Archive for the 'Personal Blogs' Category

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Published by kent5252 on 09 May 2008

From the Gridiron to the Hardwoods

There have been times in my life when people have asked me why I hunt. To me, there has never been a question. However, I struggle to find the words. I am often inspired by writings that describe my emotions, because I have a difficult time identifying them myself. Hunting, to me, is all about quiet mornings, watching squirrells, sneaking through the woods undetected, sunrises, sunsets, the smell of gunpowder, waking up early to a fresh pot of coffee, preparing for a hunt with friends the night before, time well spent with family, the thrill of the chase, the thrill of the kill, being a part of nature, and ultimately realizing that there is a higher power who created this all for us. I have been very blessed in my life. I am currently a college student/football player. Throughout highschool I was fortunate enough to have a lot of success on the field. Because of that, I earned a full-scholarship to a division 1A school to continue with my playing career. Over the last four years, it has been a wild ride. I have played in some of the greatest venues that our country has to offer a college football player. Although the ride has been thrilling, I have missed spending weekends in my deer stand during the rut. Over the last four years, there have been times when I really struggled to make it out there, due to a lack of time.I think it has affected me to the core. People do not realize what a sacrifice college football has been. It is a 365 day-a-year committment. Just last fall, I was standing on the sidelines at Ohio Stadium. We were playing against the Buckeyes, who would eventually play in the national championship. That stadium packed over 100,000 people. It was overwhelming to say the least. Being from Ohio, I had dreamed about playing in that game for my whole life. I know this sounds crazy, but before the game even started, I was actually looking forward to getting home that night. The reason was that I knew I would be able to hunt the next morning. Some people will judge me for looking a gift horse in the mouth. That is just not the case. I love football, but hunting is my life. I need it. I cannot live without it. Being in nature is something like a drug to me, and it is my one and only addiction. I think that there is just something about traveling far away to play in front of large crowds like that. It overwhelms me to the point of irritation. School bothers me too. I don’t like being around a whole lot of people at once. When I’m around a lot of concrete and steel for too long, I feel frustrated. People at school do not understand me. On the weekends when they go out to party, I go home and prepare my gear for a morning hunt. While they play video games, I usually head out to the archery range or go fishing. My girlfriend is the only one here who really understands me. We have been together for 3 years. It has taken some getting used to on her part. She is not a hunter herself, but she knows why I go home every weekend. Hunting takes me far away from football and school. It is my time to be out in God’s country clear of any worries. I can really separate from everything out there. I leave it all behind me when I step out into the woods. This past semester, my mother suffered a life-threatening situation. She was diagnosed with cranial aneurysms. Two of them burst in her brain. It was the scariest time of my life. She is my best friend, and we really thought that we were going to lose her. Between the surgeries and events that took place, I spent as much time as possible in the woods. Hunting helped me to cope with a difficult situation. Everybody deals with things differently, and that is how I got through that period in time. Luckilly, she is alright now. During that period of time when things were chaotic though, the only time when I could feel okay was when I was out there by myself. When I have no choice but to be at school, and I have some down time, I like to spend it reading. Specifically, a lot of time is spent on Archery Talk reading articles, and learning about equipment or new hunting tactics. I also read books about Fred Bear, Chuck Adams, Saxton Pope, Art Young, Fred Eichler, Theodore Roosevelt, etc. I will read anything that I can get my hands on if it deals with hunting. It eases my mind about other things as well. I may be the only 22 year old guy who cannot wait to graduate, go to work somewhere, and buy a piece of property for myself. I dream big too. I would rather have a shack in the woods than a 3-million dollar castle in the city. Though that sounds somewhat cliche, I really mean that. Give me a log cabin with a few acres attached. Watch me live happily ever after. I don’t want a mansion on Lake Shore Drive. I don’t want a million dollars. I just want enough. I don’t care what I do for my job, as long as I can afford my dream of buying a little farm somewhere to kick my feet up. For the time being, I will continue to sneak home with every spare minute I have. After a long week of suffocation at school, I know I can come up for air on the weekends. In the modest words of the great Fred Bear: “On most days spent in the woods, I come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything, it has to do with how the day was spent.”

14 votes, average: 3.14 out of 514 votes, average: 3.14 out of 514 votes, average: 3.14 out of 514 votes, average: 3.14 out of 514 votes, average: 3.14 out of 5 (14 votes, average: 3.14 out of 5)
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Published by LowTrunkOzz on 08 May 2008

What gets me out of bed in the morning

I don’t know about you, but come any hunting season I’m just like a kid the night before Christmas. I work as hard as I can during the “off” season (and according to my wife there is really no such thing) getting myself and my gear ready for whatever is coming up. This years spring turkey season was no different.

