Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Deer Processing and Trout Fishing

Weather was perfect today, so I got the kids outside! They had a blast watching us cut up the deer and when we were done we had about a half an hour left to catch a few fish. Trout were biting like crazy! I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story of this picture perfect day in then middle of November:

Can Your Mom Do This?

Mom will kill me when she finds these pictures online, but I just thought they were pretty good! She skipped church today to help me skin and process 4 deer and then when we finished cleaning and packaging em we did a little trout fishing. Not too bad for a 50 year old lady!!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My Illinois Shotgun Opener Buck

I got to my stand about 5 am on Friday morning and had to wait an hour and a half in the pitch black before legal shooting light. Time slowed down to an eternal crawl during that span of waiting, but thats not all bad these days. Anyhow, I was hunting this stand for the first time, and was pretty excited to check out the new surroundings as the light began to arrive. Pretty much everything looks like a deer early in the morning before the sun rises.

Chad walked me to the stand, and even placed a nice doe decoy and apparently dumped some deer urine on it out in the opening 20 yards in front of my stand. Here was my view from the stand:

It didnt take long for the action to warm me right up! At 6:56 am two bucks came trotting along the trail together and came to a complete hault when they came across the stinky decoy. The first buck was a nice tall 8 pointer with fairly thick beam, but abnormally narrow spread. He was definitely the smarter to the two bucks, after sniffing the decoy he looked right at me and quickly jumped on ahead about 10 yards but then stopped. It was like he knew exactly how to get his 'friend' killed! His friend sniffed the decoy as well and I think that urine got the best of him. He too looked over to the right and stared right at me as well, for actually about 30 seconds we stared right at each other, but after our glaring contest he just couldnt get his mind off of the pretty little lady just standing for him.

The moment he turned his head, I lifted my H and R slug gun, placed the crosshairs on his heart and without hesitating fired the slug! The buck spun around 180 degrees and ran full speed about 25 yards directly head first into a very small pond. His head went completely underwater and his back legs kicked furiously for about 30 seconds before he finally drown.

Last year I shot my first buck in the first 10 minutes of the season, and this year I had him down within the first half hour of legal light! I can't actually take any credit for either buck, because my cousin and brothers are the ones who do all the scouting. I just do what they say and sit where they put me and pull the trigger. This is my 2nd buck and 13th deer harvested overall, and I can thank them for every single one of them.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Guided Ice Fishing In Central Illinois

Here is the new guided ice fishing information for Herman Brothers Pond Management for this winter! If we can get some good ice, this will be the very best ice fishing season on record. We spent all spring and summer creating perfect ice fishing structures and manipulating our fish populations. I have not been more excited about an ice fishing season- The prospects are very good!

We offer Fully Guided Fishing Trips on several of our intensively managed exclusive fishing lakes. These lakes are spread across Fulton, Tazewell, Knox, and Peoria counties and are home to some of the very best fish in the midwest! Some of our lakes we have completely set up and managed for the sole purpose of ice fishing. The only fishing pressure they will ever have is for just a few weeks during the winter! We have so many different lakes and ponds to ice fish and so many different species of fish to target, that we can always find a lake with hot action!

Once the lakes freeze solid we spend just about every day of the hard water season out on the Ice! We offer a variety of different Ice Fishing Packages, and for all of them we provide the necessary bait, tackle, equipment, vexilars, fish cleaning, packaging and photos! We provide an ice fishing experience that cannot be equaled anywhere: scenic ice fishing locations, trophy fish, and top of the line equipment and electronics. On top of all this we focus on teaching our clients how to become better fisherman and good stewards of the land.

Private Introduction to Ice Fishing Trip- This is our most favorite 4 hour ice fishing trip! We have several intensively managed fishing lakes that are perfect for this family trip. We provide everything and enjoy teaching you and your family the basics of ice fishing and always catch a ton of fish! We will only schedule this trip on a nice day. Cost is $75 per adult and $50 per child.

Private Ice Fishing Lesson on Your Own Lake or Pond- If you would like to learn how and where to catch fish through the ice on your own body of water, this is the trip for you! We can help you identify good ice fishing spots, teach you proper ice fishing techniques, and also show you how to read a vexilar and even clean the fish! We regularly teach folks how to fish their ponds and not only do we provide all the necessary bait and gear for the trip, but we can also help outfit you with your own set of everything as well. Cost for this trip is $250 and the amount of people you bring along does not matter.

