A Great Hunting Forum: TalkHunting.com **



Although I’ve followed TalkHunting.com through their tweets, I recently spent time on the site and like what I see.   If you are into hunting – this is a very friendly place.

With All the Tips & Hints Flying Around on TalkHunting.com, These Turkeys Should Be Shaking in their Shoes!


I’m not sure 400 words is enough room to explain this site!  A year ago, they decided to collect wild game recipes for a cookbook and recipes started to arrive.  Are you familiar with “Canned Venison/Elk?”  I wasn’t.

At the bottom of page one, Captain Dale offers the recipe as a pdf file.   Put raw slices of meat with some condiments in canning jars. By the time the pressure cooker has done its job, the meat is cooked and processed.

Forums for Various Types of Hunting

Although there are areas of general interest (Announcements & Events; Free Classified Ads, etc.), there are separate forums for specific hunting interests:  Deer, Turkey, Big Game,  Water Fowl & Game Birds, Other Critters (hogs, predators, etc.), and Hunting with Kids.

The thing that impressed me most was hunters helping hunters – with tips and suggestions.  An example in the “Turkey Hunter > New Turkey Hunter” Forum:  Someone new to hunting turkey asked how to get started. Seasoned hunters welcomed the newcomer and shared useful advice.

Free Hunting Products Given Away Monthly

An interesting aside to this site is the fact that hunting product sponsors offer a variety of items to be given away each month!  TalkHunting.com has devised a great way to distribute those prizes.

Members (yes, you must be a registered member to qualify) must promote the quality of the forum by participating in discussions.  You need to offer a minimum number of posts for your name to be added to the pot for the drawings.  Additional posts by members mean more chances of winning!

Why I Like This Site

I’m a native Houstonian and our family moved a great deal during my early years. Chatting with a stranger has never come naturally to me.  In fact, the entire concept of “social media” leaves me cold.

However, I’ve really enjoyed lurking (reading, but not commenting)* on this site.  I’ve learned quite a bit in the time I’ve spent there.

If you are looking for friendly folks, lots of support, interesting stories and photos, this is a great spot.   Say … lets lurk together!

On the site, I’m “marylouise22.”


* Lurking is common for newcomers; you learn how things work, how to comment, etc.  Of course, the expectation is that before long, you will want to participate.  This is a easy site to get started.


‘Proud Crowd’ is used by permission of ClearVue Graphics!


This blog is a companion to my website: GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com


Even More: Kids and Squirrel Hunting

Hunting Squirrels on the Water



Squirrel Close-Up

Hunting tree rats from a boat is a great idea! Squirrels like to  live and eat near water.

If there is a body of water in the place you plan to hunt, this  may be an option. Floating down a stream can be silent.

Taking a canoe, Jon-boat or even a large inner tube will help you to travel over a large area in record time.

(On second thought, adults in large inner tubes might be a better idea than kids in them.  Having their attention diverted in too many directions [protecting their gun from water, staying balanced in the tube, watching for squirrels, etc.] might be a bad idea for youngsters.)

The advantage to having two in a boat is fairly obvious. One tends to the boat while another watches for squirrels.

Often, the two take turns navigating the boat; after one shot, that person guides the boat and the other person has a shot.

This is a logical choice; if you recall when discussing squirrel varieties, I mentioned that tree rats prefer to live in and around forests — close to water.

Another reason this is a great choice, depending on the age of the youngster with you, he/she may get tired of stalking fairly early.

The Third Type of Squirrel Hunting


A critter that eats till he drops!

Fighting off starvation any way he can!

When I read about this style, I was stunned by the cleverness of it!  I’ve made a big to-do about dry, crisp leaves and childrens’ difficulty traveling over them.

In my travels over the South during the past couple of years, I’ve been shocked by the arid, desert-like conditions.  Georgia and Texas have been particularly hit by drought.

In The Ultimate Guide to Small Game and Varmint Hunting, by H. Lea Lawrence, he suggests that you use a topographical map to find any railroad tracks (in your hunt area)!

