MOUNT HOPE — The 14th annual Northeast Ohio Sportsman’s Show wrapped up Saturday night for three days, and once again the show featured some of the coldest weather of the year.
Inside the Mount Hope Event Center, however, more than 170 vendors warmed up the space and thousands of attendees walked through the aisles to book hunting or fishing trips, buy gear, talk shop or just dream of the outdoor opportunities.
I sat down with several of the show’s seminar speakers and asked them to boil down their talks to a few tips and tricks. And the common theme throughout was not cutting corners, not seeking instant gratification, and instead going hunting and fishing for the challenge.
And, no one said it better than Maine guide Randy Flannery, who talked about deer stalking.
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“Good old-fashioned logging skills aren’t passed on”
“A compass is the first thing I put in my pocket when I go hunting,” said Flannery, who guides in some of the most remote lands in the continental United States. “The skills of good old lumberjacks are not passed on. Man created GPS, but God created magnetic north. Who would you trust? »
Flannery asked a candid question, which was the basis of his talk about deer stalking.
“Why would you sit and wait for something to come to you when you don’t know if or when it’s going to happen,” Flannery said. “Especially when you have concrete evidence of deer tracks directly on the ground in front of you. If you follow this trail to the end, you will find a deer.
David Hershberger of Hillcrest Lumber, whose talks about managing your property for timber and big money are always a hit with locals, noted that often hunters can’t see the forest for the trees.
“As hunters, we tend to focus too much on the details and not enough on the big picture, when it comes to designing a hunting property,” Hershberger said. “We put things, like food plots, in the wrong places and don’t look at the big picture.”
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A to Z knowledge of deer and turkey hunting
Fred and Greg Abbas came from Michigan to the Northeast Ohio Sportsman Show, and they teamed up for back-to-back deer and turkey hunting talks. Owners of Away Hunting Products, Greg, 80, had a wealth of knowledge to share during his seminars, which focused on fake scratches, from A to Z.
“Start early and condition the bucks, and when the time comes, pre-rut and rut, they’ll work their way in, it’ll be like the spokes of a wagon wheel,” said Greg Abbas.
When this happens, he muds their paths and makes plaster casts of their hoof prints.
“Then I match their fingerprint with their helmet,” he continued. “Now I know where they’re coming from and then I can come up with a plan to intercept them. You never want to chase a dollar on the source that attracts them.
His son Greg Abbas talked about turkey hunting, and he said the best way to catch a boss gobbler is to find where they are roosting first.
“Get out early, before dawn and sit down and listen, don’t even take a call with you,” Greg Abbas said. “You will hear them swallow. Then, when they descend from the perch, pay attention to the direction in which they are going. They will take the same direction 80% of the time. »
Once they’re gone, go find the roost area, which will be littered with turkey droppings, then set up 100-120 yards from the roost for your hunt. While Abbas says it’s fun to call a turkey, this technique works even on windy days and bad weather when calling is difficult.
“They’ll still follow the same route, and you can make a soft tree-like squeal when they’re on the roost, and a few soft purrs when they’re on the ground,” Abbas said. “Every year they roost in the same spot, and you can settle in the same area and be successful every year.”
Chris Skrant, who runs Flyway Outdoors in Medina County, offered tips on broadcasting goose decoys and the best options for a successful dove hunt.
Decoys can make or break a goose chase
For the upcoming late-season goose season, Skrant says the right decoy spread in today’s snowy conditions can make or break a hunt.
“You’ll want to call aggressively and group all your feeding lures in the middle,” Skrant said. “You want to put your sentinels, the ones with their heads held high, on the outside. The feeders in your hole tell those geese in the air where the food is, so you can direct those birds where to land.
“The geese are in groups, but they are not friendly,” Skrant continued. “The geese on the ground say. ‘don’t take my food’, and those in the air say, ‘we’ll take your food.’
When it comes to dove hunting, which Skrant says is best in October and November instead of the September opening, cut fields and newly plowed fields are prime locations.
“Doves can’t jump or scratch for food, so they eat anything on the ground,” Skrant said. “They can’t jump over brush, so you need something fairly clear.”
Look for adjacent areas with dead trees for doves to roost on, and a must-have are several battery-powered dove decoys set up in the grounds.
Let the fish tell you what’s going on
At the fishing seminar at Hawg Trough, bass angler Jim Vitaro said fishing ‘history’ can be a good thing, but it can also get in the way of you having perhaps your best day fishing.
“You have to let the fish tell you what’s going on,” Vitaro said. “Being open-minded. Maybe that’s something the local guys don’t do. The fish will tell you everything you need to know, you just have to analyze everything that’s going on.
“It can turn a good day into a great day,” he added. “I pay attention to what’s going on all the time.”
Buckeye Lake sageye fishing guru Doug Stewart doubled down on the Sportsman Show because panfish speaker Nate Boldman had a family emergency and couldn’t attend.
Stewart said trolling shouldn’t be overlooked when looking for slab shit, and he was very specific about how to do it.
“Take a No. 5 articulated Shad Rap in Fire Tiger and toll it on an 8-pound fluorocarbon line at 1.2 mph,” Stewart said. “It will dive 12 feet and fish in 12 to 18 feet of water in late summer and fall when they shoal on the flats. It is an essential approach.
You have no way of knowing how fast you’re dragging, so Stewart says it’ll be 1.2 MPH “when your rod starts vibrating.”
Outside Correspondent Art Holden can be reached at [email protected]