L-R Zeb, Lew

Hey, this is Lew reaching out to you folks out there who are like me and Zeb when it comes to the addiction of lunker fishing and buck gittin’.

Winter is creepin’ up on us and slowin’ things down a bit. Soon the chill will be hangin’ on like a fight’n crawdad and has just had me and Zeb on pins and needles ready to fish and take to the woods to nab a buck. So, we thought we would take some time and give a couple of tips and tricks we find useful for winter time lunkers and huntin’.

First off, we all know that winter time seems to put a damper on fishing for the big bucket mouths and the small jaws. However, with a lot of patience, and I mean a lot, you can realize your dreams through those frozen beards and frost-bitten fingers. Everybody’s gotta eat, even those in the water and the woods. It don’t make no difference whether or not its winter, spring, summer, or fall. Most people store up vittles for winter, or at least they should, so that when ya git snowed in you can still fill yer bellies. So in the cold months, ya slow down and eat slower so ya can enjoy and make it last longer. It’s the same with the wild animals. So me and Zeb go for the big lunker baits and draw them just under their noses, a bait so tantalizing you want to put it in your own mouth. They just can’t seem to pass up a big juicy morsel when its hangin’ right in front of their bug eyes.

Patience, patience, patience is parallel in the winter, for fishin’ and huntin’. Preparation is a must. Zeb and me found ourselves in a pickle one time in mid buck season. The winter had set in, and it was on a bender. It was as cold as any toothless ones could recollect. It was around 20 below and the pocket warmers wasn’t holding up their end of the bargain. We had this hunt planned since last year and the cold wasn’t gonna keep us from baggin’ a buck. We was runnin’ short on deer chops and the wives and kids were needin’ fed. The plan on paper was to row our newly repurposed john boat across the lake to Buckshot Woods, where we knew roamed the buck called Home Wrecker. He had a massive rack that sported 20 plus points.The older hunters who have been after him said he was like a chameleon lizard, he could change colors to blend in with the surroundings. Of course, we didn’t believe it, but they declared it.

They’re out there, call them in.

We set out unprepared for what happened. We oared out to center of the lake and paused to load our guns, Betsy and Orville. We wanted to do this before we could no longer feel our fingers. As we sat there, we didn’t notice that the lake was freezing around us, and before we knew it, we were stuck as the lake froze over and the ice attached itself to the side of our boat. There we were stuck in the middle of the lake and not a soul around. We couldn’t raise the anchor or get the oars out. Zeb got the idea that we would have to shoot our way out, so we slowly drawed the hammers back on our punkin balls and started firin’ at the ice. After about 30 rounds it looked as though the idea was gonna work and the boat was freed from the icy grip. However, as the ice gave way, the boat tipped back and forwards and Zeb tripped and fired a round through the bottom of the boat. We had to jump for the ice as ol’ droop, as we called our boat, went to the bottom of the lake. Home Wrecker would have to wait another year.

So again, be patient, plan for the worst and hope for the best. Here’s some last tips before my ink runs out. Keep your bait warm by putting your lures in a bag and keep them in your pocket. Do not warm them in your arm pit; you will forget it’s there and start reeling. Do not, and I repeat do not, forget that you used an old aspirin bottle to put your deer scent tablets in. Zeb forgot about that detail one morning. He had a headache and popped what he thought was an aspirin. Well, he bagged a 12 point during the stampede and just barely got out of the woods. Let’s just say he stayed home during the rest of rut season. Most hunters don’t use the calling method anymore, but it is to your advantage to try it out. Rattling is a good method of bringing a buck to your nest. Don’t over do it and quiet down when you see one coming in. This method works really well. I can remember one mornin’ I was rattlin’ and a buck that looked big enough to pull my truck came to within about three feet and stared me down. I was in the middle of a briar thicket and had nowhere to run. He let out with a beller and lowered his rack. I grabbed on and was pulled through those briars like a fly trap. He flipped me up, I landed on his back and the fight was on as he was mad I tricked him. Thing is rattling works well but sometimes you wish it didn’t. Winter time fishin’ and huntin’ is all about the details, so don’t overlook them.  Stay safe in the woods, don’t tread on thin ice, and never take a sound shot because some sound shots shoot back. Knowledge is no good unless you use it; be safe and have a great hunt this season.