November 2012
Howle’s Hints

Use Tube Tinder for a Fast Fire, Pegging Poachers and the Virtues of the Square


Top: Take time to be thankful for the produce you collected from your summer garden. Bottom: Strips cut from an old inner tube make great tinder for fire starting, even when wet.

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” – Abraham Lincoln

This November, take time to be thankful for the big things such as grace, forgiveness, family, a free country and a right to vote. Also, be thankful for the little things such as produce you collected from your summer garden, a smooth shooting rifle and hot biscuits with sorghum syrup on a cold morning.

As we feel the days turn colder and watch the leaves turn loose, our thoughts turn to football games, hunting, Thanksgiving dinners, and warm fires after a cold day in the woods or pastures. A good blaze in the fireplace or on the campfire does wonders to restore the spirit and warm the soul.

Inner Tube Tinder

During the colder months, sometimes it is essential to get a fire going fast. If you fall into a remote creek and need to dry quickly or simply want to get a campfire going on a cold night or start burning a brush pile, pack a few one inch strips of old tire inner tubes. The rubber will burn readily even when wet and rolled strips of inner tube take very little space in your pack.

Smoke Scent

While you have your inner tube fire starters ready and are heading out for a cold, morning hunt, use the fire starters to make a small teepee fire for cover scent. You can not only warm yourself with the tiny fire, but you can also cover scent your clothing with the smell of smoke. Fire is a natural occurrence, and the smell of smoke-scented clothing doesn’t spook wild game.

Rifle Ready?

Has hunting season slipped up on you without having a chance to zero your rifle? Try sighting your rifle in at 25 yards if you’ve waited until the last minute or the scope gets knocked out of zero with hauling. At 25 yards, you greatly reduce the chances for bobbling you might get at 100 or 200 yards. In addition, it’s a short walk to the 25-yard target to make sure you are shooting tight, three-round groups. Zeroed at 25 yards, you will still be in the kill zone of large animals at 100 yards.

For a quick zero of your rifle, set up your target at 25 yards. For most calibers, you will still be in the kill zone up to 100 yards


Peg the Poachers

It’s a frustrating experience to have worked hard to plant food plots, selectively harvest deer and protect your property only to have poachers trespass, spotlight, bait and kill wildlife you have tried to manage. Many farmers have reported to me instances where their fences have been cut or gates have been left open letting livestock out.

Ethical hunters will have written permission to be on property they don’t own. They will hunt wearing the legal 144-square inches of hunter orange. They would never leave bait out to attract wildlife, and they will have a hunting license and legal hunting tools.

The unethical hunter disregards property lines and “No Trespassing” signs. He will bait deer, steal tree stands, cut fences and basically steal wildlife from your property. The good news is, if you are a landowner or an ethical hunter, you now have a new tool at your disposal in reporting poaching and other illegal hunting activities.

In the past in Alabama, you could and still can report game and fish violations to Operation Game Watch at 1-800-272-4263. Building on the success of that program, the Alabama Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has now come out with a program called Tip411. If you can text, then you can report a violation. Simply text “gamewatch” to 847411 or on your keypad type out Tip411. With this new text reporting tool, responsible outdoorsmen and women can report law violators anonymously.

Set Aside Some Square Bales


Plan to keep a few square bales on hand for easy feeding of small numbers of livestock during the winter.

Round bales are a great invention for the hayfield. It allows the farmer to quickly pack lots of hay for winter storage and feeding with very little labor involved with the loading, hauling and stacking of the smaller, square bales.

However, don’t forget the square bale’s importance. Even though it is more labor intensive, square bales are easy to stack securely, they are convenient when feeding a smaller herd of livestock and, when you have a sick cow or calf, the small, square bales are convenient to feed while caring for the animal.

This winter as you are rolling out the round bales, make plans for warm weather by setting aside a hayfield just for square bales. Your teenage son will thank you for the opportunity to build valuable work ethic skills, and the cows will be impressed with your neat, rectangular package of hay during winter feeding.

This November, use these tips to have a safe and productive holiday season. If you show an attitude of gratitude, it will spread to your neighbors.

John Howle is a freelance writer from Heflin.