Best of 2005: Jerry's Tips

Jerry Robinson has forgotten more about hunting and fishing than most of us will learn in a lifetime, as these 12 tips (which we think are last year's best) prove.

Field & Stream Online Editors

[BRACKET "1"] Get Your Socks On_--February 2005_
Wet, sandy feet are a nuisance to outdoorsmen--difficult to wipe dry and nearly impossible to pull socks over. A liberal sprinkling of baby powder, however, will absorb moisture instantly and allow you to brush the sand off. Socks are easier to pull on over powdered feet, and dry feet are essential for fungus prevention.

[BRACKET "2"]Bring In Distant Turkeys_--March 2005_
When a distant gobbler answers your call, move silently in his direction before he starts moving toward you. Try to get within 200 yards of the bird before calling again. Gobblers are more likeley to come all the way to a hunter who is inside that range. If you continue calling froma long distance, the turkey's answers will likely attract a live hen that will cut him off before he reaches you.

[BRACKET "3"]Organize Your Mess Kit_--April 2005_
When camping, tie a many-pocketed carpenter's apron at eye level on a tree trunk within reach of your cooking site. Fill the pockets with cooking utensils and a pair of long-handled pliers for handling hot pots and pans. The apron pockets provide a means of organizing utensils so you will always know where they are and have them close at hand when you need them.

[BRACKET "4"]Release Your Anchor Quickly_--May 2005_
It can be difficult to land large fish from a boat anchored in strong current if you can't slip anchor quickly. To make a quick-release system, tie a loop in the anchor line and attach a buoy or plastic jug to the loop, which you will place around the bow anchor cleat. When you hook up, slip it off the cleat and toss it overboard. After you've landed the fish, retrieve the anchor and buoy.

[BRACKET "5"]Make A Double-Sided Worm Can_--June 2005_
Instead fo digging down to the bottom of your bait can to find worms, replace the metal end of the can with another plastic lid in which you've punched a dozen tiny airholes. When the worms burrow down to the bottom, simply turn the can over and open the other end. The worms will always be on top and easy to see.

[BRACKET "6"]Release Fish Stress-Free_--July 2005_
Unhooking a wriggling fish becomes much easier when you hold the fish on its back with one hand gently cupping its dorsal fin. All fish immediately relax and lie still when held in this position, allowing you to remove the hook without having to squeeze, thereby causing less stress and injury. Always remember to wet your hands before handling any fish.

[BRACKET "7"]Stay Focused On Stand_--July 2005_
To help pass the time when you're spending long hours in a deer stand, take along a few ounces of birdseed. Scatter the seed on a nearby log or other bare area within a few yards of your stand. Birds, chipmunks, and squirrels are sure to discover the horde and will give you hours of entertainment, and their presence will keep you alert and remind you to stay still.

[BRACKET "8"]Camouflage Your Tree Stand_--August 2005_
Branches that you remove to clear a climbing path and shooting lanes at your tree stand should not be left on the ground. They may draw unwanted attention from people who might sit in your stand. Instead, drag them away from the vicinity, or lash some to the trunk above the stand to break up its outline and camouflage your silhouette as you hunt.

[BRACKET "9"]Protect Your Trailer Lights_--September 2005_
To prevent shorting, rig your trailer's wiring so that no junctions or terminals are ever submerged. Elevate lights on upright poles bolted to the frame. Don't join the wires in a Y-formation on the trailer body. Instead, run separate wires from each taillight all the way to the vehicle plug. For extra protection, use outdoor extension cord rather than standard electrical wire.

[BRACKET "10"]Train Your Dog To Hold Point_--October 2005_
Practice staunching a bird dog on point by pushing his shoulders and hind end toward the bird he's pointing. He will resist the pressure and push back against your hand, stiffening his point. Over time he will think it was his idea to remain steady. As your dog absorbs the lesson, gradually delay flushing so that he learns to enjoy the anticipation of keeping the bird in place.

[BRACKET "11"]Lubricate Your Grill_--November 2005_
You can use a raw potato to prevent wild game steaks or fresh fish fillets from sticking to the survace of your barbeque grill. Slice the potato in half, then, when the grill is hot, rub the cut side back and forth lengthwise along the grate. You'll hear a hissing sound as starch from the potato coats the metal with a natural non-stick compound.

[BRACKET "12"]Rig Tangle-Free Decoys_--December/January 2005-06_
Set your decoys with a trawl line to avoid frustrating tangles. To make one, tie four or five overhand loops 2 to 3 feet apart in the middle of some camo-colored cord. Tie a loop for an anchor at each end. Rig your deocy bases with snap fasteners. To use, anchor one end, snap deocys to the loops as you pay out the line, then anchor the far end. Stagger lines to create an irregular pattern.