Illinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
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Marc Anthony of Goodfield owns and operates Look Alive Taxidermy and Non Typical Hunter magazine. Anthony grew up in central Illinois and spent eight years as a commercial pilot before giving that up to spend more time with his wife Jan and three children, Victoria, Drake and Elesa. Anthony hunted on and off as a child but started seriously at age 30 and focuses on bowhunting for deer and turkeys. He's arrowed four bucks that meet the Boone and Crockett Club (net) standards and 20 Pope and Young Club qualifiers. Anthony is on the Pro Staff for Muzzy broadheads, Bear Archery, Vital Gear, Natural Predator, Non Typical Hunter and several other companies. He also is a member of the Outdoor writers Association of America, OWAA.

 

Non-typical Hunter

A Web log by Marc Anthony

Memorial Day, what it means

May 28, 2010 at 02:56 PM

Memorial Day is one of those great holidays that most of us enjoy! Being in the Spring, the weather is usually nice and being a 3 day weekend, it makes it even more enjoyable. This weekend I’m going to do some work out on the farm by cutting grass, posting signs, target shooting with both the bow and the guns, dropping off some picnic tables, making a campfire, driving the 4 wheeler around and maybe even hang a tree stand or 2 for the family’s hunt this Fall. Of course, my wife and 3 kids will be with me the entire time sharing in the activities! This is one of those weekends we all dream about in the winter months while looking out the window watching the snow accumulate. Well, it’s finally here!

Through all of the excitement, we sometimes forget why we even have this holiday. This is one of those weekends where we need to take a few minutes and be thankful for living in such a blessed country. It doesn’t make any difference what your political preference is, you must remember that both Democrats and Republicans fought for our freedom! Without those hard won battles, we wouldn’t be speaking English. In fact, I could share some history with you by telling of a story on just how close we were to speaking German if it wasn’t for the American aeronautical engineers who took the German designed jet engine and refined it to point where we could beat them at their own game. It was in fact the Germans who invented the jet engine but fortunately for us, its lifespan was only about 10 hours! With scorching speeds and thrust, the Americans were being pummeled in the air by this new technology. It wasn’t until one crashed were we able to dissect and perfect this engine to overcome the air war. Now add all of the soldiers who fought like cats and dogs on the ground, you have just a glimpse how hard it was to maintain freedom. You can basically repeat the same theme for every war we’ve fought and see that the commitment was just as solid!

So how do we say thanks to generations of service men and women for keeping our country secure? Buying a $5.00 sticker that you slap on your car that says “Support Our Troops” doesn’t cut it! It may keep you in the social “club” politically, but doesn’t help the men and women who have actually fought these wars and need help now. If you really want to show your patriotism, go to a place like http://www.dav.org/ and give a donation to the disabled veterans! It won’t break you and it won’t take too much of your time but it will go to the very soldiers who gave you this weekend! It’s a really small sacrifice! If you want to do more than just scream that you’re patriotic, put your money where your mouth is and return the favor! It will make you feel good also!

So from here, I’m going to do just what I’m supposed to do and that is, enjoy the weekend our troops gave us! You should also! Our freedom came with a price and that price was paid, so have fun and enjoy!

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Trail Cam Security

May 23, 2010 at 08:24 PM

If I had a dime for every time I heard someone say someone stole their tree stand, trail cam or anything else, I would be rich. It’s a shame but you cannot even trust your fellow hunter when it comes to keeping your equipment safe while it’s out in the timber. Nothing’s cheap anymore either, so if you lose a trail cam, you’re out out several hundred dollars, especially if it’s a good one. I saw some pictures from a friend’s trail camera where a guy was trespassing on his property and the trespasser saw the camera as he walked buy. Knowing he was busted, he tried to get the video card out of the camera so he wouldn’t get caught. He couldn’t do it but he busted the camera trying to. My friend took the pictures to the local police station and the guy was later caught. Not everybody is so lucky! If you are using those Reconyx cameras like I am, those puppies are $600.00 smacks a piece and I would be really ticked off if someone stole or busted those. Having not used trail cams until last year, I’m really enjoying the 21st century technology and don’t want to lose them!

