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  • AvatarCRIA1576
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    This is a great idea.  There are thousands of years of combined experience across your subscribers, and I agree that personal testimonials are always best.  Written content supported by real-life videos would be fantastic similar to Chuckhawks and similar.

    One thing I would recommend is that you focus on firearms within the reasonable price range of this audience.  I am always turned off by the large outdoor magazines’ focus on the highest-end manufacturers and models that don’t have marketshare.  Rem 870 and Moss 500 outnumber Ruger Red Labels and others 10:1. Maybe run a survey on how much money on average this audience would spend on the most common firearms they own.  For example:

    Do you own one of the following types of shotgun (check all that apply)?

    • Single shot
    • Pump shotgun
    • Semiauto
    • Over under
    • Side by side
    • Lever action

    How much on average are  you willing to spend on a shotgun by type?

    Once you have an idea about what the vast majority of your subscribers already own and what they would be willing to spend, you could narrow your reviews down to the most meaningful to the average Iowa Sportsman.

    I would also make reloading a regular topic.  Given the current backlog on ammunition across the entire spectrum of firearms, it would be great to see dedicated content and videos on reloading.

    Thank you for asking for our input!

    AvatarCRIA1576
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    in reply to: Rut Progress? #2958718
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    I hunt Carroll County and had 2 whoppers blow up on a doe Sunday night.  They cut her out of a herd of a dozen in CRP and they ran her full blast into the timber.

    AvatarCRIA1576
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    AvatarCRIA1576
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    Hey Scruff, it’s been a long time.  I tried replying once, and my message didn’t go through.  I was in the same place as you after shoulder surgery in May of 2019.  I picked up this ready to hunt combo on Black Friday for $199.  It has been a great shooter, and is capable of 2-3″ groups at 50 yards from my trigger stick.

    https://youtu.be/73dhzlxrb4s

    https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/carbon-express-x-force-blade-rth-crossbow-package

    The Excalibur recurve models are proven and great shooters.  Their only drawback is that the recurve limbs create a much wider and forward heavy crossbow that is less maneuverable in treestands.  This is not an issue from the ground.

    Good luck!

    AvatarCRIA1576
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    Hey Scruff its been a long time…  I had shoulder surgery on my labrum, rotator cuff, and AC joint in May of 2019.  I got my permanent crossbow license a short time afterwards.

    You can spend as little or as much on a crossbow as you want, and they range from the ready to hunt (RTH) Carbon Express combo I bought on Black Friday for $199 up to over $2,000.  I am very happy with the unit I bought, and it shoots 2-3″ groups out to 50 yards off my trigger sticks.  I haven’t shot it farther than that yet.  This RTH combo came with 3- 20″ bolts, scope, and de-c-o-c-k-ing rope.  The fore end and the stock are also adjustable on picatinny style rails, and it is very nice to be able to adjust to your preferred reach and length of pull.

    https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/carbon-express-x-force-blade-rth-crossbow-package

    https://youtu.be/73dhzlxrb4s

    I shot my first buck with it this year using NAP spitfire crossbow heads.  The shot was 7 yards and the recovery was about 50.  The bolt passed through the buck and stuck in the ground past the nock.   After digging it out of the dirt, unfortunately the head and bolt were a total loss; breaking in 3 places.

    I did a lot of research on crossbows before I went with this unit.  My train of thought was even if this one didn’t work out, I would still be money ahead if I had to buy a different one.  So far, it has been a pleasure to shoot, and I am looking forward to next season.

    My father in law has been laying deer down with an Excalibur recurve crossbow for 10 or more years now.  The only drawback to his is that the recurve limbs require a much wider front end.  The compound bows can be much more compact and slightly easier to maneuver in treestands.  If you’re hunting from blinds, this is not as big a deal.

    AvatarCRIA1576
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    @Bowfisher, if you’re still on here, can you please shoot me your contact information?  I have a buddy in the Cedar Rapids area that needs help with a 2-stroke Johnson.  Please email or text me.

    [email protected]

    515-201-2954

    AvatarCRIA1576
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    I should’ve added that the middle coon below Lake Panorama is intensively managed by the IADNR for smallmouth.  It is CPR only below the dam for some distance and an enormous amount of structure has been added to improve the fishery.  The side benefits are improved fishing for all species including walleyes.

    As you get further south, middle coon becomes a legitimate multi-species fishery.  In a single evening below the dam in Redfield, my buddies and I caught a mixed bag of eater channels and flatheads, slab crappies, white bass, bluegills, and walleyes.  Wherever you find gravel and rock mixed with access to deep water, you can really get into some good fishing.

    AvatarCRIA1576
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    Lake Panorama and Storm Lake are also known for consistent crankbait bites for cats.  Fire tiger, perch, and pretty much any other natural color will catch them.

    AvatarCRIA1576
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    Hey man, welcome to western IA.  The middle coon below and above Lake Panorama will support smaller jon boats (<16′) and outboards in the spring and early summer depending on how much rain we get.  Mid-summer you will need to head to lower stretches to find enough water to float your boat.  The south coon convergence is just south of Redfield and the north coon convergence is just north of Van Meter.

    The north coon is a short drive east of Panora, and it will have more consistent water conditions year ’round to float a jon boat and outboard.

    Catfishing on all stretches of the south, middle, and north coon as well as their smaller tributaries can be phenomenal.  Large numbers of eater size to 10# channel cats and larger can be found from the headwaters of middle coon near Carroll all the way to Lake Panorama.  Eater and trophy flatheads are also available from roughly Springbrook State Park to Lake Panorama and below to lower stretches of the river.

    South coon also holds good populations of channel and flathead catfish, but you may have trouble floating your boat on this smallest tributary of the ‘coon.  It is phenomenal for wading however, and if you go up or down river from Nations Bridge you should be able to fill stringers of cats.

