Crow hunting the easy way.

29 03 2015

Crow hunting has to be the easiest, most relaxing type of hunting I know.  I get to sit in my parents living room and watch fishing shows until I hear the sound of a crow in the distance.  Once I do I put on my coat, grab my shotgun and caller and walk across the street which, is state land.  After about a 200 yard walk I load the shotgun, turn on the caller, hide in some bushes and start shooting about 10 seconds later.  It’s just that easy.

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To be fair though I do have an ideal set up.  My parents live on a dead end street in northern Oscoda near Van Etten lake.  The north end of the lake is surrounded by huge pines that the crows roost in overnight and generally hang out at all day long.  Across the street is state land that was lumbered out a few years back.  It was never re-planted so there are a lot of small oak and pine trees popping up all around it.  This has resulted in lots of small clumps of trees and bushes that make excellent cover.  A two track runs right through the middle which makes for easy walking.  All I have to do is hide in a clump of short trees, turn on the crow distress cd (yeah a CD, not a pre-programmed caller) and wait.  Usually it doesn’t take long, they don’t have far to fly.  The only draw back is that it is usually a very quick hunt, like less than a minute.  Sometimes I get lucky and a straggler will come in a few minutes later but for the most part it is done pretty quick.  Once I’m done shooting I pick up my birds and stuff and walk back to the house and go back to watching fishing shows.

Life is rough……





Van Etten Lake Panfish 7/28/14

4 08 2014

My first morning in Oscoda was going to be spent on Van Etten lake with my Dad and his neighbor Dennis.  They have been doing rather well on the panfish and perch and I was hoping that would continue.  Since I can’t put salmon in the freezer I am hoping to replace it with some panfish and perch.  We hit the water around 9:30 am and headed for the east side of the lake to a weedy are in about 7 feet of water.  We had a brisk wind out of the north so I was going to stick to using leaf worms instead of my fly rod.  My Dad and Dennis were going to use leaf worms as well on snelled hooks and crappie rigs.  I was using a small jig below a slip bobber set at about 5 feet.  Once we got the anchors set we dropped lines and quickly started to catch fish.  We continued to pick away at them for the next few hours.  We really didn’t move around to much unless the anchor lost it’s hold and the wind pushed us south.  After about 4 hours things were starting to slow down so we packed it in.  We ended up with 22 panfish and 74 perch.  Not to bad and the best part is that I didn’t have to clean them.  Wellman’s, the local bait shop, cleans fish for 4 bucks a pound.  I’ll pay that all day long to keep from having to scale and clean that many fish.

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Van Etten Perch 7/27/13

29 07 2013

I spent this past weekend up at my parents place in Oscoda.  I used to go up there on a regular basis but 4.00 dollars a gallon for gas kept me at home more than I wanted.  My brother and his wife were also planning on coming up and they wanted to go fishing.  Not a problem, my Dad had wanted to go perch fishing on Van Etten Lake so this seemed like a good opportunity.

After a breakfast of homemade waffles Dad and I got the boat ready.  I don’t fish for panfish too much so I had to do some digging for the proper tackle.  #11 Rapala’s aren’t exactly the best thing for perch, though it would be interesting to see the perch that would grab one.  A few minutes later I had everything I needed and we were on our way.  A friend of my Dad’s had caught a bunch of big red ear sunfish earlier in the lake so we were off to try and find the same spot.  Of course we never found it.  We were slowly trolling around trying to find a drop off from 5 to 8 feet of water.  I had one rod rigged up with a sinker and baited hook and I was dropping it in until we found some fish.  I picked one perch and then another so we dropped anchor and got after them.  I was using my sister-in-laws rod so I handed that back to her and got my brother set up.  Soon everyone was catching fish but me.  I had yet to get my rod set up.  I was going to experiment.

I really hate using bait, especially worms like everyone else was using.  I had been following another blog (D & B Ice Adventures) about a guy who fishes for panfish in Vermont A LOT.  He and his fishing buddies use a lot of small artificial jigs so I was going to give it a shot.  I was hoping this would work because it would be a lot easier and cleaner.  It did.  I dropped down a small chartreuse jig with a white plastic body and a few seconds later I was bringing in my first perch.  This was great, the water was clear enough that I could see my white jig.  The second it disappeared, set the hook and bring in the fish.  This went on for about the next hour.  Eventually the bite started to slow down so we started to move around to find another active group.  We tried a few more spots but with no luck.  We had a fair amount of fish and it was past lunch so we headed in.  We had other things to do today and the skies were starting to look a little menacing.  50 perch and 1 big red ear sunfish was nothing to complain about.  All that was left now was to drop them off at Wellman’s for cleaning.  Which, by the way, they scaled and filleted for 10 dollars.  I will gladly pay that if I can keep from cleaning panfish.

Now for the vital stats.  Water was clear with about 5 feet of visibility.  We were fishing in 5 feet of water near a drop off to 8 feet.  Weeds were kind of sparse and a few bare patches here in there.  There was a light wind out of the SE and it was overcast.  Everyone else was using a #6 gold plated hook baited with a leaf worm tied above a bell sinker.  I was using a small chartreuse jig with a soft body bait (pictured below).  I would twitch it and bounce it around to keep the perch interested.  They would grab it as it was going up, down and even just sitting there.

All in all it wasn’t a bad way to spend a morning.

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