HUNTING REHBOCK (ROEBUCK) IN GERMANY

In late 1964, while stationed with the US Army in Schwaebisch Gmuend, Germany, I decided to complete the requirements for getting a German hunting license.  In my job as German American Coordinator for the Armerican troops in Schwaebisch Gmuend, I met many of the German city and county officials in the area.  One of these county officials was the head of the local Forestry office with the title Oberforestmeister.  I told him that I hunted deer in Texas and wanted to find out more about hunting in Germany.  I had brought my 30-30 Savage Model 99 saddle rifle with me to hunt.  He informed me that a 30-30 rifle could not be used to hunt in Germany. He referred me to the Army Rod and Gun Club to get the necessary training and testing for the license. After I got my license, he told me to contact him, and he would take me on my first Rehbock hunt.

I signed up for the hunting class at the local American recreation center, took the test, and received my German hunting license.  The American Hunting office then issued me a U S hunting license.   This license allowed me to kill 6 rehbocks and several other game animals each year.  Checking with the Rod and Gun Club, I was able to checkout a 30-06 rifle.  To familiarize myself with the rifle, I took it to a rifle range and sighted it in. I was now ready to go hunting,

In early 1965, I contacted the Oberforestmeister and told him I had my license and wanted to take him up on a hunt for rehbock.  He agreed to set up an evening hunt for me and would call me when he had it set up.  A few days later, the Oberforestermeister called me that the hunt was set up.  He would be my hunting guide and would pick me up at the American Hunting office at 3 PM the next day.

After a 15-minute ride we arrived at the hunting site. He parked his car at a farm haus, and we walked quietly about 300 meters to the edge of an alfalfa field.  There we quietly climbed into a covered tree stand called a Hochsitz (high seat).  My guide told me that it was most important to remain very quiet because the reh deer have an especially keen sense of hearing and would not come out of the woods if they heard unusual noises and voices.  He talked to me in a whisper to preclude being heard by the animals. He told me that the bock we were hunting for would generally come to the alfalfa field to graze at about one hour before dark.   A mature rehbock stands about 18 inches tall at the shoulder with a live weight of about 30 lbs.  The alfalfa in the field was about 9 inches tall which meant that we should be able to see the buck standing in the alfalfa. 

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Things To Consider Before Living in a Camper

The idea of living off the grid and traveling from one landscape to another is a reality for many. Here are some things to consider before living in a camper.

Camping is quite a popular hobby that many people enjoy, and some love it so much they choose to live in their RVs. If you adore the great outdoors, you won’t find it surprising that nearly a million Americans live in campers full time. In fact, you might even desire to become one of the many whose backyards are wherever they choose them to be. While the idea of living in an RV is exciting, it is not something people go into lightly—here are some important things to consider before living in a camper.

Minimalistic Living

One thing experienced campers will tell you is that you must grow quite comfortable with minimalistic living and, at times, uncomfortable means. When traveling on the road, your vehicle will have significantly less water supply than you would expect at home, lasting two to three days at most. That is why you must learn how to use your water supply sparingly. As such, if you enjoy long showers, you might want to start taking shorter ones to acclimate yourself to the conditions on the road

Moreover, you must make peace with leaving things behind and only keeping that which is necessary. However, this doesn’t mean you must throw everything away. Often, many campers will have a home base or rent a storage center to store personal and important items and information they can’t take.

Internet Accessibility

Often, camping will find you in quite remote landscapes, and while that is the whole point, we must still be accessible. We cannot forgo the fact that we still have obligations to friends, family, or work. As such, you need to consider how you will attain high-speed internet access when in rural areas. Keep in mind that your family and friends want updates on your whereabouts, and in the event of an emergency, you must be able to contact authorities.

Mail Forwarding

One thing to consider before living in a camper is the fact that you will still need an address to receive mail. You won’t have to worry much about receiving your bills in the mail, as many people utilize online systems to pay their bills. However, the mail is not entirely obsolete, as you will need an address to receive important notices and documents. That is why, as you travel, you must continually have your mail forwarded. Many campers will forward their mail if they plan to stay in an area for about a week or two.

HUNTING FALLOW DEER (DAMHIRSCH) IN GERMANY

In previous articles about big game hunting in the United States, which were posted on the Texas Outdoors Network website, I discussed my successful hunts for Bull Elk, Rocky Mountain Bighorn Ram and Ewe and Rocky Mountain Goat.  All of these hunts took place in Colorado.

