Don’t Put Your Camo Away Yet

Back during turkey season we wore ourselves out trying to get every ounce from the final camo clad days on our calendar until archery season opens up. For a lot of people turkey season symbolizes the beginning of a lull in their hunting schedule. We hang up our camo, air out our boots, and wait for deer season to open.

It doesn’t have to be that way! There are plenty of ways to get back into your camo during the summer months, but you may want to consider investing in some light weight clothing instead of your winter gear.

I’ve put a little list of ideas together for those of you having withdrawals from hunting season…

  • Bowfishing : There are opportunities to bowfish in many states around the country, and the good news is that it won’t break the bank to get it done. Check your states Game and Fish website for regulations, but consider throwing some camo cutoffs on and hitting the water with a bow. Don’t want to spend a lot on a bow fishing rig? Hit up the local pawn shop! I bought my first bow fishing bow in an old shop for around $30. You can easily convert an old bow into a fishing bow within a couple hours. Try giving it a custom paint job yourself with some tape and spray paint! Or, if you spend your money on a local guide they typically have a bow fishing setup for you to use instead of you bringing your own. Bowfishing is also a great way to practice your archery skills before deer season opens back up.
  • Frog gigging – Who doesn’t love frog legs? This is something that the whole family can get in on, although it’s more common in the southern states. Some of my favorite childhood memories are from a pond in the woods where my uncle taught me how to gig a bullfrog. To add an extra element to the fun, make your own gig. Get creative with it! Also, be sure to purchase a hunting license and check your state bag limits.
  • Hog hunting – In most states wild hogs are not considered a game animal. The only state that I’ve hunted in that regulates the number of wild hogs that you can take is California, so if you live there be sure to purchase the necessary tags and licenses. Most southern states, however, have no limit and do not consider hogs a big game animal. If you’ve seen the damage that these things can do to crops and farmers’ fields you won’t feel bad about shooting them. While some people shoot so many that they don’t use the meat, we restrict our harvest numbers to only what we will use. We process the meat and keep it, or give it to friends and family. Contrary to popular belief, most wild hogs taste exactly like store bought pork. I recommend shooting the ones in the 50 – 150 pound range for best flavor, and the sows will taste better than the boars because of the testosterone levels in their system.
  • Late season spring bear hunt – While everybody else is laying by the pool and going on their summer diet, wouldn’t it be nice to sit in a tree stand and work towards filling a bear tag? Some states have spring bear seasons that last up until mid to late June! Sure, it will be a little warm outside, but this is one way to continue your hunting season while everyone else is just daydreaming of putting their camo back on. Montana, Idaho, and some other western states have late seasons (and some have over-the-counter tags), so consider planning your summer vacation around that!
  • Just put on your camo because you like it. That’s what I do. Nothing to be ashamed of there! I feel more confident in camo than in anything else, and even if I’m not hunting sometimes I just want to be in camouflage.

It’s always nice to extend our hunting season for as long as we can. I personally keep my camouflage out year round. I never put it away, and I definitely put it to the test with the number of days I spend in the field. Last weekend I hunted  hogs in Tennessee and harvested enough meat to feed my family and friends for about half of the year. We night hunt for them also, which is a good way to avoid the heat and get some adrenaline pumping. There’s nothing like looking through a night vision scope at hogs in a field while the bullfrogs croak and the night air is the perfect temperature. Maybe next year I’ll have a late season bear hunt to add to my summer activities. Either way, I can guarantee that I’ll find a way to keep my camo on year round.

Julie McQueen with a Tennessee Russian boar, taken with a .223 and ATN X-Sight scope.

Julie McQueen with a Tennessee Russian boar, taken with a .223 and ATN X-Sight scope.

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