When you can’t get to the woods…

Pittsburgh Architecture

Sometimes you just need to get outside and take some pictures.  While we can’t always get to the woods, it’s important to keep your skills sharp.  Keep your camera with you and you can find a creative outlet wherever you are.  Here are a few snaps from a 10 minute lunch break in Downtown Pittsburgh!

Pittsburgh Architecture 2

Stay sharp!


Turning seed and sweat into venison

A few of us on the BBO Pro Staff have been putting a lot of time in to creating food plots over the past two seasons and the results are undeniable. One of our more successful efforts is happening on a property that we lease from a lumber company here in southwestern PA.

As you may have guessed, the lumber company is not very accommodating to cutting down trees and clearing spots in the canopy. Our challenge was to find open areas and cultivate them enough that we could plant plots which would crowd out the natural weeds and other vegetation. Our solution was to find old logging trails and other work areas which were pre-cleared (albeit quite long and narrow) and use our Dirtworks cultivator to churn up the soil.

We started scouting areas in March of each year and gave them a quick plow along with a healthy does of lime. We then planted them in May and again in August with a variety of seeds ranging from turnips to winter oats. Not every plot was a raoring success and we found that the most successful plots were those we planted with clover and turnips.

We’ll take you through the entire process next season on Right Outside. The reason we are posting this article now is that there is no better time to find a great location for your secret plot than archery season. This is a great time of year to study deer movement while also noting the canopy and the light conditions underneath.

So take a few minutes next time you are in the stand to look for spots which are getting good sun through the canopy and mark your GPS. Remember, deer season starts in March!

Help Save the Elk Burger!

Help conserve elk hunting (and elk burgers) for future generations…

For those in the Pittsburgh Area, we’ll be at the RMEF Three Rivers Chapter Banquet on March 1, 2014. Should be a great evening of guns, gear and goodies!

Get your tickets here.

Preparing for 2013 gun season

(Originally posted Wednesday, January 02, 2013 11:58 PM)

Now I know what you’re thinking. What is up with this guy – talking about something that is almost a year away? But stay with me for a moment.

People who hunt with archery tackle and with firearms are a distinctly different breed in my experience. First and foremost, they usually are passionate about bow hunting and a little less so about firearms hunting (gun season). Thus, preparation for gun season often takes a back seat. Sometimes it barely makes it into the bed of the truck.

Let’s be realistic. After late bow season, there comes shed hunting time. Then it’s early spring planning for the food plots; then actual planting; then scouting, mounting trail cams, maybe adding another tree stand location. The next thing you know, archery season is here and you haven’t even given your rifle a second thought. So while the rifle guys are thinking about some fall range time, you are already hunting with your bow. And that’s why I choose this time to encourage you to do the preparation while the winter is preventing you from being in the woods.

First priority is a thorough cleaning and preservation of the barrel and action (Break Free ™ is an excellent preservative). While doing this, make sure you check the tightness of the scope mounts and rings. Make sure nothing feels loose and the scope lenses have been cleaned of any debris you may have picked up during your hunting sessions. Then when you store the rifle, store it in a muzzle down position with a soft cloth to protect the muzzle crown and absorb any oil that runs out of the barrel. Most folks store rifles in the upright position. This is the way a gun safe is constructed. But, if you do this, then oil from the action and barrel flows downhill into the stock and bedding area of the action. Over the years if the stock is wood or even some polymers, the oil (or solvent) seeping down will weaken the stock and the rifle will not shoot consistently. This can happen over time and may not be immediately noticeable.

Next, examine your ammunition. Hunting season can involve a lot of loading and unloading of the rifle. This could do some nasty things to your ammo – damage the bullets, drive them deeper into the case (thus producing higher pressures when fired), exposing unsealed primers to moisture (you remember when you emptied the magazine into the snow drift!) , etc.

I prefer to measure the overall lengths of the cartridges to assure they are still in good condition and even fire a few to verify the zero of the scope. If you hand-load, you might want to load a full batch of fresh cartridges and shoot a few to confirm that the scope (or sights) is still properly zero’d.

Then store the ammo in moisture resistant ammo can to protect it from moisture and make sure it is stored in a temperate environment. Temperature extremes are harmful to ammunition.

Having done all this and having inspected and stored your sling and ammo carrier, you should have a properly sighted rifle (or handgun), a sufficient batch of good ammunition and well stored gear, which will enable to get all this out next November, fire a few shots to confirm zeros and head out to your stand for opening day of rifle season in 2013.

Of course you could use your rifle for coyotes or varmints all year, but that’s another article.