves falling (not fast enough in the south), squirrel season is open, bow season is open and people are hitting the woods. In a few short weeks, all the leaves will be down, the smell of firewood will drift through the air and then comes the grand-daddy of seasons, Bucks Only gun season.
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Every year, during the early seasons, it is a time to get out with family, scout your areas, sight in your guns and have some real fun, all to get ready for buck season. Of course in the south, that same time is also a great time to fish.

 

This year I was fortunate enough to be allowed to hunt on a piece of land very close to where I live, so I bought a new trail cam and set it out. Every time you check the camera card, it is just like Christmas, because you don’t know what you are going to see walking past your camera. Today I was happy to see some deer, a coyote, raccoon and an armadillo (as you can see in the photos below).

img_3926This past weekend, I decided to go to a wildlife management area and hunt some squirrels, as stated above, the leaves in the south are very reluctant to leave the tree right now, so it made it hard to see the little nut eaters!

I was successful in taking one squirrel, which will taste delicious very soon. But more important it was just a nice stress-free day, with no noise except for the wildlife. Believe me, I need about 364 days of that!

Now that we are full into fall, awaiting the first frost, just being outside allows you to breath better, think better and relax… until the BUCK shows up! The excitement is always swift and never goes away no matter how old you get. A few years ago, I went back home to West Virginia to hunt with my family. The day before season came in, we took a drive and got some great photos of deer. Buck-2One in particular was chasing does in the field across from the house. The next morning we got up to hunt. It was freezing rain and cold. As I sat in my favorite spot before daylight, I noticed my eye was twitching. After a couple hours, it bothered me so much that I decided to go to the house to find out what was wrong. Walking along a path, I looked over this bank into this “holler” and I saw a deer. It turned its head and I saw it was huge, the same buck I saw the day before. So I pulled my gun up and my scope was wet and fogged up. I cleaned it quickly and pulled up again, only to notice the deer was moving and I had the scope set on the highest power. I saw brown fur and pulled the trigger! Dang it, I missed and because I didn’t take the moment (that I didn’t think I had) to readjust the setting! 

Needless to say, I kicked myself all the way to the house to find out I had put my contact lens in backward. So two lessons learned and a 10 point was still running the hills.

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Fortunately, a couple days later, I took a nice nine point
The lesson here is, that at 52 years old, I still get excited, even after harvesting close to 100 deer in my lifetime, each one brings something a little different each hunt. Also, missing is still part of hunting. You will never get every thing you shoot at. I had a guy tell me once, I have taken every deer I have shot at. I told him he needs to keep that to himself, because being cocky and thinking you are a great shot will come back in a big way. And of course it did, he went turkey hunting, had a nice gobbler 15 yards away and missed. I didn’t let him live that down, nor should I!

With all of this being said, the one thing to take from all the jibberish I just wrote, is go out, enjoy the outdoors, make memories with your family and tell tall tales about the one that got away. Next year at this time, I will be back in West Virginia in my old hunting grounds and filling my tags. I sure do look forward to that!

Best of luck this hunting season and I hope that the your aim is steady and your freezer gets filled.

Note: I really like the app called Prisma, turns a normal photo into a work of art. As you can see from some of the photos above.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Milestone! Thank You for Taking the Time


I would like to thank all of my followers and casual readers for allowing me to hit 10,000 views on my blog! stats.alltime

Many things I write about end up in places I never expected them to, like Rednecks Vs. City Folk which ended up in a discussion on a SB Nation College Football forum. Also, my best one day views on July 3, 2014 was an article about Kendall Jones (www.thekendalljones.com) when she was being attacked by anti-hunters Nature is Much More Cruel Than Humans Could Ever Be.

I do not write every day and when I do, it usually has a point to it. As you can probably see, I love writing about guns, food, West Virginia and anything outdoors (with a little politics thrown in), So it is very humbling to see so many people reading what I write and using my articles in conversations.

Thank you all and I will keep writing and I hope everyone has enjoyed the visit into my life, opinions and adventures.

jeff.nichols

 

Jeff Nichols

 

 

 

 

 

Fall is Here!


Fall is here and for me it is the best time of the year. I feel like getting outside more, setting out trail cameras to see what might come by. I do not necessarily have to be hunting at that time because even near the house, it is fun to find out just what might be lurking by. Here are some fall photos to get you in the mood for the cool, crisp air and maybe motivate you to head outdoors to enjoy nature.

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Nothing better than walking down a trail in the early fall.

Fall is a beautiful time of year, the leaves are changing colors and falling and although it seems like everything is dying, there is much more to Fall than that.       

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In the country, you never know when you will see something.

Having a trail cam, less than 50 yards from your home will give you an idea of who comes to visit after dark.