The railroad companies keep their track easements clear. It is much easier to travel on tracks than on ground littered with twigs and brush.

Mr. Lawrence makes a point about abandoned tracks, too. Generally, these are also cleared and would make good trails through woods.

As soon as you see a likely spot, veer off the tracks and get started stalking  or sitting.

Next part: In a few days,when I return to this subject,  I’ll give a list of things to consider taking  on your next squirrel hunting trip.


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

More: Kids and Squirrel Hunting

Over the course of this series of articles, I’m going to discuss 3 types of squirrel hunting. Only you can decide which method fits the age and  experience level of the youngster you are mentoring.

Of course, weather and hunting conditions will also affect your choice.

First Type of Squirrel Hunting


A Douglas Squirrel

A Douglas Squirrel


Stalking is the most common type of squirrel hunting. If your pupil has learned the basic parts of keeping silent, moving slowly and learning to watch for squirrels (see Part 1 for more info), then this type of hunting puts all of that into practice.

Because kids have a hard time staying still, stalking helps them work off their extra energy.

Discussing the type of ground that you will walk over will be important. Few kids understand the difficulty of traveling quietly over dry, crisp leaves.

If the area you are hunting is parched dry, sitting down and waiting for squirrels may be the best idea.

If you have an opportunity to “scope out”  the area before the day you will be hunting, it helps to find places where squirrels have been feeding.

Then you can find likely hiding places or sitting positions. By clearing noise producers (dry leaves and twigs) out of your hiding/sitting places, it will make things easier when you are trying to move around in the dark before dawn.

How the Weather Affects Hunting Squirrels

Squirrels are like kids — they like to be out on calm days. They don’t seem to be troubled by sun, clouds or light rain.

However, windy days or turbulent weather helps squirrels decide to hunker-down in their nests or tree holes.

Stalking is more difficult when the leaves are on the ground. Squirrels are noted for their keen eyesight. With no leaves to hide you, squirrels will probably see you long before you catch sight of them.

Squirrel Hunting Season

Each state sets its own dates for hunting squirrel.  Unlike turkey hunting season, squirrel season has nothing to do with breeding.  This is because squirrels reproduce throughout the year, rather than in one season.

Some states have spring and fall squirrel season, some have just hunting in the fall and a few states have year-round hunting.

Next time: Hunting squirrels on water … and more!


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Taking Kids Hunting for Squirrels

Taking Kids Hunting for Squirrels

In the Fall, Squirrels Move to Trees With Nuts!

Now that we know the diet and range of squirrels, let’s go hunting!  The fourmain things I think kids learn from squirrel hunting are: 

  • patience
  • stealth (how to walk slowly and quietly)
  • an appreciation for silence & the sounds of nature
  • bonding with the ‘teacher’ – kids know that their parents’ time is valuable; by taking time, they show they value their son/grandson/niece/neighbor (and that develops self-esteem)


Kids need to complete a hunter education course before being given a gun.


You will find that you really enjoy teaching youngsters how to hunt squirrels (or anything else). It’s an opportunity to continue an American tradition.

I can’t tell you how many reluctant “hunting-lore teachers” dread the experience (before the fact) and beam with pleasure after the experience.

It’s your opportunity to share your love of hunting with the next generation.

Preliminary Training

If kids learn these skills before the day of the hunt, it will be more enjoyable for all.

  • Teach them how to walk “Indian style” – quietly thru the woods; the object is not be be seen or heard; twigs, leaves, rocks require different approaches
  • Teach them how to walk silently on dry leaves (noise alerts the squirrels; very difficult to keep silent on crackling leaves)
  • Why and how to move in slow motion (swatting a fly, turning your head quickly alerts squirrels to motion and movement)
  • Teach hunting lore (how to spot where squirrels have been feeding; what kind of trees local squirrels prefer, etc.)
  • Teach kids to recognize signs of squirrel activity

There are skills you can share that will help them to trick squirrels – who have excellent hearing and seeing abilities —

  • You can use the squirrel’s chattering noise to cover your noise
  • They create lots of noise when there are multiple squirrels
  • They create noise when they are breaking into shells (their attention is diverted and you can move your position or gun)
  • Squirrels can’t hear your noise over their noise


Next time: 3 types of squirrel hunting; equipment needed and more!


