Maryland Natural Resources Career camp apps now available

Continuing a tradition of approximately 45 years, the Maryland DNR along with the MD Maryland’s Forest Conservancy District Board is once again offering a great opportunity  to get more young people involved in the outdoors while encouraging them to think about the future.  As a parent of a recently graduated high-schooler, I know first hand that teenagers can feel overwhelmed and not at all confident about where their life will lead after school.

If your teen has an interest in forestry, fisheries, wildlife or parks management, talk to them about attending a Natural Resources Careers Camp. The camp will run July 23 to 29 at Hickory Environmental Education Center in Garrett County, MD.

The camp will also features “College Night,” where representatives from West Virginia University, Virginia Tech, the University of Maryland (GO TERPS!), Frostburg University, Allegany College of Maryland and Garrett College speak to campers about their programs.

The weeklong camp is only available for students entering grades 9 through 12 next year. Applications are available through the Maryland Forest Conservancy District Boards.  The application process appears to be very similar to applying for scholarships or colleges so that in itself is a great learning experience.

Space is limited to 42 applicants so register soon!

Some practical advice for the men who wished their wives hunt….

For many years I didn’t hunt. Between kids, work, and my family needing to eat and have clean clothes, there just wasn’t time to hunt.  And at the end of the day, I was tired!  It didn’t help my disposition when I would hear things like the woods are so relaxing, etc. Yeah, buddy I’m sure the woods are relaxing – I wouldn’t know!

So now that I am fully ensconced in the hunting world and will NOT ever stop, I have the advantage of some hind sight. You know that whole-if I only knew THEN what I know NOW.  Hopefully, this can help some of my brothers in the hunting world who would like to have a hunting partner in their wife/significant other.  Some of these suggestions may seem obvious and might appear that I am suggesting you “baby” your baby.  Well guess what?  Every once in a while, we woman do liked to be pampered.  So here goes:

1 – Start in warmer weather. Spring turkey hunting is a great time of year.  Or shed hunting in March. Don’t expect your wife/girlfriend to get excited about hunting in the dead of winter.

2 – Take it slow.  Make arrangements for the kids to get picked up from school.  Both of you can take off work early, get some lunch, go sit in the woods.  No rush.  Just sit and watch. And let’s face it; that is really what most hunting consists of, a lot of sitting and waiting. If you can arrange a quiet afternoon it will earn you some brownie points.

3 – Don’t expect to be sitting 20 feet up in a stand.  I was deathly afraid of sitting in a stand for many years. And quite frankly it wasn’t worth my time to worry about getting over that fear.  But when hunting really took off for me I knew I had to.  But I first started sitting in a blind – in a chair – with a cushion.

4 – Make sure everyone is comfortable.  Make sure your wife/girlfriend is warm enough. Remember sitting in a blind or stand for multiple hours outside is not like taking a walk through the woods on a nice day.  And most people who aren’t used to hunting just don’t realize how cold you can get while sitting.  So even if it seems like overkill, make sure she has extra layers and gloves.  A seat cushion is much appreciated as well!

5 – Take snacks and a drink. Make a picnic out of it.  Seriously a little romance in a blind goes a long way, men.

Of course, hunting is not all about cushions, staying warm and enjoying the day. Some hunts are tough – they need to be tough to get at the big game.  Some hunts demand a lot of walking and sweating despite the fact that it’s 32 degrees and the sleet is hitting you in the face. But you had to go out OF COURSE because the wind was right. I get it-I’ve been there. It took me a while and now I fight with my husband over stands.  But she just isn’t there yet and that’s a good thing-there’s time to work on that.  I think that with time you’ll discover different views and approaches to your hunting just by including your partner.

So what do I do with a deer I’ve shot?

This was a question recently asked to me by a person who never hunted.  Her question was sincere but was quickly followed up by, “Do you just leave them in the field?”  That question was immediately followed by a look on her face similar to a person that just smelled bad milk.

I was a a bit surprised by the two questions and more than a little peeved. After all, to insinuate that I would shoot a deer and then just leave it lay there was insulting. What – I hunt therefore I’m a jerk? As I tried to prepare my answer (all the while I’m fairly certain I was sucking the air from the room with my attempts to calm down), I looked at this person and realized -she really doesn’t know, well anything, about where FOOD comes from.  I told her that no, to leave the animal there would go against everything I believed in. I take the deer to the butcher and they process the deer for me.

“The butcher? “she asks.  Dear Lord – give me patience.   Yes, you know, the butcher. I then asked her, “Have you ever seen the meat aisle at the grocery store? Where the pork chops and steaks are lined up and neatly packaged? Well a butcher did that. So I take my deer to a butcher and he processes the deer and I pick up the packages a few days later.”