    North coon is the largest of the tributaries, and you should be able to float a jon boat from stretches north of Glidden through the southern stretches.  The north coon has abundant numbers of eater cats and boasts good numbers of trophy channel and flathead cats throughout its length.  Certain stretches of north coon also offer very good walleye fishing.

    Good luck!

     

    AvatarCRIA1576
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    Thank you for the head’s up about current conditions.  We will be there 6/22-24.  Hopefully by then the river will clear up some.

    AvatarCRIA1576
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    When I was in High School in the ’90s there was a 1,000 yard range near Van Meter.

    AvatarCRIA1576
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    My suggestion is 180 grain Federal Premium Trophy Bonded or 180 grain Federal Premium Partitions.  Both are fantastic big game rounds for elk and with a 200 yard zero you have very little hold over at 300.

    To get on paper, you can get the 180 grain Federal Power Shoks for about half the cost of the premium ammo.  My local Wally World has them for around $18/box.  The premiums will cost you double.

    FWIW, I emailed Federal asking about the effectiveness of the Power Shoks on elk out to 300 yards.  Their response was, “…the 180 grain Power Shok is perfectly capable of ethically killing elk out to 300 yards out of a .30-06 and .308.”

    Good luck!

    *EDIT- If you are hunting with an outfitter, you may want to see if they have any caliber or bullet minimums for their hunts.  We are headed to NW Montana in September 2021, and the outfitter has a 160 grain minimum.

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by AvatarCRIA1576.
    AvatarCRIA1576
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    in reply to: Wyoming CWD Plan #2950870
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    Good to know and thank you for confirming

    AvatarCRIA1576
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    in reply to: Wyoming CWD Plan #2950847
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    Are mulies impacted at the same or similar rates to whitetails?  What about antelope?

    AvatarCRIA1576
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    in reply to: Hunt with bro #2950846
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    Off topic, but Whip, do you have an email address I could contact you on about a WY antelope/muley hunt?  I have always respected your style on the site over the last several years, and I would love to pick your brain about good places for my brother and I to hunt in 2021.

    Thank you in advance!

    Joel

    [email protected]

    AvatarCRIA1576
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    We used to catch some nice red horse suckers out of the cedar above the Waverly dam when I was in college in the late 90s. These were incidental to ice-out catfish. I always thought they were a a beautiful fish with their shiny, golden, scales, red highlights, and forked tails. We never ate them, but they made excellent cut bait for cats. Their fine scales made them much easier to handle than carp. We always had to scale and fillet the carp for cut bait, and it seemed the suckers would outfish the carp 2:1 at least.

    AvatarCRIA1576
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    in reply to: Tomato seeds #1555245
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    My wife started our tomatoes, jalapenos, cucumbers, and zuchini in small pods last weekend. They are in the house inside of a little mini green house getting full southern exposure through our patio door. Nothing has sprouted yet, but we are hoping to see some growth by early next week.

    As soon as the frost is out of the ground, I plan to try out my new 60″ tiller! 😈

    AvatarCRIA1576
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    I don’t think a 50% excise tax increase on ammo is going to pass muster in this country. However, thank you for sharing and I will continue writing elected officials.

    I noticed that CCI is now selling all copper .22lr rounds. I wouldn’t be surprised to see another shot at banning all lead ammo come down the pike soon.

    AvatarCRIA1576
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    I have always heard that a pond will either have thriving crappie and bass, but it cannot sustain both.

    In small ponds (<2 acres), this may be the case. However, generally this has not been my experience in medium-larger ponds. One of the best ponds in this area is around 10 acres, and you can easily catch 50-100 bass from 2# and larger on an average morning or afternoon. This same pond supports thriving populations of 12-15" crappies and 10-12" bluegills. This pond is surrounded by CRP and has 2 small feeder creeks. The maximum depth is around 12'.

    When i suggested possibly stocking minnows for feed, I did not mean to going to the bait shop for 10# of minnows. I would agree with the other poster that this approach would increase the risk of stocking unwanted species. However, there are professional fish stocking outfits in the state that can provide only fathead minnows and other forage fish varieties. I did a very cursory search last night, and a 1 acre pond could be stocked with 10# of fatheads once per year to supply adequate food for predator species.

    I think the risk with using a dry "crappie" food is that non-target species may also eat it. In other words, similar to an aquarium at home, I would suspect all of the fish species in the pond would eat the feed, including small bass, bluegills, and any catfish that may be in the pond. I would just hate to get my hopes up with an approach like this.

    You mentioned the pond has a population of 12-15" crappies. It may be most efficient to consider using minnows to maximize the availability of forage for predator fish of this size. This could benefit the body condition of the fish you are targeting fastest. While you will certainly compete with the bass, predation from small gills and crappies should be reduced as compared to the dry product.

    One poster already mentioned that you should be taking every gill and crappie you catch out of the pond, no matter the size. I agree with this approach, and the last I knew the IADNR also supports this recommendation. If they are too small to eat, you can use them for a variety of other uses including excellent garden compost.

    AvatarCRIA1576
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    Mature crappies are very efficient and voracious predators in their own right. A 16″ crappie’s diet is actually going to be very similar to the bass that are also in the pond. The 10″+ bluegills will also compete for the same forage.

    If the crappies and larger bluegills are both skinny and short in numbers, there may be too many bass in the pond. The panfish could be struggling to compete with their larger rivals. If the bass numbers are out of balance in comparison to pan fish, it will be difficult to grow thick crappies and gills. You may want to think about either harvesting some of the bass to equalize the ratio or purchase more bait. You can get thousands of fat head minnows stocked into the pond to increase forage for all of the fish. However, the ratio of bass to pan fish will still be out of wack.

    Just my $.02

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