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on March 23, 2009 at 9:20 pm  Comments Off on Taking Kids Hunting for Squirrels  
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Fascinating Facts About Flying Squirrels

The Southern Flying Squirrels

The southern flying squirrels are strictly night eaters (of berries, insects, nuts, fungi). 

You can't just eat one!

Betcha can't eat just one!


Terribly shy, they reside in tree holes in hardwood forests. They glide, rather than fly.

They range in all of the eastern US (except New England and the lower tip of Florida), as far west as Minnesota, eastern Kansas  and Texas.

Northern Fliers

Ditto for the northern flying squirrel, except that they live in Alaska, Canada, California, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho and spreading to the east as far as New England and the Appalachians.

Predators of Flying Squirrels

Flying squirrels have an average lifespan of about 6 years in the wild; in captivity, they last more than twice as long!

Unfortunately, a variety of predators feast on these rare squirrels (rare in comparison to the other subspecies of squirrels).  Coyotes, snakes, night owls, raccoons, and even the domestic cat prey on these small animals.



This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Helping Youngsters Learn to Hunt Squirrels!

From personal experience, I know that squirrels come from far and wide to hang their “Home, Sweet Home” sign in trees with nuts.

When Hurricane Ike blew through here last September,j0236412 MDH’s* pecan crop lay littered over the ground. Would the squirrels eat them?

Nope, they wanted fresh ones – and stripped the trees of the remaining pecans.

In Some States: Squirrels = Varmints

I think we are sending a confused message about these rodents. Where we live, squirrels can be shot year round. However, in Houston (a mere 35 miles away), squirrels are protected!

If you are trying to help a youngster get started hunting, squirrels might be just the right target. The skills a young person develops hunting these creatures carries over to larger game.

For example, squirrels are wary and have sharp ears and eyes. Learning to travel in the woods, searching for these tree rats is great training for hunting wild turkeys, etc.

63 Species – From 2 Ozs. to 20 Lbs.

There are an incredible 63 species in this group, from mini-chipmunks to huge marmots (up to 20 lbs.). Today and tomorrow, I’ll offer info about some of the most common tree squirrels, what they eat, etc.; then come back and discuss hunting methods with kids.

Gray Squirrels

Probably the most common ‘shade tail’ in America, they live wherever nuts are grown.  Grays also love corn and can decimate cornfields throughout the growing season!

Everyone knows the ‘old wives’ tale’ that squirrels remember where they bury their nuts. Not so, say biologists. Instead, they use their incredible sense of smell to find them when food is scarce.

Where winters are harsh, grays move into holes (created by disease or woodpeckers). When the weather warms, they tend to build nests in the crooks/forks of  limbs.

When there is enough food, grays prefer to eat in early am and late afternoon. In times of  want, they must feed all day to get enough. What is less known is that these animals like to feed on tree buds in the moonlight (during the spring season).

Grays range over the largest area – Manitoba, all of the eastern states, Iowa, and eastern North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas.

They also live in the widest range of habitats: swamps, hardwood forests, piney woods,  and cleared areas with thin tree stands along rivers, thickets and urban areas.

Next: Other tree squirrels: fox squirrels, Abert’s squirrels, red squirrel and the northern and southern flying squirrels.


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

It’s Friday. Some Absolutely Worthless Info!


Great for Hunting in Snow!


This has been a hard week.  Since Friday has FINALLY arrived, let the silliness begin!

As I have mentioned before, WordPress has a nifty tool that tells us how people find our site.  Usually, seekers enter words into the search engine, and Google, or others, try to find a page with info to help.