After a few minutes of silence, she asks, “So there are people that do this? Butcher the meat?”  “Yes I say, where do you think it all comes from? If you eat ground meat from the store you are eating a cow that was processed by a butcher. If you eat pork chops, you are eating a pig that was processed by a butcher.”

This conversation ended at that point but it stayed with me.  I really wanted to yell at this person to wake up, grow up, expand your world. Is this what people think? Meat grows in white plastic trays.  When they grow big enough they are encased in Saran Wrap and slapped with a price tag? Perhaps that’s a bit melodramatic. But perhaps we’ve done a disservice to future generations-we’ve made it too easy. You want a burger? Just run down to the local fast food store. If people actually had to practice shooting a bow, zeroing in a gun, hunt, track, field dress, process their own food, actually work for it, they might understand and respect why hunting is not about killing.  It’s about life.

I am headed to the Great American Outdoor Show!

I can’t think of a better way to start my week then to ditch the office, get in the truck and head off to talk hunting, guns and archery.  Hopefully by the end of the day I will have lots to report back on along with a sore back and an aching feet.  On the other hand, every time I’ve went to this show I have met some really nice people.  If you are there, look me up- stop and say hi!  I’ll be the one in the black Ladies In Camo shirt pulling a cColor-JoAnn-w-2015 deeramo wheeled backpack with one squeaky wheel!

Tree stands and me-not a match made in Heaven

I am terrified of heights. And while I know alot of people will sympathize and give me helpful hints, really I’m not listening. I can’t. Their advice will make sense, I’ll try it and then there I am again, stuck on the fourth rung of a ladder stand – sweaty palms clutching on with a death grip. People mean well but knowing myself,the only thing that would work for me is to suck it up, put on my big girl pants and just do it. Only I’ve said that multiple times as well.

Oh and to make this cosmic fear/joke even better, why should I just stop at being afraid of heights from a stand? Let me go whole hog on the whole height/fear issue. Walk up grandstands? Better just head on up and get comfortable in your seats; I will get there sooner or later-usually later. Drive through the mountains? You better knock me out or tie me up because I’m crying the whole way through.(Thank you IBO Worlds and Snowshoe Mountain for that enlightening experience.)

What’s your point JoAnn? Well since I bet alot of hunters or huntresses out there are like me, here is how I am SLOWLY working on getting over this fear. Or at least not letting it control my life anymore. Notice I said working on this because I’m not sure I will ever be totally over it.

1 – I am lucky enough to own a few acres and have a ladder stand installed on a tree in my backyard. Attached to the stand are two ropes; one used to hoist up my bow, the second is a lifeline rope with another smaller loop of rope with a prusik knot.

2 – I practice putting on and taking off my harness in my living room so I can do this as quietly as possible without getting everything tangled up.

3 – I then go outside to the stand. In regular clothes, I practice attaching onto the lifeline, climbing the ladder stand, getting to the top and hooking up the umbilical line to the strap which is located behind the seat. At that point I am double hooked-to the strap and to the lifeline. I do this step multiple times-it’s overkill, I know but it helps.

4 – After I feel semi-comfortable with the whole climbing and settling in procedure, I then repeat but this time I am dressed in my camo clothes along with any extras like a backpack. It’s kind of like dress rehearsal. I go to the stand, attach my bow to my hoist line. I then attach the umbilical cord of my harness to the lifeline. I climb up, anchor in and pull my bow up.I practice this multiple times to try to get as quiet as possible. I can play around with the option of hoisting up my back pack or climbing up wearing it.

5 – Lastly, after I am settled in and my legs don’t feel like I need to jump up and down with energy, I practice shooting from my stand. I think everyone should do this whether or not they have a fear of heights but for me, practice is even more crucial. It’s hard to concentrate on the shot when your entire body has adrenaline pumping through it and the deer isn’t in front of you yet.

For someone like me, I didn’t get through any of these steps the first time. I basically stood on the ladder rungs and sweated. Tried another step and there were tears involved. My husband’s hand on my ass while saying “Just go, You’re okay”, honestly didn’t help either. I did tell him what he could do with his hand and it wasn’t pleasant. At that point he left me alone. Although looking back he did hang multiple stands for me so I guess I should go apologize now.

I’m still really afraid of heights and that will never go away. But by chiseling away at that fear by little steps at least I can now function in a tree stand.

I wish you well this season!

Essentials for my backpack

Below are some things that are always in my pack. I just will not go into the woods without them – no matter the season.

Pack of tissues-especially during the spring turkey season!
ChapStick
Flashlight
Some wire ties for attaching a tag
Snips to take care of any branches I might have missed during the set up
Folding Knife
Pen for filing out tag
License and tags
Permission slips
Saline solution-nothing worse than a dry contact lens in the stand!
Reusable rubber coated Gear Ties
Pair of black Red Head glove liners-these work great to use in the dead of winter under heavy gloves or on the spring as a light weight option
Cell phone

Additional items will get added at certain times of the year for different seasons or my weapon of choice but there are some things this girl cannot do without!