In this article I will discuss my successful hunt for a Fallow Deer (Damhirsch) In Germany.  Since the Fallow Deer hunt took place on November 14, 1978, while I was stationed with the US Army in Germany, I decided to write an article for our American daily newspaper, THE STARS AND STRIPES.  The following is a reprint of the article as published in the April 27, 1979, edition of THE STARS AND STRIPES.

Friday April 27, 1979      

THE STARS AND STRIPES            Page 25

OUTDOORS   With Brian McWilliams

(By LTC Clarence A Scheel of the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Systems and Automation, at Headquarters, USAREUR in Heidelberg.)

HUNTING FOR AND BAGGING A TROPHY DAMHIRSCH (Fallow deer) in November 1978 was the most thrilling hunting experience I have had in more than 30 years of big game hunting.  Although I have successfully hunted antelope and mule deer in Colorado, red deer and roe deer in Germany, and white-tailed deer in Texas, Washington, Oklahoma, Kansas and New York, none of these hunts compared to the excitement I experienced when I saw the big buck with the large palmated antlers drop after a carefully placed shot.

You can probably say that the anticipation for the hunt began last June when I registered with the USAREUR Hunting and Fishing office for the annual lottery drawing for the trophy hunt.  Of the more than 2,000 American military, civilian and dependent hunters in Germany who entered the lottery for mouflon, fallow deer, red deer and chamois trophies, I was one of the five lucky hunters drawn to hunt for the fallow deer.  Since five allocations consisted of two Class I and three Class IIB trophies and since my name was drawn fifth for this species, I was authorized to bag a Class IIB Damhirsch.  A Class I buck must be at least 10 years old and have fully developed “shovels” on both sides.  A Class IIB, although still a desirable trophy, may not have a fully developed shovel on more than one side.  In October, Herr Schuster at the Heidelberg Hunting and Fishing Office booked my hunt for Nov. 14 with the Hassloch Forestry office at Moerfelden, near Rhein Main International Airport.

LTC Clarence A Scheel with prize trophy

Before daybreak on the 14th, I met my guide, Forester Antes, at the Hassloch Foresthaus.  After the customary greeting and exchange of pleasantries, he explained that rather than still hunt on a stand, as is normally done for roe and red deer, we would be stalking.  At daybreak, we started walking.  For the next two and one-half hours, we must have walked 8 to 10 kilometers.  During that time, we saw several Class I bucks with massive antlers, numerous Class II and Class III and several females.  Every time we saw a group, the anticipation built up, but in every case, there was no IIB.  Since it was by now mid-morning and deer were beginning to bed down, we decided to walk back to the Foresthaus and plan a different strategy for the next morning.  On the way back, we saw several more, but still no IIB.

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5 of the Best Hobbies for Thrill Seekers

There are plenty of relaxing hobbies in nature, but you may want to consider these extreme options for those aiming for something a little more exciting.

There are a lot of great hobbies for those looking for a serene experience. Camping, fishing, or bowling are great for those quiet afternoons. However, if you want to really feel like an adrenaline junkie, here are five of the best hobbies for thrill seekers. These activities are sure to get the blood pumping and spice up any afternoon.

1. Skydiving

Skydiving is a classic extreme sport. You hop in a plane and fly into the sky, only to don your parachute or wingsuit and leap out to meet the ground head-on. For many, just the rush of the dive is exciting enough, but additional challenges like trying to land on a target or perform certain tricks in the air add to the thrill.

2. Bull Riding

If you’re looking for one of the best hobbies for thrill seekers in the state of Texas, you’ve gotta get yourself onto the back of a bull. Saddle up and see how long you can stay on the back of one of these bucking beasts. Rodeos and fairs are excellent opportunities to give this one a go.

3. Racecar Driving

If you’re an auto enthusiast, there are plenty of reasons to get your car on the track. Auto-racing is a fast-paced hobby where you need to make quick decisions and test the bonds between yourself and your vehicle.

4. Kayaking

Kayaking, canoeing, or any aquatic activity that gets you and your friends roaring down the river rapids are all great ways to stay active and bond with your buddies. This sport is one to avoid if you don’t like getting wet, but if you’re ready to challenge the water, kayaking may be the extreme sport you’ve been looking for.