I came up with a solution a year ago when I heard of my friend/s incident. I told him to post the trail cam where he wanted it to be and then take a second one and mount it high into a tree, where no one could see it, pointed towards the first trail cam. It worked! He lost the first cam as it was stolen but the thief was caught on the second camera. Better yet, it was the same guy who he had arrested before! Talk about stupidity! That’s what I’m going to do next week when I go back to my farm. I’m going to set the record straight that I don’t appreciate trespassers or theifs! With over 100 signs posted, there should be no reason for anyone to attempt something stupid.

In reality, I wouldn’t even mind someone else enjoying the place but what I don’t like is for the wildlife to be on alert 12 months out of the year. It makes a huge difference and separates it from becoming a public/state ground nightmare. Scouting all year is great but rambling through with 4 wheelers, hurling beer bottles and screaming isn’t exactly what I would call a sanctuary. One other thing I was contemplating was the use of satellite surveillance cameras that would capture license plates, faces, etc. and then send them to me in real time. Anyone have any experience with these? If so, I would like to learn more about them.

Besides the trail cams, I’m going to cut shooting lanes and paths next week also. When hunting from the ground, stuff gets in your way real fast! I’m also going to hang some tree stands in some places that seem to be good for stand hunting. When you think about it, we only have a bit over 4 months to go before opening day, so I’ve got a lot of work to do! Oh yeah, my 4 wheeler is broken, so I have to fix that also. October will be here before you know it!

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Back to West Central IL.

May 19, 2010 at 08:53 AM

Back in 1990, I found myself hunting west central Illinois. In those days, a person could knock on a door and easily get permission to hunt. That’s what I did! In return, I would buy a smoked ham glazed with all sorts of goodies and give it to the farmer at the end of the season to show my appreciation. It was a gesture that kept good tidings between us. I did that for several years until I heard several farmers say “Oh, that’s just junk, scrub ground, you can do whatever you want with it”. I thought to myself; “Junk”? Really? So I talked to a few more farmers and they said they would sell that ground to me for $400.00 an acre. Of course, those days are long gone and one thing for certain, they know it’s not junk now!

My last west central Illinois hunt was about 9 years ago. I always thought if I knew what I know now, I could have really done well over there. Although I got a few nice bucks there, I really didn’t know what I was doing, enough to be consistent anyway. As fate would have it, I’m going to find my way back there this fall. I picked up a farm over there and I’m anxious to start the scouting process. Sometimes we get complacent by hunting the same grounds over and over again, so I’m looking forward to getting to know the place and figuring out where the big boys are hiding, if there are any. There is no guarantee for monster deer in west central Illinois, unlike what the out-of-staters think. If anything, it very well may be more difficult because of the added pressure. One thing for sure, you can bet I’ll hammer every doe I can if I deem it necessary! Some people may not understand this but where I’ve been hunting, does are extremely rare. I love to hunt does for several reasons. First, they offer the opportunity for the hunter to keep their shooting skills polished. Second, it provides a means to keep the herd in check, which thus offers a better buck hunt and third, it allows us, as hunters, to do our part in managing Illinois’ deer herd. One thing for sure, it definitely won’t go to waste in my home! I’ll even be happy to donate it to some of the shelters.

What I like the best about this set-up is the fact that I get to start fresh again. I get to explore and examine, make mistakes and discoveries, reenact several possible scenarios and so forth. Now that’s a real hunt in my book! It’s for those reasons why I enjoy going out-of-state each year as it forces me to hunt! The only negative aspect of leaving the state is the fact that I don’t have the time for a thorough scout. Most of it has to be done over the internet, which works good but it just doesn’t give me the data I need from the soil itself. So hit or miss, it’s western, Illinois for me.

One thing for sure, I’m not giving up on my little 2 acre honey holes over here or the larger tracts I’ve been hunting, I’m just going to be selective. I know where some real bruisers are living over here in central Illinois but I think they may have the possibility of becoming booners, so I’m not going to go after them this year. If someone else gets to them before I do, more power to them, I wish them well!

To all of those who are getting pumped for the next season, you really need to know that now is the time to get out and make your discoveries! Have no surprises come fall. Know where they live, expect what they’ll do and then just lay back about a month before opening day. From that point, catch them off guard and beat them at their own game!

Oh boy! I can’t wait!

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