I hadn’t really been able to do the scouting that I wanted to, but after last year I knew of a couple of good spots to put the bead on some turkeys. Before season “drive-by’s” had given me a good idea that my hunch was correct and there were thunder chickens in my chosen areas. The only thing that was different about this particular morning was that I REALLY had to perform! I had found out that a person that was as enthusiastic as I lived not but an eight of a mile from my house! After the first few messages back and forth about who each other were, it was decided that I would take this new friend on a hunt.

The night before the big day was no different than any other high expectation, premature adrenaline rush, “man I HAVE TO see something nice” time that I’ve looked forward to before. It was sleepless, to say the least. At 4:30 that morning I was awake waiting for the alarm and then I was off like a bolt to get dressed, brush my teeth, and be out the door. Ron showed up and we decided it was surely a good day to bust a longbeard!

My initial thought was to hunt a bottom that is encompassed on three sides by a creek that has always been a good roosting spot. After last year, I was sure where we needed to set up and we made our way to it. The decoys were out, the stake out blind was up, a call was in my mouth, and it was looking to be a great day. My, was I wrong!! By daylight there was maybe the faintest of gobbles that could barely be heard over the grass growing and nothing else. As we sat there silently complaining of aching rear ends, Ron slowly turned to scan the area and whispered to me, “Nate, I think there’s a turkey in the tree behind me!”

“WHAT?” I ask, and then begin scanning the area behind me. “There’s one in the tree behind me, too!”

I couldn’t believe our fate. No toms were heard, but boy we sure fired the hens up! After flydown we quickly packed up and headed out to a few other properties that held about as much promise as my back yard and finally ended up at what was my “last ditch effort.” We got into the woods, threw out a couple yelps and finally heard that sound that says there are undeniably turkeys here, the grobbobbbole! So, like two confused clowns, we look at each other while I bumble with the hen decoy stuffed in the back of my vest until Ron comes to my rescue and gets it out unscathed. We sit down hurredly and I just so happen to pick the smallest, most uncomfortable tree around. We threw calls out sparingly as the gobblers got tight lipped. After about 20 minutes or so I catch the ever so slight movement of Ron telling me that there are two birds off to his side. And then it starts, my heart is in my throat and my fingers feel like they are going to explode! I can visibly see Ron start to shake ever so slightly as one of the toms made it’s way back to see where that sexy lady was that was talking so sweetly! I don’t think a turkey could have moved any slower!

Finally, after much contemplation, ol’ tom made his down to a pretty good shooting lane, from where I sat mind you, so I gave a little cluck. Man was he on to me! He ever so slowly made his way a little further all the while my mind is screaming “SSSSHHHHHOOOOOOTTTTT!!!”

BBBBOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMM! Wings out, head down! It was a good hit for sure! Before I can even think about what to do next I find myself trying to hold this big boy still so he doesn’t tear up his tail. That is what it’s all about! The late nights and early mornings, the sore backs and bottoms, the fight to find that one lonesome tom looking for love in all the wrong places. You can’t replace that feeling with anything man made! That’s what gets me out of bed in morning! 

42 votes, average: 3.98 out of 542 votes, average: 3.98 out of 542 votes, average: 3.98 out of 542 votes, average: 3.98 out of 542 votes, average: 3.98 out of 5 (42 votes, average: 3.98 out of 5)
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Published by soularcher on 06 May 2008

Three Lessons

Three Lessons

By Joe Shuhay

(Soularcher on AT posts)

 

The first day had come, and I was up at 3:30 AM to eat, shower and dress.  Luckily my new spot was only 20 minutes away, and I could get in my stand at least an hour before daylight.  As daylight broke, the woods started to come alive with movement and sound.  I had spotted many doe and a small buck.  At about 10:00 AM a small doe came underneath my stand, and I let the Muzzy do its work, and work it did!  It was a very clean kill.  But this isn’t where the story ends…

The doe ran about 15 yards and fell.  While I waited for the animal to expire, I had noticed a very bad fray through the string serving right underneath my bottom cam!  It was obviously dangerous, and it had to be fixed.  I was lucky that I wasn’t hurt!  

LESSON #1:  Always inspect your bowstring and equipment well before the hunt.  This will give you time to swap strings and make repairs.  It will also save you from injury or a missed opportunity!

Instead of taking my Archery Research AR31 bow to the area expert, I took it to a local guy that ran a shop out of his house, to save money (a lot of money).  He was a very nice man, but I should’ve taken the hint when I entered his shop and saw that he specialized in traditional equipment (an art form in itself).  I returned that Friday afternoon for the bow, and $16.00 later I had a new string.  Sixteen Bucks!

I wanted to hunt the next day because I wouldn’t have another chance until the following weekend, and I knew there were a few nice buck cruising the area.  Needless to say, I didn’t get to shoot the bow before the hunt.  I know, I know…  I heard that little voice inside, but didn’t listen: “What if?  You didn’t shoot it, stretch the string, check it out…  Is this safe?”  Nope, I didn’t listen.   I was too worried about getting out the next day.