5. Dirt Bike Racing

Dirt bike racing is another extreme competition where you must control speed, balance, and control. Revving up your bike to fly over steep hills and sandy dunes makes it an unforgettable experience and a fun time for anyone looking to prove that they’re the best.

Seadrift, TX. Sight Casting/Navigational Trip Report; 9/16/22

Took advantage of the calm winds at the beginning of the week and had a lot of fun sight casting with repeat clients. We found fish holding in the same area as the previous week, but a little more scattered out as the water started coming up with the East winds. With the water coming up 4-5 inches a day we started seeing some reds pull up into small ponds that are generally just 8-10 inches deep. These fish were chasing small baits, almost like new hatch mullet and also crabs.

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Hunting Dog Training Tip-Intro to Retrieves with Water

Once our 8-10 week old pups are retrieving in the yard with bumpers or feathers without running off or quitting, we introduce them to water. What I mean by that is, we are looking for pups that will not stop no matter how many times you throw a bumper. We are constantly looking for pups with a high drive. Pups that stop after 4-6 retrieves and just lay there or wonder off smelling around are usually sold as simply a family pet.

When a pup is nonstop and shows great interest in the retrieve, we up the excitement by taking them down to the pond. Because water is brand new to them, we are very calm, and will stand still for 5-10 minutes simply watching them sniff or run the bank. They usually begin to venture out into the water on their own and this is when we step in. We will stand in the water tossing the bumper within inches of the bank, letting them come out just far enough to get their stomach’s wet. Once they show no shyness to the bumper we will turn, still standing in the water and toss the bumper 5-10 feet off the bank, encouraging the pup to fetch it up.

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What Are the Differences Between Van Life and Overlanding?

For men who don’t just want to spend time outdoors but want to actually live there, the van life or overlanding sounds great. Learn about the differences here.

Outdoorsmen love nature and want to spend every possible second on a trail, on a boat, hunting, fishing, or on some other kind of adventure. While you can easily do that when you live in a state as geographically diverse as Texas, sometimes you need to do more than just visit the great outdoors in your free time—you need to live there. Van life and overlanding are two versions of living outside that more and more people are embracing, and you can too. Keep reading to learn about the differences between van life and overlanding so you can pick the option that’s right for you.

Van Life Definition

You’ve probably seen videos on social media where people share about their van life. They either bought or fixed up some type of van so that it was more of an apartment on wheels than a vehicle, and then they set out to live on the road. People from all walks of life are embracing this comfortably nomadic lifestyle, outfitting vans with internet access so they can work remotely, training pets to enjoy the great outdoors, and even homeschooling their kids so that little ones can grow up adventurous. For most of these people, there is no end destination in sight. Their aim is to travel and try new experiences, possibly enjoying adventures like rock climbing and fishing along the way, but not necessarily planning for them.

Overlanding Definition

Overlanding focuses more on the adventure side of travel, and people who overland may use different modes of transportation to get to those adventures. You may or may not have a final destination in mind when you set out overlanding, but you definitely know where you plan to rock climb, fish, hike, and hunt. Most overlanders drive vehicles designed for off-roading and just plan to camp as they travel towards their adventurous destinations. However, depending on where those adventures are, you may start on a plane, rent an off-roading vehicle, and then set out overlanding. You might also ride a boat somewhere, leave it docked, and set out on a shorter overlanding excursion with your supplies. No matter how you get there, overlanding focuses on bunking down in the elements and finding adventure.

Which Is Best for You?

Your choice between van life and overlanding will be based on many factors, such as your lifestyle and finances. The costs of van life can quickly add up, since you’ll need fuel and insurance for the van, food while on the road, and will probably have to rent out a campsite. However, you’ll also be more comfortable and be able to bring more of your life with you, like your work.

Overlanding will have its own costs associated with it, but bringing your own camping supplies and only buying food you can cook on a campfire will keep your costs much lower. You’ll also have a better opportunity to experience nature and have the adventures you want. However, you may find it more difficult to balance work and other life needs with an overlanding lifestyle.

The differences between van life and overlanding are that van life is more comfortable and designed to accommodate your lifestyle, while overlanding gives you a better opportunity to experience nature and enjoy adventures. Whichever you choose, van life and overlanding are both great ways to break the mold and live out your outdoorsman dreams.

