3 National Parks to Visit in 2016

yosemite National park

Yosemite National Park

This specific national park is probably one of the most well known across the country. It became even more famous last January when Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson were the first ones ever to do a free ascent of El Captian’s Dawn Wall. It is even more impressive when you take into account that the 3,000 foot smooth granite wall is considered one of the hardest, if now the hardest rock to climb on the planet. For us regular people who just want to go and look at El Captian’s Dawn Wall I recommend going to El Captian Meadow where you can get the best view of El Capitan.

Grand View Point Overlook, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park

This National Park is on my personal list of national parks, the 5,200 feet deep canyon is truly one of the most impressive displays of mother nature not just in the United States but the world as well. It should come as no surprise that this canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. There are many things to do here but the idea that is recommended to me the most is rafting on the Grand Canyon’s 277 mile reach. I was surprised that the requirements for this make it accessible to pretty much any one over the age of twelve who has reasonably good health. The trip only takes six to seven days depending on the guide and does not require any padding experience. When I make my way to the Grand Canyon that is something I will do for sure.

Glacier

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is known for its huge mountain peaks, gorgeous alpine lakes and its glaciers (as I am sure you put together by the name). Unlike the other national parks this one actually has an expiration date. As of today there are only twenty five glaciers of that original 150 that existed in 1850. Some estimates put that by 2030 there will be no more glaciers left. If there is one National Park that you plan to visit in the next year, this is it!

Hunting Tips: Upland Game & Waterfowl

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We are back to discuss some new hunting tips and advice. As any good hunter is aware, the learning process is never ending. In this article, we will be discussing ways to improve your success hunting upland game or waterfowl. For more information, please check out Outdoor Life.Here are three great tips for when you are hunting for upland game or waterfowl.

1) Glassing For Ducks

When jump-shooting ducks along streams or potholes, use a good set of binocular to scan the area for distant ducks. If possible, make your observation while looking through brush. Ducks have great eyesight, so they will fly off if they spot you nearby.

2) Don’t Spook The Ringnecks

Wild pheasants are easily frightened by the sound of vehicles, dogs and voices. Most birds will start running or flying away at the first sign of humans in the area. To help prevent the birds from doing so, park as far as possible from where you expect to hunt and approach the area as quietly as possible.

3) Taking Down Grouse

As you are probably aware, ruffed grouse are masters at flying through tickets. Many hunters pass up shots if the birds are not in the clear. However, this is a big mistake. You should never pass up shots if you can see the blur of a grouse as it blasts through brush, but if you take this approach then you need to know exactly where the other members of your hunting group are at all times. If you continually pass up birds, you might never get a single shot all day.

Hunting Tips: Staying Warm

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We are back to discuss some new hunting tips and advice. As any good hunter is aware, the learning process is never ending. In this article, we will be discussing ways to stay warm while you are are outside hunting on a colder day. For more information, please check out Outdoor Life. Here are four great tips to stay warm while hunting.

1) Don’t Sweat It

Perspiration is one of your biggest enemies on a cold day. Take every precaution that you can to keep dry. This means that if you need to take off layers of clothes as you walk in frigid temperatures to avoid sweating, you take off those layers. When you sit for any length of time outside, you will guarantee yourself that you will get chilled if you have worked up a sweat beforehand.

2) Sleep In Comfort

A cot in an unheated tent or cabin will keep you cold all night if you do not have a pad underneath your sleeping bag. If you do not have a pad, spread out your clothing to insulate you from the cold air under the cot. The loft in your bag is compressed from the weight of your body, offering little to no insulation when in contact with the thin fabric of a cot.

3) Cold-Weather Horsemanship

Riding a horse in the cold weather will make you colder much faster, especially if you end up sitting for long periods of time. Warm up by walking the horse downhill. This will help you get your blood moving, and it is certainly good horsemanship to give the animal a break every so often.

4) Bring Your Best Bag

During a cold-weather hunt, you will want to make sure you have your best sleeping bag by your side, even if you are staying in a hunt or cabin with a wood stove. The fire is bound to go out during the middle of the night, and the temperature inside will not be much better than the temperature outside. A lightweight summer bag is only practical for use in the summer.