LESON #2:  Always inspect a repair or string installation when you get your bow back, and always shoot the bow and allow for string stretch.

I got out to my stand and opted to hunt the northern part of an oak flat, due to wind conditions, and I expected action.  There was still a little doubt in the back of my mind due to not shooting the bow the night before.  Any archer knows that reduced confidence in your form or equipment can definitely have a detrimental effect on your mindset for the hunt.  At about 9:30 AM, two doe came bursting from the laurel to my left at about 20 yards.  They stopped and then looked back.  That’s when I knew he was coming!  I waited, and saw a flicker, then a very wide eight came out into full view and paused sniffing the doe’s trail.  I drew and viewed the magnificent animal broadside at fifteen yards!  I pulled the trigger on my Scott release, the arrow flew, and…  Nothing…  Nothing!!!  I watched helplessly as the high-tined buck trotted away pursuing the doe.  I  climbed down and retrieved my arrow; it went right underneath the buck’s belly by at least a foot!

At noon I went home and shot at my target at 10 yards to troubleshoot the issue.  The arrow didn’t even make it to the target!  It was buried in the ground at about eight yards in front of me.  A closer inspection of my bow revealed that the string was not installed on the bottom cam properly which effected the whole setup.  

LESSON #3:  Pay the extra cash to get a job done by someone that knows the technology, or get the tools and learn to do it yourself, and you can rest easier in the knowledge that the job was done correctly (also refer to LESSON #2).

I don’t hold the bowsmith responsible, I knew full well that he had his specialty and, to his credit, he tried his best.  I hold my own impatience and thriftiness as the reasons that that hunt worked out the way it did.  Believe me when I say that I learned a difficult lesson that day.  The sign of a good hunter is the humility and willingness to learn and improve.

 

 

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Published by Shaman on 05 May 2008

No Greater Joy – Children

There are few things more special than the first time that your son and/or daughter ask to do something related to hunting with you. For me, this happened this past week. My Daughter decided she wanted to help me set up my turkey Blind. Better yet, my brother was one hand with his camcorder and captured this video.

I’ve attached the video: Click Here

51 votes, average: 3.84 out of 551 votes, average: 3.84 out of 551 votes, average: 3.84 out of 551 votes, average: 3.84 out of 551 votes, average: 3.84 out of 5 (51 votes, average: 3.84 out of 5)
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Published by ToughAntlerTees on 05 May 2008

This One Was For You Dad!

January 17, 2008
I was working out of town & got a phone call from my wife. My father was in the hospital in intensive care. That was all we knew. It took me 1 1/2 hours to drive home. I rushed to the phone to call the hospital in SLC, Utah. I happen to live in Loon Lake, Wa. The Dr. reported that my dad was on life support & his liver, kidneys, & lungs were not operating on their own. I could not catch a flight until the next day at 1:00 pm.

Memories flooded my mind of my dad & they would not stop & neither would the tears. I prayed fervently that my dad would not have to suffer. I asked God to keep him alive until I got to the hospital, so that I could say goodbye.

January 18, 2008
God answers prayer. I got to see my dad & pray over him. He was staying alive by the machines, but more so by the grace of God.

January 19, 2008
He passed away while still on the machines 5 hours after I got to say goodbye.

January 21, 2008
Two days later, I was at my dad’s house cleaning it, going through photo’s etc… My wife called me & said my new bow had arrived. This was my very first bow & here I was in Utah taking care of my dad’s affairs. The arrival of the bow was exciting as I had been waiting for it for several months & was something good that I needed to hear.

Feburary 4, 2008
Two weeks later, I was able to make a trip home to visit my wife & son for a week, but had to return to Utah to finish up my dad’s estate. I had a friend of mine get me all set up with my bow & decided that I would take it back to Utah with me on the airplane.

Febuarary 11, 2008
I made a homemade target out of a plastic garbage bag & filled it with some of my dad’s old clothes & rags. I marked the center of the bag with a black solid circle with a marker. I was able to mark off 20 yards in my dad’s backyard & shoot my bow. I was at my dad’s daily cleaning & having a winter yard sales. When the stress would get to be too much, I would take out the bow & shoot about 20 – 40 arrows at the target.

Febuarary 14, 2008
On the 3rd day of shooting I got my very first robinhood! Archer’s have told me that to get a robinhood only after 80-90 shots & being a rookie is awesome! It is my first trophy & proudly hangs on my wall & will always have a special place in my heart….. This one was for you dad.

May 5, 2008
My 9 year old son now has a bow. My wife has a bow on order. We are all new to archery just this year. Archery is a wonderful sport for the whole family & I have one of the greatest memories to start out with. I can look up from my computer & hanging on the wall is my first robinhood.
This one was for you dad…….

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Published by RchurE on 05 May 2008

Journey back to field archery pt. II

I made it out for another 14 target round yesterday. Finally got some weather worth shooting in for a change. It was clear and calm and about 70 degrees. Everything started out just fine and dandy but I’ve been fighting some chest and sinus junk all last week so I was a little weak but knew I would be. I don’t think that really had any influence on my shooting but I’ll use it as an excuse since I can.