A tip when setting up a ground blind or tree stand

Hunting season is almost upon us.  In some areas of the country, people are already hitting the woods.  As you are setting up your ground blind or tree stand, please do yourself a favor and make sure you have the clearance necessary to make your shot.  If you have done so already, it doesn’t hurt to go back and recheck.  You might be saying to yourself, “What are you talking about Jo Ann, I’ve cleaned out my shooting lanes?”  I’m talking about the structure of the blind itself, like a support bar, that you need to make sure you can clear.

If you are using shooting sticks for a crossbow determine a comfortable height now that will also allow your limbs and bolt to clear the blind before that animal walks out.  The bolt can nick the blind as it leaves the crossbow if you don’t make sure the clearance is there.

If you are shooting a vertical bow, make sure you can pull that bow back and your arm doesn’t get hung up on any part of the blind itself.  Pulling back a bow and having your arm hit the side will either make noise or make you reposition yourself on the fly.  This rush might end up in a poorly placed shot or you just get busted by the deer.  Work the kinks out now before the season to ensure your success.

And don’t forget to read more Tips of the Week from Ladies In Camo: Ladies In Camo on Facebook.  An organization I am quite proud to be a part of!

Where I live in MD, it’s hot and humid right now

So take a break, get something cool to drink and watch my husband John on a self filmed 2014 hunt in Maryland.  It’s a video that’s short enough your boss won’t catch you not working!

Here’s the link to the Youtube video:

John’s 2014 hunt

Happy Hunting! Jo

My newest product review for 30-06 Outdoors

Hello everyone!  I wanted to provide you with a link to my latest product review on the Ladies in Camo website.  While you are there please check out all of the product reviews and hunting opportunities Ladies In Camo has to offer.

Here is the link:

http://ladiesincamo.com/licpr/2015/03/04/30-06-outdoors-deluxe-camo-crossbow-case-by-joann-herbert/

 

 

 

Picture of case

30-06 Deluxe Camo Crossbow case Photo credit: JoAnn Herbert

 

 

A new look in 2015!

This year has started out with a bang.  In January I was able to attend the Archery Trade association (ATA) show in Indianapolis, IN.  Met some great people, froze my butt off and came home with the flu. Was it worth it?  Absolutely!  I could have done without the whole flu part but knowing that a lot and I mean ALOT of great people work in the hunting industry just inspired me to get out there and do more!

More like what?  For starters I have updated the look of my blog.  The old blog just felt tired to me and hunting is anything but tired.  Tiring? Yes – but exciting.

I also have to face some truths this year about the industry and myself.

So here goes:

I don’t name all of the deer I get on camera. Does that make me be less of a hunter?  I do name some of them-just not all.

I hate the red light on my husband’s camera.  People think I look comfortable in front of the lens – I don’t. I want to suit up, get out there and hunt. When did my hunt turn into getting a closeup? No one wants to see me close up at 6 am but I also love the fact that we share these videos. He’s going to need to tape that stupid red light over-I’m done trying to deal with it.

I hate field dressing any animal. I don’t want to suck it up and get on with it.

I hate being cold.  I’ll tough it out but that last half hour in the cold?  I’m like deer go away. So far I’ve never packed it up because of the cold but my heart wasn’t in it. I hate that.

I hate bugs.  Early season spiders and mosquitoes creep me out. I use my Thermacell but I’m just as likely to have a total melt down in the middle of the woods. Ask my daughter about me, the spider the size of my hand taking a ride on my hat and the scream I let loose.

I hate not being successful. Oh now that one is going to get me in trouble.  There is nothing, nothing, like sitting in a blind, watching the sun rise or the dew dry on a piece of grass.  Listening to turkeys gobble as the fog rolls in.  Hearing a snort wheeze for the very first time was fantastic!  Those memories are successes all on their own.  But lets face it-I WANT to get the animal I am hunting.  I want the drag. I want to make the phone call-hey-come get me-I got him.  I am competitive. Sorry I want the buck I’ve been getting on my camera. Back off.

Why do I agonize so much about a good shot?  I constantly feel inadequate.  I do practice and I am familiar with whatever bow/gun I am using.  So it’s not that.  I won’t be one of those people that video their hunts and then have high fives all around after the shot when everyone sitting on their couch watching the video knows that shot was bad. But I wish I wouldn’t stress so much over it.

I hate that I don’t know as much as I want to know.  Every single time I go hunting or just shoot my bow, I learn something new.  Yes every time.  I constantly try to learn more and more.  And yet I feel so ignorant of the amount of knowledge I should know.

So on that note-hang on, it’s going to be a brutal, in your face and hopefully fact filled 2015!