Four New and Exciting Outdoor Adventures To Try

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It’s always beneficial to get out of your house and enjoy the outdoors. On a regular day, the way to do this might be going for a walk, jog or bike ride. But sometimes it’s nice to really get out of the hustle and bustle. You may want to leave your hometown for a while to explore the great outdoors. It may seem intimidating at first, but immersing yourself in nature is a beautiful and exhilarating experience.

Spending some time in the rough of nature, regardless of what you’re doing, is a great way to truly sit back and appreciate life. When humans interact with nature, we gain a greater appreciation for the world around us. Don’t know what outdoor adventure is right for you? Here is a list of outdoor adventures that are bound to help you appreciate nature while also exercising and getting out of the usual routine.

1) Trail Running

You may be used to running on a treadmill or around your local neighborhood, but trail running creates an entirely different experience. When you run on a trail through nature, you never know what to expect. The unexpected nature of your surroundings truly allows you to be taken aback by just how incredible nature is. Not to mention, you’ll be exercising your mind by assessing the world around you while also exercising your body.

2) Whitewater Kayaking

Kayaking can seem dangerous, but with the proper instruction and gear, whitewater kayaking can be a lot of fun. Take an introductory class and make sure that you are travelling through Class I or Class II rapids when you are still a beginner. Kayaking is a great way to exercise and to immerse yourself into a new activity that revolves around nature. The best times to kayak are during the spring and the summer.

3) Slot Canyoneering

Canyons are some of the Earth’s most incredible structures. Explore them through slot canyoneering and it is sure to be an awe-inspiring experience. You’ll also be able to improve your abilities to travel through the wilderness. While some canyons are walkable, others require climbing, rappelling or scrambling. Always make sure you know what is required of a canyon before exploring it. Some of the most beautiful slot canyons are found in Utah, located in Zion National Park, the Paria Canyons region and more.

4) Peak Bagging

Have you ever seen a breathtaking photograph from the top of a large hill and wanted to see the view with your own eyes? You can if you go peak bagging! If you’re used to short hikes, consider taking your hikes to the next level and head up a larger hill. The terrain will be a bit hard to navigate, but this will make the experience all the more rewarding. It’s also a great way to get a cardio workout. At the end, stand atop your hill and look out at the beautiful view in front you. Once you see how incredible the view is, the experience will be well worth it and you’ll have a better connection with nature.

If you want to become one with the environment but don’t know how, why not try one of these activities? You will get a workout while also learning how to maneuver in nature. In the end, you will be happy you ventured out of your regular routine to take in the beauty of the world around you.

Hunting Tips: The Competition

Mack Prioleau Hunting Tips (2)We are back to discuss some new hunting tips and advice. As any good hunter is aware, the learning process is never ending. I would like to share some thoughts on the competition aspect of hunting. Like any sport, competition is an undeniable aspect. But it is important to not let the competition put anyone in danger or ruin the experience for anyone. For more information, please check out Outdoor Life.

Here are Four Essential Hunting Tips For The Competition:

1) Getting In First

Many roads are blocked to restrict vehicle access to the hunting areas. This means that you will only be able to access the area by foot or horse. Hunters will typically arrive at the gates early in the morning and hike up the roads. But you can beat everyone else by parking at the gate at night and sleep over. If you want to stake claim to the hunting area first, then consider taking a light sleeping back and searching for a clear area to camp out. You should position yourself in the back area in an elevated spot away from the road. Once you are settled, you can take a nap and wait for other hunters to push deer your way as the shooting hours approach.

2) Big-Game Honey Holes

If you are in big country and want to find a place where you have a high chance of finding big game, then you should look to find a heavily timbered canyon with no roads or major trails at the bottom. Most hunters will avoid descending into these spots because they know that they will need to climb back out. The idea of hauling a deer or elk out of the bottom is a double nightmare that will make hunters even more prone to avoiding these potentially game-rich spots. While this location will create more work for you, if you goal is to find the quality game, it will be worth the effort.

