Archives for January 2015

Winter Storm Warning Trout Fishing

Not knowing a winter storm warning was in effect, my good friend Dustin Wichterman and I hit some high country West Virginia trout streams.  We fished two separate drainages and did pretty well considering the air temperature hovered in the mid twenties.  We mainly fished near spring seeps where the water was a little warmer and aside from some sketchy road conditions, we had a successful day.

West Virginia [Read more…]

Walking a Dog That Doesn’t Want To Be Walked

Working with a young gun dog that still has some puppy characteristics can be very trying.  Often, these bad puppyish traits appear out of nowhere and quickly go away but sometimes, they’re a persisting problem.  My English Setter is one year old, and up until the other day he was not very good at on the leash.  He would pull so hard and most of the time, the verbal commands we worked diligently on did not work.  He pulled like he should have been attached to a sled.

english setter leash [Read more…]

GoPro Gun Mount

I’ve messed around with GoPro cameras since the Hero 2 version and for all their shortcomings, they’re a pretty neat camera.  Not essential by any means, but fun, and every now and then you get something good. Using what I had on my work bench, I cobbled together pretty simple mount for my shotgun that gives a little perspective too.  shotgun gopro [Read more…]

The Void Myth Explained

nobullshitEvery bowhunter has either heard about it or experienced it firsthand…the dreaded shot through “the void.”  That non fatal wound where the arrow supposedly goes above the lungs and below the spine is a thoroughly discussed topic every bow season.  It is also a phenomenon that doesn’t actually exist.

There, I said it.  I’m not talking about other types of wounds like gut shots or one lung hits.  This is solely about the so called void shot.   This isn’t based on opinion and it isn’t up for discussion.  It is settled science based on logic and fact.  The void on a whitetail does not exist and here is why.

Let’s first look at how a set of cervid lungs work.  When the deer takes a breath, the diaphragm and intercostal muscles contract and the chest cavity expands.  When the chest expands, the pressure inside the chest cavity becomes lower than the outside pressure, allowing air to enter the lungs and inflate them.    When deer exhale, the muscles relax, the pressure increases in the chest cavity allowing the lungs deflate.  The lynchpin of this process though is that the chest wall is intact.  If there is a leak, like an arrow wound, the ability of the lungs to inflate is compromised and wouldn’t work out well for the wounded deer.  In humans, a compromised chest wall is referred to as a pneumothorax and it is very serious.  There’s reason number one there is no void.  If the void was real, a deer shot broadside with a hole in each side, a pneumothorax would develop and eventually lay down and suffocate with a set of collapsed lungs.  But we all know that doesn’t happen.

So where does the arrow go on a “void shot?”  The simple answer most of the time is right above the spine.  People highly overestimate the size of the chest cavity.  Look at the photo below.  If you look at the size of the chest cavity in proportion to the space located above the spine, it becomes pretty clear how a “void” shot can look like a chest hit especially if you’re shooting from an elevated position like a tree stand.


deercrossThe final reason there is no void between the lungs and bottom of the spine is because it is physiologically impossible.  A whitetail’s lungs fill its chest cavity.  The idea that the lungs are like little balloons just hanging in empty space is absurd.  The internals of a mammal are set up for efficiency.  There is no wasted space.  If an arrow penetrates the chest cavity, lung tissue is getting cut.  Plain and simple.

There is no void below the spine.  These perceived shots are really just blowing though the back strap and doing no lasting harm.  I’ve skinned several whitetails in the past 10 years that bore these wounds.  In summary, there is a great deal of non vital space to hit, but there is none of this space located below the spine.  If the shot is truly in the chest cavity, you will recover the animal.  A shot north of that will just produce a muscle wound.  End of story.

Random Cell Phone Photos

Going through my cell phone pictures this morning, I picked out several from the last few months that caught my attention.  In no particular order, here they are.

english setter on pointPirate Pete on point in the yard.


yough riverOver the shoulder shot of a client on the Youghiogheny River the first weekend of October.

English Setter PuppyPete with a well earned pheasant wing.

West Virginia Brook TroutA nice little Native Brook Trout with Dustin’s custom 5 weight I built him a few years ago.

West Virginia Brown Trout face

Meadow Run PennsylvaniaView from my office in October.

Bird FarmThe pheasant farm at work on a cool fall evening.




Secondhand Setter

IMG_20141210_172301_zpsmhri2sqdEver since I got married a little over a year ago, my wife has been on me to get a dog.  She wasn’t particular.  Any old dog would do.  I, however, was a little more discerning.  I wanted a dog that I could upland hunt with and still have a nice house pet for her.  Knowing how lovable English Setters are and their potential for being a great companion at home and in the field, I tasked my wife with finding an setter rescue organization.  We have two tabby cats and while they have their own weird cat idiosyncrasies, they’re mine and I wanted a setter that could live along side them and not eat them.  We found Above and Beyond English Setter Rescue and they provided us with a great dog.  Pete was 9 months old when we got him, was socialized with cats, house trained and crate trained.  He’s a small statured Lemon Belton that came from a foster home in Iowa.

I was slightly worried because he was in a non hunting home and he wasn’t aggressive with cats, that his prey drive might be lacking and he wouldn’t hunt.  A little obedience training and I took him afield.  He hunts.  He has a lot of natural ability and what he lacks, he makes up for by quickly learning.  I’m also using just a check cord when training and no electric collar.  He is almost totally whoa broken which is nice.   He is now almost one year old and only been at it a month or so, but he understands the game and is steady to shot.  Retrieving is coming and we have started work on force retrieving and he is responding well.  Above and Beyond English Setter Rescue does a huge job in giving these setters another chance to have a good life.  I wound up with a great bird dog and my wife got a great pet.