February 2012
Howle's Hints

A Good Idea Will Fly in Any Weather

“Be courageous. I have seen many depressions in business. Always America has emerged from these stronger and more prosperous. Be brave as your fathers before you. Have faith! Go forward!” — Thomas A. Edison

This February, go forward with faith. If you have a project you’ve been putting off because it seems daunting or wanting to start a new business venture from your farm or home, while you are spending time indoors and around the fireplace, use this time to plan. Remember, some of the most profitable businesses have started during times of economic downturns. A good idea will fly in any weather.

Left, during the winter, scout for coyotes around cattle congregation sites. Coyotes will scan the fields for mice and, sometimes, unattended calves. Below, this coyote den is about 50 feet above a creek. The female dens here to keep her pups close to water.

 
 
   

Hot Coffee

To keep your coffee piping hot all day, pour boiling water in the thermos and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Once the canister has absorbed the heat, pour out the water and fill the thermos with coffee. A good-quality thermos will have you drinking hot coffee even after lunch.

Cantankerous Coyotes

Coyotes begin searching for mates around the end of January over most of the country and, by March, most females have been bred. Two months later, the pups will be born. If coyote control is a priority in your hunting area, then February is an ideal time to reduce the population of coyotes by hunting.

Female coyotes will often den in higher areas on slopes facing south and near water sources so they can keep the pups close to the den.

February is an ideal time to scout for coyote dens on your hunting property. The trails leading away from the dens will help you in determining the best sites for optimum coyote hunting. Place your stand downwind of the travel corridors.

A couple of round bales of hay in field edges makes an ideal blind for getting a shot at coyotes. They will often be found entering pastures to eat cow manure for the folic acid.

In addition, the coyotes will also be searching pastures for field mice entering the pastures for seeds. This makes using a mouse squeaker call a valuable calling tool for coyotes during this time.

 

Be sure to have an escape route cleared from around the tree before cutting.

Trouble-Free Tree Felling

Most people feel safe heading out to cut firewood or clear areas for food plots alone. However, felling a tree should never be a one-person operation. Slick, frozen ground, the immense weight of falling and sliding trees, and unexpected shifts of wind can put the lone chainsaw or axe operator in serious jeopardy.

If the tree cutter gets injured or trapped underneath limbs or logs, the companion stands a chance of saving the victim by either removing the tree and debris, or going for help. Otherwise, the accident can happen and there will be no one to save you. Always clear an escape route out from around the tree in case it begins to fall in an unexpected direction.

In addition to having a partner help with tree felling, always make sure the chainsaw is full of gas/oil mix and the bar chain oil is full. The last thing you want to happen is the chainsaw run out of gas in the middle of cutting through a large tree. After ensuring the fuel levels are adequate, determine which way the tree will fall by examining the side where more limbs are located. Remember, if you are on the side of a hill, the angle of the tree can be deceiving.

Late-Season Squirreling

February is an ideal month to get youth involved in the outdoors and develop self- sufficient skills. Deer season is over and hunting pressure in the woods is minimal. Squirrel hunting works well to get youth involved because it is fast paced, chances of getting a harvest are high, and the squirrel is an easy animal to clean and prepare.

Iron Out the Dents

 

During a light rain is a great time to find turkeys around field edges.

On guns with wooden stocks and forearms, small, shallow dents can be removed from the wood with a wet, cotton washcloth and steam iron. Place the wet cloth over the dent and apply the steam iron to the area. The steam entering the porous wood combined with heat expands the wood which helps pull the dent out. Repeat the process until the ding is removed. This method of using hot steam to remove dents works for most all wood surfaces including furniture and other wood working projects.

Scout the Toms

February is an ideal time to scout your property for gobblers that will be sounding off come March. The toms should still be in their bachelor groups, but, by glassing field edges in the pastures, you can get a good idea of the turkeys on your place.

The best time to scout for turkeys is during a light rain. The turkeys will leave the seclusion of the woods during light rain because, when the rain hits the leaves, this noise affects their ability to hear predators. The rain also covers your own approach as you can get really close to them to see just how many toms and hens are on your property.

John Howle is a freelance writer from Heflin.