3) Drive Double-Dipping

If you are able to learn the drive of another group of hunters, then you may be able to use this information to your advantage. Find a location well away from the group in heavy cover where a scared deer might run after the other group frightens it away. This technique is ethically acceptable if you keep a reasonable distance from the party and do not interfere with the drive of the group.

4) Don’t Follow The Leader

If you are tracking a deer in the snow and discover that another hunter has come upon the same tracks (meaning they are in front of you), there is obviously no reason to keep following. You are better off making a  quick circle and attempting to ambush the deer. There is a good chance that the other hunter will keep pushing the deer ahead, hopefully to you. You will want to keep a considerable distance from where you think the hunter might be; this should be at least a half mile or more.

If you would like to learn more hunting tips, please check out my blog on hunting strategies and hunting tracking tips.

Essential Hunting Tips: Tracking

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As any good hunter knows, the learning process never ends. There are always new strategies to try to make yourself a safer and more responsible hunter. Over the years, hunters have done a good job of sharing their experiences and successes. Last week I discussed some great hunting strategies to help you have a more effective hunt. This week I would like to share some essential tracking tips. For more information, please check out Outdoor Life.

Here are Six Essential Hunting Tips For Tracking:

1) How To Follow A Blood Trail

To properly follow a blood trail, you are going to need to move quietly as you track. Be on the lookout for quarry, which may be bedded just ahead of you. If you are out with other hunters, it is important that you all communicate with hand signals. Make sure that you are all familiar with the hand signals you will be using beforehand. Every time you see a spot of blood, mark it with a piece of toilet paper or flagging; please remember to remove these later.

2) Do Not Give Up

As any seasoned hunter knows, many times the blood trail that you followed a long way will peter out to absolutely nothing. That is not a good sign because it means the animal is still going strong. However, this does not mean that the animal was not already fatally wounded. You should not give up on your blood trail. Keep searching the area for tiny spots of blood; get on your hands and knees, if necessary, to try and find a sign.

3) Look Up For Blood

When you are tracking a wounded animal, do not focus only on the ground for signs of blood. You should also be actively looking for traces of blood higher up on the sides of trees, on grass heaps, and on stems of a bush. Sometimes we become so focused in on traces of blood on the forest floor that we completely miss vital clues off the ground.

4) Call The Spot

If you drop an animal at a long distance, especially in a brushy area where it is more difficult to see the land, remember to make a mental note of where the animal stood at the shot. It is extremely important to find the precise area so that you can pick up the blood trail easily and track down the animal as fast as possible.

5) Beware Of The Instant Drop

An animal that drops at the shot is actually more likely to run off than an animal that does not go down and instead runs some distance before falling. An animal that falls immediately may only be doing so because of shock. Once it recovers from the shock it will begin running. If you see an animal drop instantly, stay put and be prepared for a quick follow-up shot.

6) No Eye Pokes

If you watch hunting shows, you will often see hosts walk up to a fallen animal and prod it with the firearm muzzle to make sure that it’s dead. You should avoid this course of action at all costs. The last thing you want to do is poke the animal and have it leap up when you are so close that you cannot take action. Instead, you should toss a stone or branch in its direction and look for a reaction. If the animals eyes are closed, it is probably still alive. If there are any signs of life, shoot it in the throat under the chin to administer a humane coup de grâce and not waste meat.

 

10 Essential Hunting Tips: Strategies

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Hunting is an incredibly fun and exhilarating sport, however, it can also be a very dangerous sport at the same time. That is why it is important to be familiar with and understand all the different strategies, rules, and safety measures. With the help of this Outdoor Life article, I would like to provide a running list of hunting tips so that we can all be better hunters. First, I would like to provide you with some key hunting strategies.

1) Go Slow, Have Patience

When still-hunting, most of us do not move slowly enough or stay in position long enough. Next outing, you should try using a watch as a guide. Decide on a period of time to stand still, such as 5-7 minutes. This way you will be forced to remain quiet and silent for this minimum amount of time. Having your eye on the clock will make sure you are not moving too quickly.