Real Ghillie Suit

I certainly hope the seeker does not find a real ghillie suit.  About 30 years ago, MDH Richard brought dozens of burlap bags to me and asked if I’d make him a ghillie suit.

Obviously, I wasn’t in my right mind when I said, “Sure!”  So I started to cut, stitch and itch!  The burlap bags reeked; the stray fibers filled my sewing machine and lungs.

When I finished, I took a much-needed rest cure in a German sanitorium for folks who have taken in more dust particles than brain cells.

Actually, I learned that the original isn’t always the best. Those suits were hot, itchy and stank! It didn’t take long before manufacturers changed to lighter, washable fabrics …. And, I learned they were well worth the price!

Hunting Clothes for 7 year-olds

This is the second WordPress item of interest.  Even though there are fewer kids out hunting, they are dressed better than ever before!

Until this past holiday season, I didn’t even try to carry kids’ ghillie suits. Why?

No one could keep ‘kids hunting wear’ in stock! I don’t think manufacturers had an inkling how hot (popular) these suits would be!

If you are planning to get one of these suits for your junior hunter this fall, buy it out-of-season.

Ok, so today won’t be a total loss, here’s a hunting joke. I found it @ http://huntingjokes.thejokeindex.com

Today’s Joke:  He Walks on Water

An avid duck hunter was in the market for a new bird dog. His search ended when he found a dog that could actually walk on water to retrieve a duck. Shocked by his find, he was sure none of his friends would ever believe him.

He decided to try to break the news to a friend of his, the eternal complainer who refused to be impressed with anything. This, surely, would impress him. He invited him to hunt with him and his new dog.

As they waited by the shore, a flock of ducks flew by.  They fired, and a duck fell.  The dog responded and jumped into the water.

The dog, however, did not sink but instead walked across the water to retrieve the bird, never getting more than his paws wet.

This continued all day long.  The complainer watched carefully, saw everything, but did not say a single word.

On the drive home the hunter asked his friend, “Did you notice anything unusual about my new dog?”

“I sure did,” responded the complainer. “He can’t swim.”


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on January 23, 2009 at 9:10 am  Comments Off on It’s Friday. Some Absolutely Worthless Info!  
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How to Take Up Hunting; How do I Get Started?


Targeting a New Sport!

Targeting a New Sport!


This question, asked on this site earlier last week, has required some thought. Traditionally, relatives have taken youngsters under their wing by ‘showing them the ropes’ and taking them on hunts and fishing expeditions.

With single parent homes, this tradition has fallen away. Fewer than 3% of hunters and anglers are now under 17 years of age. (For more info on this, see my earlier articles: Where Have All the Hunters Gone? parts 1 & 2, and Why Should You Get Your Kids Interested in Hunting?

A Generation of Non-Hunters & Anglers

I’m surprised to read how many people are trying to get started hunting and/or fishing. This is a wonderful sign, but it must be difficult for newcomers. How does an adult experience something he/she didn’t learn earlier?

Here’s the list, then I’ll explain.

Find a mentor/friend.

Would-be hunters need to take a Hunter Education class.

For anglers, take Boater Education class. (or like-named course)

Get proper license(s).

Start target practice, sighting in gun, with help of friend or mentor.

Go on a fishing or hunting trip (or 2 or 3) with mentor/friend (possibly using his/her extra equipment).

Now, go purchase gun and/or fishing equipment.

Getting Started

Finding a mentor will simplify the task greatly. You’ve probably heard hunters and anglers talking about their latest trip. Take someone you feel friendly toward aside and ask if you might join him/her.

Contact your state “parks and wildlife” department for info about hunter and/or boater education classes. These courses discuss archery, as well as conventional firearms.

Texas Parks & Wildlife Internet site is: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us and their telephone # is: 800-792-1112. They can direct you to info about your state.

Bear in mind, even learners must have a license to fish or hunt. Most sporting stores, gun shops and Wal-Mart have the annual issued by your state on this year’s hunting and fishing regulations.