Corporate and Custom Ice Fishing Trips- We have several large trophy fishing lakes that are intensively managed for certain species of fish and considered some of the very best fishing lakes in the United States! Trophy Rainbow Trout, Jumbo Yellow Perch, Monster Bluegill, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Hybrid Striped Bass, Crappie, Northern Pike, Tiger Muskie, Walleye, and Catfish fishing is all WORLD CLASS! Custom Ice Fishing Trips start at $75 per person, and a Fresh Fish Fry on the Ice starts at $150.

Here is a big bluegill video recap of some of our ice fishing trips from last year:

This is a fun video of ice fishing for trout at some of our lakes:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Another Otter Creek Monster Buck

Earlier in October I tried writing about a huge buck harvested at Otter Creek Preserve over near Astoria, Il, but I kept getting off subject as my thoughts and words kept drifting to the world class fishery that this place boasts! Even though we just stocked several thousand walleye, a couple hundred more muskie, and a truckload of rainbow trout just last week, this time I intend to stick much closer to the subect at hand- An absolutely huge 12 point buck just harvested by Ryan Pudik. This is his second buck this archery season well over 170 inches! With very limited hunting pressure to begin with and the fact that Otter Creek is archery hunting only, I would imagine that place is going to start filling up with deer over the next couple weeks from the surrounding areas!

Here are a couple more pics of this Central Illinois Trophy Buck:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Monster Illinois Deer Bow Kill!

My good friend Todd Staley has been renovating an old farm in Fulton County for quite awhile now! He has been working on a nice smallmouth bass pond, some wetlands, food plots, and just been transforming the farm into ideal habitat for ducks, geese, pheasants and deer.

His efforts have just recently paid off! When he was out bow hunting last thursday evening, Todd was able to harvest this monster 12 pointer! The deer gave him a perfect 20 yard shot from his stand and Todd was fortunate to not have seen this deer coming from the standing corn or Buck Fever would have for sure kicked in! Let me just say it is much harder to shoot straight when your heart is literally pounding out of your chest. Its much easier to harvest a buck when you dont have time to think, but just to react.

Here are some more pictures of this buck of a lifetime:

Peak of the Rut.....Chicago Shopping!

Well, its the peak of the whitetail deer rut, geese and ducks are flying, pheasants and quail are in season, and the fish are actually still biting pretty aggressively...........and this weekend I was in Chicago shopping!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dont get me wrong, I had a great time away from the kids and work (Brook will read this blog post eventually) but no matter how much we needed a weekend away from the kids (for the first time in 2 years) Its just hard to be in Chicago, and shopping to boot.

Grandma and Grandpa took the kids to Fun City in Iowa on Thursday afternoon so Brook and I booked a last minute hotel on and stayed at the 4 star Hyatt Lodge for $60 that night. I had to work South of Chicago on Friday anyways, so we just made a weekend out of it.

Friday morning well before rush hour traffic I headed over to Art Van Barens new pond near Beecher, IL. We hooked up a vertex air one plus aeration system and then formulated a gameplan to turn this 1/2 acre pond into the very best backyard fishin' hole imaginable. A few weeks earlier we stocked 100 lbs of feed trained largemouth bass, and thousands of fathead minnows and golden shiners. With a feeding program in place for next season and a properly designed pond with aeration system, I expect great things from this pond by the end of 2010! By the time the pond is exactly 1 year old, he is going to have a 2.5 lb average on these genetically superior LMB!!!!

I didnt really want to rush back to the mall, so we spent a couple hours checking out a couple other ponds, Art's factory (which is AMAZING!), and even did a little fishing. Then after lunch I really needed to head back up north to the windy city. I just could not imagine living anywhere near there- there are just people and traffic everywhere.

So the next 24 hours really werent that bad, but boy was I glad to be on the road headed back towards God's country with a deep dish giordonno's chicago pizza and a 6-pack of cinnabons Saturday evening. The only good thing about Chicago is the food!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mid-November Crappie, Bluegill, Perch.....

Went out trout fishing Monday afternoon with Mike Steffa, Justin, Dad, and his friend Todd. We took out the pontoon boat in search of some golden and rainbow trout and were pleasantly surprised with some nice crappies, bluegill, perch, walleye, largemouth bass, and some trout! 

The fish were not too active, and we really didnt catch tons of fish, but we did muster up quite a variety of some real nice fish. Check out these fishing pictures from the middle of November!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Heatwave and some Hot Fishing Too

We bolted out of church pretty quick today and headed towards the lake pretty much as fast as humanly possible. Justin came and picked me and the kids up and we headed out to the lake to meet up with Chad and my parents! 70 degrees and sunny doesnt happen too often in November, and we were not about to let this kind of heavenly weather slip away unutilized.