2) Stay Quiet

If you make a loud noise while you are outside, stop and stand there as long as you can if you suspect animals to be close by. A deer might stand a long time and stare in your direction, and if it sees you moving then it may run away. But if it doesn’t see or smell you, then it might go back to feeding or whatever else it was doing before it was disturbed. So when you accidently make a loud noise, stay put and wait it out.

3) Quick-Stepping For Deer

Deer are very good at detecting a human cadence as we talk through noisy leaves. Next time, try taking quick steps in a short sprint (10-20 yards), pause, and then do it again. If you can keep your footfalls as light as possible then you will likely sound much like a squirrel scrambling through the leaves instead of a human.

4) Design A Better Drive

All too often hunters will place standers in front of and alongside the area being driven. The problem is that deer will often wait for hunters to pass and then sneak back and run off in the opposite direction. Therefore, it is a good idea to position a stander in the rear where the drive originated to prevent the deer from sneaking away.

5) Judge the Quarry’s Place

You should always try to anticipate where the animal will be when you finish your stalk. Before you start, watch the quarry long enough to determine its direction and rate of travel if it is actively feeding or walking. You should then pick your destination accordingly.

6) Follow With Care

When you are tracking an animal, remember that the quarry will be alert to its back trail. A fresh track requires you to practically still-hunt, as opposed to merely following. This is especially true if the animal is not “lined out” but is taking bites of browse as it goes.

7) Clear Shooting Lanes

When you get into your tree stand, practice taking up shooting positions for all the directions where an animal may appear. After you have a good idea of your shooting lanes, try to remove any branches that are in the line of fire. You should then take up the position that requires the least amount of movement to turn in any direction to your desired shooting lanes.

8) Sweep Away Blind Clutter

If you are sitting in a ground blind or standing next to a tree, then you should sweep away leaves and brush with your boot so that the area is clean of forest debris. Clearing the area will help to eliminate unnecessary noise if you make a move when an animal is approaching.

9) Pick Better Landmarks

While you are stalking an animal, making a big circle and coming up behind it, it’s easy to become confused as you change your location. Pick a distinctive object on the skyline that you can recognize from the back, such as a tree, fence line, rock, or other landmark that you can use to help guide you to the correct spot.

10) Drive Solo

If you are hunting alone then you should try a one-man drive. Purposely walk into an area with the wind at your back. The goal is to stir deer up and get them moving. Once you have passed through, make a circle and do it again. This should be able to confused the deer as to your location. If this doesn’t work then you should take a position on the flank of the area you walked through and wait an hour or two.

10 Facts You Should Know About Hunting & Conservation

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Hunting is a great sport that provides you the opportunity to reflect on life in some of the most beautiful places on earth. One problem that surrounds hunting, however, is the fact that many people do not understand what it really means to be a hunter. Those not familiar with the sport think that hunters are simply looking to kill animals. In actuality, hunters will often times come home empty handed. Even if a hunt is successful, there is much more to the sport than killing. As you will see below, hunting actually is an influential part of conservation. Here are 10 facts that you should know about the sport of hunting.

1) President Theodore Roosevelt, an avid hunter, created our national forest and grasslands. 230 million acres of nature and wildlife are now forever protected for everyone to use and enjoy.

2) Approximately $371 million a year is generated for conversation, though an 11% tax on guns, ammo, bows and arrows. This money puts a lot of people to work and helps fuel a number of great conservation programs.

3) Hunting supports 680,000 jobs, including game wardens, waitresses, biologists and motel clerks.

4) Through state licenses and fees, hunter pay, on average, $796 million a year for conservation programs.

5) If you tally up all the various fees, licensing and taxes, hunters raise over $1.6 billion a year for conservation efforts.

6) In a world that loves to go all natural and eat organic, hunting is the purest form of organic eating. Most game is high in protein and provides great nutritional value.