Target #1 is the bunny and it didn’t hurt me any. I shot 4 pretty good arrows for a 20.

Target #2 brought the 28 fan which I’m usually ok on. I shot 4 good ones there for a 20.

Target #3 was the 23, 20 and easy enough for another quick 20.

Target #4 – the 64 walk up. This one is usually pretty tough for me for some reason at our range. It’s a pretty flat range from beginning to end but this one is just the least little tad uphill. Actually it’s on level ground but the target is high up on blocks so it gives just the slightest incline. 64 – X, 59 – X, 55 – X, 52 – 4. I couldn’t believe it. I had just called it to my buddy too. I told him I’m bad for hitting the hard ones and losing a 20 on the short ones. I was zoned in and everything but just made a bad shot. I was still ok though because my goal is to clean everything out to 50 yards.

Target #5 is the 15, 14 and I shot a 20 on that one.

Target #6 is where it all started going downhill. It’s the 40 and I almost always 20 it but not today. I dropped the first and third arrow for an 18.

Target #7 – The 70 walk up. I’m hit and miss here for some reason. Some days I shoot it well but the days I don’t I really drop a stink pickle on it. Yesterday was one of those days. The 61 was the only one I hit so I had a 17. I went from one down after 5 to 6 down after 7.

Target #8 – back by the clubhouse we went and on to the 19-17. 20’d that one easy enough.

Target #9 was the dreaded 32 fan. I rarely 20 that one for some reason. It really intimidates me no matter how hard I try not to let it. I faired ok on it this time around knowing I needed to make up some points there. My average this year so far on that target has been 18 and I did one better for a 19.

Target #10 – WOW! Here was the 48 and man did it do me wrong! I don’t know what happened here but this target really ruined my round. I ended up with a 16 the hard way on that one. I shot my first 3 ring of the year. It really didn’t feel that bad either but it sure hit bad enough.

Target #11 was the 58 walk up and I shook off the last target and pulled it together for a good solid 20 on this one.

Target #12 is the baby 80 – 53 walk up. That dot is so small from that distance. Not sure how but I made this one look easy and shot a 20. That’s two in a row for me with this target, I got it the last round I shot too.

Target #13 – the “gimme” 36 fan. I walked over 30 yards from that 53 walk up to shoot this one and missed the first stinkin’ arrow. I then put off 3 solid shots and they were all in the X for a 19 on that big dot for that distance.

Target #14 – ahh, the last one of the day and one that normally gives me quite a bit of trouble. It’s the 44 but it’s the only one on the range that actually has enough incline to warrant a cut. I shoot it for 44 on the field round and 43 on the hunter round. I made 4 good shots for a 3x-20 to finish the day.

All in all not a bad round as I finished up with a 268. I’m really trying to push myself toward a 275 average but I haven’t hit it yet. I really need to keep my head in the game if I plan to accomplish my goal. I find myself at full draw sometimes mowing the yard, pushing my daughter on the swing, painting the kitchen, or some other distraction that just sneaks its way in there. Nonetheless, I’m having a great time, getting some exercise, and twanging a bow string.

I haven’t received any comments on the entry before this one (my first one) so maybe nobody is even reading these things. If you are though and you’ve never shot any field archery then you really should seek out a range. It truly is, in my opinion, the most fun you can have with clothes on. Heck, look me up and we’ll shoot a round.

Until next time…

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Published by DuckBuckGoose on 04 May 2008

Tips for Securing Trophy Buck Hunting Land

Private Property Sign

These days, finding property to hunt that has a high potential to hold a trophy whitetail deer can be a significant challenge. While public land offers convenience and is open to all, it can get significant hunting pressure – which usually means that it is less likely to have bucks live to maturity. So…the best options for finding trophy hunting land tend to be; 1) Getting EXCLUSIVE permission to hunt private and rural land, 2) Leasing private hunting land or using an outfitter, or 3) Getting permission to hunt land that other hunters overlook (which may or may not be rural). In this post, I’ll dig into each of these options a little bit, and discuss the pros and cons of each.

Three Key Elements: Food, Water & Cover

First, let’s focus on what deer seek out in the land they inhabit, so we can better define what we are looking for in hunting land. For deer to survive throughout the year they need three essential elements; food, water and adequate cover. If at some point they are lacking any one of these elements they will move to a new location until they have access again to all three. Beyond these three elements, for a deer to grow into a true “trophy animal” they simply need the time to grow to a mature age without being hunted and harvested or pressured out of an area. Again, that’s where the three land options that follow should be focused on if you want to increase your odd of harvesting a trophy animal.