What Do You Need To Build an RV Solar System?

Camping in an RV is a fantastic experience. Those looking to add some sustainability to their trip may want to use this checklist to build a solar system.

It’s always a good idea to take the RV out for a weekend and enjoy a camping trip out in the wilderness. To help create a greener, more sustainable camping lifestyle, many people are investing in alternative energy sources for their campers. One of the most popular investments is creating a solar panel system, and when living in Texas, you may get bonus incentives for investing in solar energy. If you’re wondering what you need to build a solar system for your RV, Texas Outdoors Network has the answers for you!

Solar Panels

Naturally, one of the most fundamental parts of building a solar panel system is having solar panels. Whether you lay them flat or choose to angle them slightly toward the sun, having solar panels on the roof of your camper is a vital part of building your system. We recommend getting monocrystalline panels for campers due to the limited space.

Battery Bank

The solar panels on your camper collect energy, but you need somewhere to store that power, or you’re not going to be able to use it. Lithium-ion battery packs are among the best when it comes to safe, reliable storage of your solar energy.

Charge Controller

Think of the charge controller as the middleman between your solar panels and the battery bank. You won’t be able to build your RV solar system without a charge controller. Essentially, this device safely regulates the amount of usable power that goes from your panels to your battery. The charge controller prevents the battery from overcharging and keeps everything running smoothly and efficiently.

Inverter

When you use power from your RV or camper, the energy typically comes from the battery, which is often a 12v DC source of electricity. Your solar panel system’s inverter allows you to convert the 12v DC power into 120-volt AC power, making it better for charging laptops, coffee makers, or other similar devices. When you install the inverter near your battery bank, your system allows you to utilize AC power from your solar panels fully.

Top Fall Activities To Do With Your Jeep

When it comes to spending time in the great Texas outdoors, you can’t beat the autumn season. Check out the top fall activities to do with your Jeep.

For many Texans, fall is the best season of the year. After swelteringly hot summers, it’s great to welcome cool, crisp weather and spend time outdoors. Explore the top fall activities to do with your Jeep.

Go on a Scenic Drive

No doubt about it, fall is beautiful. While New England lays claim to some of the most iconic leaf-viewing sites in the country, Texas has its fair share of beautiful scenery to enjoy. Check out the Pineywoods Autumn Trail that loops for 145 miles between Athens and Palestine. There will be plenty of color-changing deciduous trees to take in.

Texas is a huge state, so there are many other scenic places to visit. The hill country is a favorite for people who enjoy seeing natural wonders any time of year. In the fall, visit places like Lost Maples State Natural Area, located just a couple of hours northwest of San Antonio.

For something a bit different from the usual fall scenery, visit West Texas—the temperatures at popular places like Big Bend National Park are lower at this time of year. And while you won’t see fall foliage like in other parts of the state, the brilliant autumnal hues of the land itself will charm you.

Join an Off-Road Group

If you’d like to go off the beaten path, you can off-road. And if you’d like to largely eliminate the stress of off-roading without sacrificing the fun, join an off-roading group.

You’ll find welcoming groups of Jeep enthusiasts that make off-roading exciting. Being part of a community of off-roaders will help you develop your skills more efficiently than you would on your own, too.

Check out the rules of the group before you head off for any excursions; community guidelines will help you prepare for your trip. And as the days grow shorter in the fall, it’s prudent to invest in accessories that improve your visibility while off-roading.

Tailgate

Another top fall activity to do with your Jeep is participating in a tailgate party. Have a blast this football season by tailgating in your Jeep before the big game. Like any great get-together, you’ll need food and beverages, utensils, and comfy chairs.

Modifications to your Jeep can improve your tailgate experience. Installing a cargo carrier makes it more convenient for carrying items like your grill, chairs, and cooler. And accessories like a folding rear tailgate table give you more surface area for preparing food.

Hunting Dog Training Tip – Intro to Retrieves

When we take in a young puppy at 8-10 weeks old, or after we wean one of our own pups, we give the pup a few days to get settled into the new surroundings. Usually we sit with the pup, walk around letting it smell and roam in this new area and away from it’s mother. We do not put them together with any of our older dogs, but they naturally sniff on each other through the 2×4″ paneling. Once the pup is settled and becomes playful and is excited once you are around, we take the pup out by itself and introduce it to retrieval training.