Bucks in the fall lose the velvet from their antlers and prepare for the breeding season.

If you look long and hard enough, you will come across a large buck, like this 10 point.

Here is a schedule for you and your spouse, we all know there are seasons for all of us!

Y’all come back, Ya’hear!

I hope that you enjoyed the photos, now get out and enjoy what nature has provided, it will make you forget all the problems in the fake world!

Quality vs Content

Video


Not always will you have a quality camera to get crisp HD videos or photos. Case in point:
I was fishing a few years ago, and hooked a bass. as I pulled the fish to the bank, I heard something. I looked down below where I had just pulled the fish from the water, and saw this big snake had grabbed this very big frog. I quickly released the fish, and pulled out my cell phone and began to record what was going on. You are only seeing a little over a minute of the action and it was a little late and the struggle went on for over two hours and into the night. So I could not get the whole thing recorded. I even did the editing on Windows Movie Maker.
This is just to make a point that not always will you have everything you need when the need arises. Sometimes you just have to go with it and get the best footage you can. And if you are lucky, you get something like this!

Nature Photography: As Close As Your Back Yard


So, you like nature, you like photography but you don’t have time or money to get out in the wilderness to try and capture the beauty of nature in photos. Well, nature is everywhere, in your garden, around your house and pretty much anywhere you are. The key to photographing nature is to always have your camera ready. It doesn’t have to be an expensive camera, a point and click will work in most cases, but the more you get into it, the more detail you want to capture, might prompt you into investing a little money to buy a better quality camera. Still, the most important part of nature photography is not the quality of camera you are using, but watching out for that right moment to take a photo.

I am not going to go into what kind of camera’s to use, or how much money you should spend, that is up to the individual. Instead, I am going to tell you what to look for around your home so that you can get some really cool photos.

I live on 1.5 acres of land in a rural area, so it gives me the opportunity to have room to be able to walk around and look for nature close by. Take for instance, your garden. There is no better place on earth to take photos of some of the most colorful and raw nature there is. From the garden spider to the tomato worm, you can get breathtaking beauty as well as raw nature by setting up in your garden and taking photos.

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The garden spider will put a web between plants and catch insects that are harmful to your garden for food, so it is a win-win for everyone.

Sometimes you need to catch an insect and throw in the web to get some action when you want it, but when you do, make sure you are ready, because it happens fast!

The tomato worm on the other hand, eats your tomato plants, but the color and beauty of this insect will amaze you and you will find yourself snapping photos instead of worrying about your plants. Image

If you have a large yard, then you probably have a grass clipping pile. This is a great place to get photos of all types of creatures. As I was mowing one day, I passed my grass pile and there was a very large broad-head skink.Image

The color and size caught my eye, so without scaring it, I shut off the mower and grabbed the camera.

Anyone who lives in the country has most likely seen a killdeer in their yard. The ImageKilldeer in the photo had decided to lay eggs in my driveway (in the warm gravel). The great thing about killdeer is, that if you approach the eggs, the bird will try to lure you off by acting like it has a broken wing and can’t fly.

It will get you as far away from the eggs until it feels it is far enough and then it will quit acting. It will continue to do this until you leave the eggs alone. The killdeer always gives great photo-ops.

Even if you are not near water, you never know who will visit your porch.

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 There is also another way to capture nature on film though you don’t actually take the photos yourself it is fun to see what comes around your home when you are not looking. Now mind you, I set up a trail camera aimed at a deer feeder. Expecting deer of course, ImageI was pleased when photo I got was unique in the fact that it was two does (female deer) sparring in the early fall. It is not every day that even hunters see action like this.

The only time you want to actually have a good quality camera is when you try to get photos of the sky at night. When the super moon comes in the early spring, it can provide you with a great opportunity to get some great shots (weather permitting of course).

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But taking photos of a full moon is much different than taking photos during the day, especially with digital cameras. The great thing about the super moon is that it really doesn’t move much and gives you plenty of time to get your camera to the correct settings to get some great photos. I used a Nikon D100 with a 70mm to 300mm lens to get this photo.

Last but not least, the best subject to photograph around your house is your own pets. You never know when they will do something crazy or give you a great pose that defines their character. Buddy, my chocolate lab decided he would channel Elvis as he looked in the kitchen window.Image Pets are always doing something and even though they don’t always sit still for photos, the best thing to do is have your camera ready.

So there you have it, this is what I look for when I don’t want to drive 20 miles to the state forest to look for nature. It is out there, within steps of your house, all you have to do is be ready and look for it. One other thing, and probably the most important thing is, take a lot of photos. You never know when one of the photos will be an award winner and since digital photography came along, you don’t have to wait to develop.

Enjoy nature, it is all around!

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