 

Option 1: Getting EXCLUSIVE permission to hunt private, rural land

For most hunters, this is the ideal scenario because large tracts of rural, private land that don’t have a lot of pressure can be havens for trophy bucks. But, these areas can be hard to find if you are starting from square one. To help you narrow your search there are a number of tools you can use that many hunters don’t know about, or don’t think to use. Among those are:

Tool #1: Google Maps / Google Earth.  This is an unbelievable resource that hunters of the past did not have. This tool uses the latest satellite photography to let you view your hunting area, or possible new hunting areas from a birds eye view. It will help you identify terrain features, pinch points, streams, relative distances, and will even provide you with specific GPS coordinates. Beyond that, you can draw on the digital maps and photos with the computer, save notes by location, and print them to take along on your next hunt. I would highly recommend you learn to use these tools (don’t worry, its easy) and use them often. The more you scout and the better records you keep, the more successful you will be in the field this year, and in the years to come.

Tool #2: The DeLorme Atlas & Gazetteer for your state.  This tool is derived from aerial maps and has a great level of detail. It will help you identify general topography, streams, roads, and high potential deer habitat and is a great resource to keep in your truck for anytime scouting.

Tool #3: Plat Books can be very helpful, once you choose the county or counties in which you think you may want to hunt. Plat books will show you who owns the various parcels of land (usually just those over 5 acres) in a particular county. Platbooks can be purchased through several sources including; the Farm Bureau, County Treasury Office, The County Soil & Water Conservation Office and other places. One convenient Plat book publisher/seller is Rockford Map Publishers (http://www.rockfordmap.com). They publish good quality Platbooks for about 20 states.

Tool #4: County Auditor Websites – As more and more public information goes online, many of the County Auditor offices are putting the key information you are looking for on the web, and all in one place. If your target county does this, consider yourself blessed, because it can be a treasure trove of the most up-to-date information, including; land owner’s names, property lines, addresses of the property and the address of where the owner lives (if different).

Tool #5: The Phone Book – Once you find the land and the landowner’s name using the plat books or county auditor’s site, the phone book can be the next tool in your arsenal to help you get permission. County phone books can be used to look up the names you find in your search. If the names can’t be found in local phone books don’t give up hope. You can still find them by visiting the County Treasury Office, and asking the good people there where the property taxes are being sent for your target parcel of land. This information is part of public record.

Tool # 6: Topographic Maps – Some hunters find these really helpful. Others don’t feel they’re necessary since many of the tools mentioned above give you a good sense for topography. However, if you are scouting large tracts of land where knowing the topography will be a key element to a successful hunt, then getting a topographic map could be a good option.

There are several places to get topographic maps, including some sporting goods stores or government offices. However, two of the most convenient places I’ve found to buy them are http://www.usgs.gov and http://www.mytopo.com. Both of these web sites allow you to buy printed maps or have custom printed maps sent to you. Both sites also have free or paid products to choose from. Here’s a tip…If you’re going to deer camp with several other hunters, that might be a good time to have a custom printed map made. That way you can use for planning your daily hunts, to detail where each of you will be hunting, and to help you determine higher potential deer travel routes. Plus, if you’re going with a group you can split the cost of the map.

 

Option 2: Leasing private hunting land or using an outfitter

Finding free land to hunt is obviously the best option, but for some people who have the financial means and limited time for scouting, finding a hunting lease or booking guided or semi-guided hunts with an outfitter can be a good solution. If looking for a lease here are a few things you’ll want to consider:

Make sure the lease you get gives you exclusive rights to hunt the land. Or, at least make sure you know and trust the other hunters who will be using the lease. There’s nothing worse then paying a lot of money for a lease and then having some “yahoos” ruin your hunting opportunities by doing something stupid.

Ask the landowner or leasing agent if you can scout the property before putting any money down on the lease. When you scout the property look for deer sign, but also make sure it has plenty of the three elements mentioned earlier; food, water and adequate cover. Also, ask if the landowner has any pictures of deer roaming or harvested on the property. Introducing yourself to neighbors and asking them about the local deer herd can be another good way to gauge a lease’s potential.

Before searching for a lease, make sure you can’t get permission to hunt the land for free. Find the properties you want to hunt, then do your homework, knock on doors and ask permission. If you get turned down, offering to lease the land can be a good fallback position.

A hunting lease is a legally binding contract that gives exclusive rights to hunt land, in exchange for a fee. If you’re not working through a broker who provides a good lease contract, make sure you get one and get it signed. Also, make sure the lease is very clear about specifics like;

• Who the landowner is

• Who has permission to hunt and scout the land (make sure you have exclusivity),

• What animals are allowed to be hunted and how (is gun hunting allowed, or is it archery only?),

• The effective dates of the lease

• If camping/fires are allowed on the land, if that is something you may want to do

• Where vehicles are, or are not allowed on the land

• What rights you have to modify the land (can you put in food plots, cut trees, etc?)