Upon arrival at the lake we sighted in our slug guns for deer season! I just cant say enough how awesome those H and R slug guns are. We could make 3" groups dead on with hornady slugs at 150 yards! At 200 yards the slugs are still fairly straight, but drop about 7-8 inches. I cant even see the targets from that far without using the scope.

Anyhow after about an hour of shooting guns and we headed out fishing! Mae and Noah were more interested in playing on the beach with Grandma and boy were they having fun.

So we get out fishing and we had a bit of controversy to resolve. Dad wanted to fish over here, Chad wanted to fish over there, I wanted to fish across the way, and Justin really didnt care. So after wasting a few minutes going back and forth we resolved the matter by giving each person 30 minutes of whatever type of fishing they wanted to do and where- and it worked out great for some of us!

Chad picked the first spot and hit the jackpot, we gave him an A+. Justin and I both landed some real nice smallmouth bass!

Chad also got into the smallie action (emphasis on the small...hehe)

A couple rainbows and a golden trout capped off this spot, then off to Dad's 30 minutes (more like an hour). Well here are some pics from dads hot spot.............. .................. Oh wait a minute, we never caught a fish while he was captain. We gave him an F.

Then Justin and I kind of joined up for the last spot, since we both knew where we wanted to go and time was running short. We headed to the sunken boats and they produced some nice rainbows, golden trout, and a monster bluegill:

This trip, even though I was schooling Chad, Justin, and Dad....haha.... I wasnt actually taking or teaching anyone how to fish- I was actually fishing. For those of you regular blog readers (both of you), there usually arent many pics of me holding fish, but this time I was fishing the whole trip, and since I was fishing with my competitive family and writing the blog, I might be just a tad biased with this post!

Fall Fish Stocking Finally Done, Now Time for Fun!

Friday evening about 5:30 and we rolled out of Mr. Obrien's pond after unloading our last fish of the fall fish stocking season here in Central Illinois! Over the last few weeks we have been unloading fish trucks from Arkansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Northern Illinois, and Minnesota. Sounds fairly simple to stock a pond or two with some fish, but it actually is the most stressful aspect of my job!!
Here is the last tiger muskie of the year going into Jared's pond. I didnt take many pictures of fish stocking this season, because it was mainly cold, dark, and rainy most of the time, or we were in a big hurry the rest of the time.

When the fish are harvested, they need to be stocked regardless of the weather or time of day they arrive. We spent many days this fall stocking fish till well past midnight, and many times it took several days straight to get all the fish to their new homes! We stocked over 40 lakes and ponds this fall with over 10000 walleye; thousands of catfish, hybrid striped bass, bluegill, crappie and yellow perch; hundreds of muskie, tiger muskie, and northern pike; thousands of lbs of feed trained largemouth bass and rainbow trout; a couple thousand smallmouth bass fingerlings; and hundreds of thousands of fatheads and shiners!!!!!!

While it is pretty stressful coordinating and delivering fish it is also pretty neat as well! We made a few smallmouth bass only lakes, feed trained bass ponds, trophy trout fishin holes, and one of my favorite stocking projects of the last few years is turning a 32 acre carp infested lake into a world class tiger muskie, northern pike and walleye fishery!
This year instead of just adding fingerlings to that lake, we turned back the clock a few years and added a whole bunch of 3-7 year old northern pike from 25-42 inches long!!!

Anyhow, friday evening I got home and spent the next 51 hours just playing with my kids, and it was great! We picked corn for the geese, rode in a boat across the pond, walked to the apple orchard, fed the goats, went down a big slide 100 times, rode a hayrack ride, took a ride in a monster truck, rode Justin's 4-wheeler for a couple hours, and each had about 5 bags of cotton candy throughout the day. Here is noah stuffing it in as fast as possible!
Noah and Tess on the monster truck.
Tess, Mae, and Ariya are a bit scared, but loving it!
Noah on the Train!

Brook was out of town with some friends at a conference and we just spent every minute of Saturday playing and helping out at the garage sale!

The garage sale is a whole nother topic, but here goes. Recently we moved from our house into a nice 3 bedroom apartment while we are looking for a house to fix up and move into. Anyhow we had a whole bunch of stuff with no place to put it. Also my parents are getting ready to move as well so we combined all our stuff and had a huge indoor garage sale at the barn. Now here is the kicker- we decided to donate all of the proceeds of the sale to feed the children at Gabriels school down in Haiti and with a few posts on craigslist, facebook, etc we had absolutely tons of people come and donate stuff to the sale as well as volunteer throughout! Literally hundreds of people came to the sale on Friday and Saturday and we made a total of $8710 and are not only able to feed the kids at the school for over a year, but a few thousand dollars will help fix some electrical problems down there as well!!!!!