7) Over the past century, the populations of elk, whitetails, turkeys and ducks have grown from thousands to millions thanks to the help of hunters and programs funded by hunters. Without the efforts of hunters, many of the animals that are abundant today would have dwindling populations.

8) Hunters keep nuisance species in check and keep herd numbers healthy for a number of different animal species.

9) A study done by two individuals found that sport hunting offers great benefits to the inhabitants of the land. Most times, the rural natives are happy when a dangerous animal is harvested because the village becomes safer.

10) Eva Shockey, a Canadian hunter, said it best: “As hunters, we need to stand strong, unite as one and NEVER apologize for being who we are! We should focus our energy on being the best hunters we can be by challenging ourselves to be ethical, respectful and responsible so as to humbly uphold our proud heritage. Now, let’s get out there and enjoy the great outdoors!

Largemouth Bass Fishing Tips

When I am back in Texas, one of my favorite things to do is spend time out on the water fishing for largemouth bass. These fish have a distinct appearance and are actually one of the most popular game fish in North America. If you are new to fishing or interesting in trying your hand at largemouth bass for the first time, I have compiled a list of some great tips, tricks and tactics to help make your fishing trip as fun as possible.

largemouth bass Mack Prioleau

1) Fish During The Pre-Spawn

The best time of the year to fish for bass is during pre-spawn, which starts in the spring when the water begins to heat up to around 55 to 65 degrees. During this time of the year, both the male and female bass will move to shallow waters, begin aggressively feeding and looking for the best place to next. The bass will actually move to such shallow waters, that you can usually locate the bass right from shore. There is no question that this is the best time of the year to catch your trophy bass.

Note: Remember to catch and release female bass so they can finish their spawn and continue the cycle of life for bass.

2) Know Bass Habits

If you want to have success out on the water, then it is important to understand the habits of the bass. The type of weather dictates where bass may or may not be, so you should base your location off the weather conditions. When the sun is out, the bass will look for shelter. When it is cloudy or there is little sun, the bass will move out from their protective shelter. Having an understanding for where bass would look for shelter in the water can help you locate the best place to fish.

Mack Prioleau3) The Best Time Of Day

The best time of the day to fish for bass is either during the early hours of the morning or the last few hours going into the evening. If it is a cloudy day, the bass will feed during the afternoon time. It is recommended that you get to your fishing hole of choice about an hour before sunup and/or sunset.

4) Always Keep An Eye On The Line

It is easy for your fishing line to get frayed from contact with rocks, gravel, branches, stumps or any other objects in the water. Therefore, you should frequently check your line right above the lure you are using. The last thing you want to do is lose a bass because your line broke.

5) Size Doesn’t Matter

The size of the lure does not dictate the size of the bass you could catch. A largemouth bass will strike prey that is 25% to 50% of its length. A large lure can also catch small bass. If you are not catching any fish on the lure you start with then you should try a smaller lure and see if that can produce some bites.

 

Info courtesy of Fishing Tips Depot.

 

Victoria Falls & The Gorge Swing

Victoria Falls: Mack Prioleau

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls, also known as Mosi-oa-Tunya, is a waterfall located in South Africa on the Zambezi River. It is truly one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world. Measuring up to 107 meters in height and dropping an average of 550,000 cubic meters of water every minute, the thunder from the falling water is loud, expressing its power to all of those in the surrounding area. The waterfall is 1,708 meters wide, making it the largest curtain of water in the world.

The falls has been declared a National Park and a World Heritage Site, which has helped preserve the area from excessive commercialization or destruction.

We visited Victoria Falls during September, which is when the dry season begins to take effect. The dry season lasts until January and during this time the islets on the crest become wider and more numerous.

When flood season comes around, it is impossible to see the foot of the falls and most of its face. The spray from the falls rises to a height of over 300 meters and sometimes as high as 600 meters.

Gorge Swing – Victoria Falls from Mack Prioleau on Vimeo.

While visiting the falls, we went to the Gorge Swing which is suspended across the gorge. It is about a 70 meter free fall into a 85 meter long pendulum swing. It was an incredible adrenaline rush and offered a unique perspective of the river and the gorge.