• What the price and term of the lease is

• Any other intentions you have and want to clarify in the lease

If a landowner won’t grant you exclusive permission for free, there’s nothing stopping you from asking them if you can lease their land for hunting, But if you want to greatly expand your search, there are several hunting lease brokers that you can use to find and lease land. Many of them are online and let you search properties through their online databases. Doing a simple Google search for “Hunting Lease” or “Hunting lease brokers” will help you find several options like: Basecampleasing.com, Nationalhuntingleases.com, Leasehunting.com, Findahuntinglease.com, hightechredneck.com and more.

 

Option 3: Getting permission to hunt land that other hunters overlook. 

This article is about increasing your odds of harvesting a mature trophy buck. You may think that your county or state doesn’t have any trophy bucks in it. In most cases that is not true. If you look in your state record buck you’d probably find that just about every county in your state has trophy animals on record. The key to hunting trophy bucks then isn’t necessarily finding some remote new places to hunt, but finding the right places to hunt – some of which might be much closer than you think.

Consider this…as the population of people in the nation continues to grow, many more people are choosing to move out of the congestion of cities and into the country. Often times they will buy five to ten acre lots because they enjoy being surrounded by nature. You will probably find that the majority of these landowners will not allow hunting on their properties – providing the deer population a “safe zone” to grow old in. However, these areas are worth investigating and seeking permission in. If you can get access, this can be some of the best trophy buck land around.

Finding The Edges Will Give You an Edge:

Deer are “edge animals”, and looking for different types of edges is a great strategy for finding them. For deer hunting, I’ve found that “edge” can be defined a few different ways. A “Cover Edge” is the where two types of cover meet – like where the woods and a field meet, or where a thick bedding area joins more open timber. This is often a great type of edge for setting your stand and finding travel routes. Another type of edge is what I call the “Pressure Edge”. The Pressure Edge is where a deer safe zone property borders one that you can hunt. If you’re hunting in a highly pressured region the best place to find a trophy buck is to gain permission to hunt in their safe zone. The next best place to hunt them is on the Pressure Edge, right next to a known safe zone. Gain permission in either of them and your odds of seeing trophy animals increases dramatically.

Look for safe zones and pressure edges on the urban borders and city limits, or within one of the many townships that contain good cover. Many of these areas will allow archery hunting. Sometimes a special permit is required in the more urban areas. (Make sure you check your state and local regulations and stick to the letter of the law. Nothing will tighten hunting restrictions for everyone faster than hunters who break the rules.)

A good strategy is to look at a map of your area and look for the possible safe zones and pressure edges. Places to key in on include city or county parks, scouting and church camps, airports, mining operations and gravel pits, federal wildlife areas, airports, golf courses, shooting clubs and more. One you start looking the map you will be surprised at how many pressure edges you’ll be able to find. Once you find these areas, make a list of the ones you’d like to investigate further. Then use the tools and tactics mentioned earlier in Option 1 to systematically pursue gaining permission to hunt them.

At the end of the day it is all about playing the odds. The more landowners you approach about getting permission, the more likely you are to get a place to hunt. And the less pressured the land you find, the more likely it is to hold mature, trophy bucks. Use this logic starting now, and you are sure to increase your odds of hanging a trophy animal on your wall in the seasons to come.

DuckBuckGoose – Cincinnati, OH

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Published by Gear Junky on 01 May 2008

Hardcore Hunter Must-Haves, volume II

Simple. Cheap. Effective. How many products with those attributes actually improve your quality of life?

Toilet seat covers come to mind. Not much else.

In the previous installation, I recommended a great backpack, backpacking stove, and lightweight bivy. In this blog, I’m going to highlight a few items that are less expensive and get less attention, but are worth their weight in gold. These items will make your next hunting trip more enjoyable, believe me. Simple, cheap, effective…you can’t go wrong.

Must-Have Blister Buster: Body Glide Anti-Friction Stick

Lightweight/Compact:10

Durability: 9

Cost-Effectiveness: 10 ($7 online)

Usefulness: 10

Innovation: 8

On the list of things I hate, blistering and chafing rank just ahead of rectal exams and just behind Kirstie Alley’s voice. I can’t do anything about the other two, but blisters and chafing are now a repressed memory with Body Glide. I found this magic stick when I was training for my first marathon. I thought a few days of wearing hunting boots over rough terrain was bad, but let me tell you, you haven’t experienced a hot spot until you’ve had a blister bleed through your sock and shoe on mile twelve. Of twenty six.

Runners, instead of doing the sensible thing (give up running), invented anti-friction sticks out of necessity. Body Glide is as good as any product out there, and is widely available for around seven bucks. You can apply it to feet, from the soles to the toes and the heel and everywhere in between, before putting on your socks. And it works anywhere else you feel hot spots, which can be a real life saver when each step burns your inner thigh. Ouch. And it works on existing blisters, so if you forget to use it, it isn’t too late – a thin layer eliminates friction, and since friction is the cause of irritation and pain, you won’t notice the blister the rest of the day.