Pick up a copy and read it carefully. Ignorance to the law isn’t considered a valid excuse for breaking a game law. A ticket can really dim your enjoyment of the sport!

Archery, Guns, Equipment

Most sporting newbies want to hit the  gun shops first. However, you lack the skill or experience to make a great choice. By borrowing or renting equipment, you have an opportunity to ‘test drive’ before you buy.


In my experience, hunters & anglers are a very generous group. Just letting others know you are interested is enough to get you started – in most instances.

But remember, once you are an experienced hunter/angler, share your knowledge with others! I’ll bet there’s a youngster in your family who would love to join you!  Pass it on!


Did I leave something out? Share your knowledge with others! Leave a comment!


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on January 4, 2009 at 8:02 pm  Comments Off on How to Take Up Hunting; How do I Get Started?  
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Why Should You Get Your Kids Interested in Hunting?


northern pintails

Our American Heritage


Hunting is part of our American heritage. However, if parents don’t take the time to introduce and encourage their children to hunt, the opportunity could disappear in your children’s lifetime.

Don’t believe me? Many hunting blogs and associations are singing this same song:  Hunting is declining across America.

Fewer Hunters in America

A headline in an Illinois newspaper shouts, “Declining Numbers in Illinois Could Put Hunters on ‘Endangered Species List‘.”  I’ll spend time in a future blog explaining why this will be a serious financial, political and lifestyle change that will have huge implications. However, today I’d like to concentrate on ‘getting kids interested in hunting.’

Why Hunting and Fishing Matter

Going hunting is great exercise. It just might be your child’s first experience in smog-free air!

Since they will soon be the stewards of our country, it is important for them to understand why we need to preserve animals’ habitat. They only learn that we don’t need another strip mall by experiencing the beauty of their natural  surroundings.

Kids don’t learn these niceties from books or videos. They learn the importance of nature from people who already have a reverence for vast spaces of natural beauty.  Generally, they get this knowledge from their parents, grandparents and/or extended family.

As a therapist, I know that hunting gives parent and child an opportunity to spend large blocks of time together. They learn anew of each other’s uniqueness. It often is a bridge to sharing – with few distractions (cell phones, etc., usually don’t work in sparsely populated areas).

Kids Crave Their Parents’ Attention

One of the things youngsters complain most about their parents is: they feel their parents are too busy for them. With a slower pace and more time, parents and children can both feel they are heard.  As a parent, you know that it is a great feeling to share your knowledge of tracking wild animals, teaching survival skills and showing that you are smarter than most of the parents on television!

Hunting Teaches Responsibility

Taking children hunting is a fantastic way to teach responsibility. Kids learn they have to earn the privilege of taking up arms – by taking hunting safety courses, learning to shoot and proving their understanding of the seriousness of carrying lethal arms.

Too often, kids get a “pass” from doing something hard or uninteresting or complicated because they are “cute,” “in sports” or their parents are Mr. and Mrs. So-And-So. This is not good training for life.

Because hunting requires youngsters to prove competency before getting privileges, it trains them to know they have to give something before they get something. Generally, I find kids who are hunters to be more mature than other youngsters their ages!

In our family, we have a rule: We eat what we kill. This taught our youngsters not to take aim at wild things they don’t want to eat. Our son went through a phase in which he wanted to shoot birds.

I told him that it was OK as long as he ate everything he killed.  Having to eat his first bird, an old robin, cured him of wanting to shoot any more birds!

Our Children as a New Generation of Teddy Roosevelts

Taking kids hunting is a great way to teach conservation – the need to preserve what we have for future generations. Since Teddy Roosevelt is gone, who else will protect our hunting and fishing lands? We must train our children – girls and boys – to be the conservators of the future.

Feedback: We have younger adult readers who may not know how and when to get their kids interested in hunting.  Will you please share your expertise?

I’d like to hear when you started taking your children hunting.

How did you get your kids interested in hunting?

What did your kids hunt first?


A very, very Happy Birthday to our Son, Chris!


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com