November 2011
Howle's Hints

Jacked Up and Getting the Lead Out

We need more like Jesus and John Wayne. A lot of our problems on the national level would be solved with this approach. If we could love our neighbors like Jesus said we should, there would be a lot less need for welfare and other entitlement programs. When a need arises in our community, it would not take a government bailout or stimulus package to help folks. All it takes is a willingness to lend a helping hand. Jesus never sinned, so he never told a lie. When he said he would do something, he did it.

If we said what we meant and meant what we said, people wouldn’t have to guess where we stand. I guess that’s what I always like about John Wayne’s character in the movies. He was a man of few words, but, when he said something, you knew he meant it, and he was willing to ride for the brand and fight for what he knew to be right. I would love to see more politicians go to Washington with a John Wayne-mentality and actually do what they promised they would do, refuse to bend on principles, tell the simple truth without political double speak and, yes, maybe even knock the next one to suggest another stimulus package or government bailout out the saloon doors into the horse trough.


Bottle jacks can be used to raise structures to level or get vehicles out of the mud.

Jacked Up

A 12-ton bottle jack is a handy implement to keep in the tool box of a pickup. It works well for jacking a truck out of the mud or changing a tire, and it can be used to jack up the corner of a hunting cabin to level the structure with cap blocks and planks. Keep varied thicknesses of planks available for placing under the jack stand for additional height. To make it easier to carry, choose a bottle jack with handles on both sides.

Cope with Your Scope

A scope adjusted to the lowest power and possessing reasonable light-gathering properties is sufficient in most hunting situations. If you have the scope adjusted to its highest power, when an animal does appear, it will be difficult to set the crosshairs. Often, all you’ll see through the scope is a close-up of fur.

The lead tip in a bullet writes about as good as a pencil for jotting notes.


Get the Lead out

Many traditional hunting bullets have a lead tip at the point. Lead is lead whether it is in a pencil or in the nose of a bullet. If you need to write a note, but can’t find a pen, a lead-tipped bullet can substitute as a pencil.

Plenty of times I have taken a phone call when I need to write a name or number down, and if all I can find in the truck is a bullet, I can take the note. This makeshift pencil can also be used to mark wood for cutting.

Skin Protection

Indians used to rub animal fat on their skins to prevent exposure in cold weather. The fat would act as an extra layer of insulation. In addition, the greasy substance would protect hands and knuckles from cracking and bleeding.

Today, we have a better option than animal fat. Mineral oil rubbed on the face and hands before a cold hunt helps provide a layer of insulation against the icy temperatures. The oil is colorless, tasteless and, most importantly, odorless; so you’ll spook less wildlife and the oil acts as a moisturizer to prevent cracking and bleeding of exposed fingers and knuckles.

Tube Tinder

Old, tire inner tubes cut into strips make great fire starters even when they’re wet. Once they are lit, the rubber burns with intensity and duration giving time for other tinder to catch fire. The black smoke given off during burning is also helpful for daytime signaling in a survival situation. They take very little space in your pack and last a long time.


Approach downed deer with caution to prevent injury to yourself.

Scout the Scrapes

A long, steady rain can wash away the scents left in a scrape by a buck. After a rain is a productive time to visit scrapes because the buck will often come back to freshen his scent. Be sure to approach the scrape from downwind in case the buck is in the immediate vicinity.

I was once using this method after a good rain, and I walked right up on a huge buck. He was completely motionless because he had already gotten wind of me. By mistakenly walking upwind of the scrape toward the buck, the first glimpse I saw of him was his whitetail flag waving goodbye as he bounded over the ridge.


The author opens the lid to beef stew for scout, Logan Hunter.


Careful Approach


After you’ve made the shot on large game, proceed to the downed animal with caution. Approach the animal from the rear and use a long stick to prod and verify the animal has expired. Avoid using the gun barrel for poking since the animal could still give a dangerous kick. If the animal is still alive, be ready with a quick follow up shot to the base of the neck through the spine. This shot will preserve most of the meat.

Going Dutch

Cooking with Dutch ovens is just about as much fun as eating the food you cook. We recently cooked for Heflin’s Boy Scout Troop 206 with Dutch ovens. Here are a few dishes you can prepare and we have prepared. Blackberry cobbler using a Dutch with legs. Place charcoal briquets on top and bottom of the oven to distribute heat evenly. We also prepared two ovens of beef stew. With a little practice and a well-seasoned oven, you can also cook biscuits, cakes, roasts and just about any prepared dish requiring heat.

This November, use a little ingenuity, give thanks for your blessings and put a little more Jesus and John Wayne into your day.

John Howle is a freelance writer from Heflin.