All of those clever remedies – duct tape, band aids, Vaseline – are obsolete. Just keep this stick around or cut off a tiny slice and throw it in a plastic baggy for the backpack. It has the same consistency as clear (non-gel) deodorant, and just one stick will last years.

Must-Have Spotting Scope Accessory: Universal Digiscoping Adapter

Lightweight/Compact: 5

Durability: 9

Cost-Effectiveness: 8 ($45)

Usefulness: 8

Innovation: 9

What the heck is digiscoping? A long time ago, people asked what the heck were wheels, or compound bows, or iPods. And digiscoping is much cooler than wheels or iPods. Maybe I’ll write a separate blog on this later, but for now, here’s the quick story. At some point, most every one of us who own a digital camera and a spotting scope have tried to take a picture through the scope, usually with disappointing results. But like Dylan told us, the times they are a changin’.

As you can see, the adapter serves as a tool for positioning and stabilizing a compact camera on a spotting scope, either angled or straight. For $45, you can capture any images you see in your scope by taking a picture or video clip, and with impressive results. It takes some practice to get it just right, but once you figure out the proper settings on the adapter and the camera you’ll have some fun. Here are some of the photos I took through my scope (27x fixed eyepiece and 3x optical zoom = 81x magnification), which would have otherwise been impossible. This pronghorn probably scores near 90 B&C:

Here’s a link to a youtube video of the same goat, also through my spotting scope at 300 yards:

Now, had I come back and told my buddies that I had found a B&C monster without evidence, what would their reaction have been? Sure, Roger Clemens, an 88 inch pronghorn. But with digiscoping, scouting trips become photojournal excursions. Sure, your results will depend on the quality of your spotting scope and your photography skills. But even a rough image is better than no image, right? At twelve ounces, I bring my adapter along any time I’m not living out of a backpack.

Must-Have Bottom-Saver: Allen Gun Cases Self Inflating Seat Cushion

Lightweight/Compact: 9

Durability: 8

Cost-Effectiveness: 9 ($15 shipped)

Usefulness: 9

Innovation: 7

Nobody likes wet rumps in the field. I don’t like a wet rump anywhere. Nor do I like pine cones or jagged rocks jabbing my nether regions when I’m trying to rest my footsies. This self inflating seat cushion does the trick, keeping you dry and padded when you sit to glass those upper basins or relax and watch a Mariners game from the cold metal bleachers in the outfield. It straps around your waist (like a belt) and stays on all day, and after a few minutes you won’t notice it’s there. It doesn’t flap against you as you walk, and it sits below your backpack so it doesn’t get in the way. When you want to sit, just sit – it will be there. This one is not to be missed – it’s the most satisfying fifteen dollars I’ve spent since Safeco Field opened their cheap seats.

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Published by RchurE on 29 Apr 2008

My journey back to field archery.

It’s been about 8 or 9 years since field archery has been a part of my life. Some of my best childhood memories are of the tournaments my dad, his friends, and I attended. I shot the 3-D scene for a few years after field “fizzled out” around these parts in Southwest Virgina. Our field range had been on hiatus due to a gas pipeline that had to be consructed pretty much smack dab through the middle of it. When I rejoined the club last year I was pleasantly surprised that there were a few people that had rekindled the field spirit and reconstructed the range. 

When I was in my prime if I ever had one I usually averaged in the low 540’s and always wanted to hang with the big boys in the 550’s. I shot in the 550’s a few times as a youth and won the Va. state shoots a few times. Once I stepped up to the young adult class and then the adult class I kind of just leveled off and never was able to reach that next level. Then I hit that age that we all hit as young men and started chasing the girls and archery was no longer my primary interest. I still shot quite a bit but not enough to achieve the “shot” that takes more practice than I was willing to commit to.

Here I am many years later and I’ve came full circle back to where it all started for me, field archery. I thought I might start this blog to help track my progress as I make my way back in. I’ll start by saying that I probably won’t be shooting a whole lot of tournaments because I’ve decided that this stint in archery is going to be more of a hobby for me than anything and I don’t want to put pressure on myself so much that I stop enjoying it. That was a large part of why I stopped the last time. I think you can take this stuff too seriously and I don’t recommend letting it get to that point.

The past year has proved to be both expensive and frustrating. I’ve been through 5 bows and I’ve had to learn everything that I have forgotent all over again. I ended up with a Hoyt Ultra Elite for 3-D and a Pro Elite for field. I just got the Pro Elite ready to go a couple of weeks ago and I shot my first half with it today. Up to this point I’ve been shooting some rounds but they’ve all been done with my 3-D bow.

The first time around this year was on March 31st. I got to meet a new friend that day named Roy Sturgill. He’s an older guy from this area originally but moved to Delaware. He was in visiting some family and decided to shoot a round at the club while he was here. We had a great time that day and it couldn’t have been more fitting for me to get to shoot with an “old schooler” that day. I ended up shooting a 265 half on the field faces. I felt pretty happy with that since it was the first time outside and the first time on a field course in that many years.