We hear it time and time again from folks, “my pup is so smart he/she is 8 weeks old and I’ve already taught it to sit.” That’s good, but will it retrieve? You can teach any dog to sit within a day, so let’s focus on more important foundational drills that will help your dog become a hunting dog.

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Tips for Ensuring Your Boat Stays in Peak Condition

Having a boat is a great pleasure in life. However, taking care of it is a challenge. Here are a few tips for ensuring your boat stays in peak condition.

Owning a boat is exciting, as you can take it out on the water and escape from all your regular day-to-day worries. Go too long, though, and you may have a new concern on your plate—the condition of your boat. Numerous days of boating with little maintenance can lead to some issues down the line. Read on to learn how you can ensure your boat stays in peak condition.

Keep Things Clean

The first thing you must do to ensure your boat stays in the best condition possible is to keep it clean. You should keep the deck clutter-free; in the case of an emergency, you want everyone aboard to access safety gear quickly. Doing so will be incredibly difficult if there is a bunch of junk in the way. Additionally, you must keep the boat’s hull and motor clean. Even if you’re not boating in salt water, you should rinse your boat off with fresh water and boat soap to keep grimy buildup at bay.

Get the Right Equipment

One of the most important things you can do to keep your boat lasting throughout the years is to invest in the proper equipment. A boat is not just something you can take out on the water; it is an intricate combination of materials, parts, electronics, and mechanical pieces all working together to keep you afloat. For example, your boat’s battery is essential because your time on the water will quickly lead to disaster if the battery runs out of juice. That’s why it’s necessary to get the proper marine lithium battery charger that can work with your boat’s battery, ensuring you launch and dock without a fuss.

Check Your Boat Trailer

Your boat can be in the best condition possible, but you can’t get anywhere near the water without a good trailer. If you do not adequately care for your trailer’s tires, cruising on the water will forever be an out-of-reach dream. Check your trailer’s tires regularly, as they can quickly get damaged from year-round sun exposure. Consider storing your trailer and boat in a shed or barn during the off-season, and keep the tires elevated to reduce further damage.

Ensure your boat stays in peak condition by giving it this extra attention. A small bit of care can go a long way for your boat, ensuring you have a boat you can enjoy for years to come.

The Best River Fishing Destinations in the United States

If you’re looking to fish the most beautiful rivers in America, grab your gear and get out of your comfort zone by checking out these destinations.

There’s nothing quite like getting out on the river for a day of fishing. Many enthusiasts consider river fishing a relaxing and enjoyable outdoor activity. As you plan your next nature-bound vacation, read up on some of the best destinations for river fishing in the United States.

Alaska: Soldotna River Walk

Have you ever been night fishing? Many enthusiasts make Soldotna their destination when looking for sockeye. After dark, sockeye salmon tend to swim closer to the shore, so you won’t need to wade in too deep. Pack your hip waders and prepare for an ethereal night of fishing in the dark.

Idaho: Snake River

The boisterous twists of the Snake River run through Hells Canyon, the deepest canyon gorge on the North American continent. Plenty of fish, from trout to crappie to chinook salmon, call this river home. Enjoy the biodiversity of the river and the majestic nature views all around you.

Florida: Suwannee River

This delightful blackwater stream in Florida runs through a variety of marshes and wetlands, flowing more than 200 miles from Georgia all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Bass, both largemouth and smallmouth, abound here—you may even catch one that’s trophy-sized!

Montana: Yellowstone River

The Yellowstone River is the longest undammed river in the continental United States. Whether you prefer to wade in or take a boat out, you’ll see for yourself why it’s renowned for its trout fishing. For an unforgettable fly-fishing experience, head out to the mighty Yellowstone.

Texas: Brazos River

Don’t feel like traveling far? There are plenty of incredible rivers for fishing right here in Texas. The Brazos River, while muddy in many parts, boasts some of the best angling around right below Possum Kingdom Lake. Catch a wide variety of bass and channel catfish in these copper-tinted waters.

The best river fishing destinations in the United States aren’t always crowded tourist traps. Often, they’re tucked away in the wilderness or only famous among anglers. Grab your rod, reel, and tackle box and head out to one of these rivers for a productive day—or night—of fishing!