My second time out was on April 5th. That day was wet and rainy but still a lot of fun nonetheless. I shot alone that day and to be honest it had been some kind of day at work so I was glad to get some peace and quiet at the range flying solo. I did better that day and was tickled with a 271 half, still on the field faces. I shot a 20 on the 30 which I normally struggle with pretty badly and I also 20’d the 80. I hadn’t done that in a long time so I was on cloud nine.

On April 20th we had a 28 animal round at the club and I decided I’d shoot it. It rained pretty much all day long and it was miserable as far as shooting conditions go. The camaraderie was just as I remembered it though. We had a blast as we all got soaking wet and tried to keep the raindrops out of our scopes. When it was all said and done I was whipped. I knew I was out of shape but wow, I forgot what good exercise it is walking 28 targets. Those pesky little 21 rings they put on the animals now are a lot tougher to hit than one would think. I had two brain farts for 18’s and hit five of those 21’s for a total of 561. I was happy with that but I think I can do much better with some practice. 

I realize this has been a long post here but I’m coming to an end very soon. All of this brings us to present time so I’ll get back to the first round with the new bow I spoke of earlier. It was blue cold today compared to the 70 degree weather we’ve been getting and it seems this part of the country is the new Chicago as far as the wind goes. I’m getting pretty used to these terrible shooting conditions and won’t know how to act when I finally get to go shoot on a nice day. I shot really well today even though my score didn’t reflect it. I shot 14 hunter targets and ended up with a 270 half. The 32 fan took my lunch money as I suspected it would. I shot a 17 on that one so almost a third of the points I dropped were on that one alone. I shot 18 on the 70 walk up, 19 on the 64 walk up, 19 on the 40, 19 on the 48, 19 on the 58 walk up, and 19 on the 44.

I’ve set a goal for 550 before the year is out and I don’t think I’m too far off. I’m hoping to get out tomorrow or Thursday for another round. Stay tuned for details.

 

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Published by Gear Junky on 27 Apr 2008

When you come to a fork in the road, take it

When I was fourteen, my family was lucky enough to hunt Oregon’s famous Antone Ranch for big game each year. My grandpa knew the owner, and we had hunting privileges for a couple of decades until an outfitter made his way in and showed us the way out. We enjoyed some great times over those years, and one of them in particular comes to mind.

I was mule deer hunting when God sent an early Christmas gift to me one memorable evening. As I headed back to camp, I stumbled upon a broadside buck at ten yards. He was frozen and shocked – I froze up in shock – and neither of us had any clue what to do next. In my defense, I hadn’t killed my first deer yet so I was a bit overwhelmed, and in his defense, his back right hoof was stuck in a barbed-wire fence. An even match, as I recall.

You may assume that this scenario proved to be unfortunate for our fine furry friend, but in fact the opposite was true. As luck would have it, I had grown up reading every copy of the Eastman’s Hunting Journal that I could get my fingers on, so with visions of world-class trophies dancing in my head, I was determined to reserve my first bullet for a four-point, nothing less. I’d like to say that I had high ethical standards and wouldn’t have shot a buck that was trapped by a bloody leg in sharp metal wire, but…I was fourteen, and probably had the ethics of a billy goat like most high school freshmen. ‘Twas youth that saved that muley’s life.

I approached him slowly, saying, “Easy, little buddy, I’m not going to hurt you, I’m here to help you.” Maybe it was my reputation as an aspiring young assassin, or maybe it was the loaded .257 in my hands, but in any case he didn’t look convinced. I stepped within reach of his hind quarters and saw that he had tried to jump the fence, but came up short and snagged his back hoof. He now had a leg injury that would make Joe Theisman proud; it wouldn’t be long before the coyotes would come to play.

Once I realized that the bloody hind leg wasn’t actually broken, I pulled out my Maglite, jammed it between the two twisted wires, and pried an opening so he could wiggle his leg free. To thank me for my kindness, he kicked me in the thigh before yanking his hoof clear of the wire. He hobbled about fifteen yards before pausing to lick the wound and shake off the pain. After a minute he regained his senses, took one last gander at a fourteen year-old boy with a rifle and a hunting tag, and promptly bolted off. He was limping slightly, but looked like he’d recover.

But, like most hunting stories told by men with weapons, this tale does not end well for the young buck. You see, my grandpa did not grow up reading Eastman’s Hunting Journals, he already had a den full of four points, and was known for his insatiable affinity for tender young venison. Standing on the other side of the ridge, he was more than happy to unload on an eighteen-month-old buck with a limp and a death wish.

You can imagine the jokes and the punchlines that we came up with that night while grandpa cooked up the backstrap. Sometimes comedy writes itself.

Yep, it’s all true. (Except the parts that aren’t.)

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