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Bowhunt or Die! Episode 9 Recap

by Cody Altizer 13. December 2010 05:10
Cody Altizer

 As the cold, blustery days slowly inch towards the end of the calendar year, so the hunting gets tougher for whitetail enthusiasts across the country.  For the first time this season, Bowhunt or Die went live with an episode that did not feature one of our team members harvesting a deer.  Unfortunately, that is the way late season hunting goes, but our staff members were still out there hunting hard.  Let’s recap the action from Episode 9 of Bowhunt or Die!

Click here to watch the footage of Bowhunt or Die! Episode 9!

 Todd Graf kicks off December hunting his piece of property in Northwestern Illinois looking to harvest his second Illinois monster of the 2010 season.  Todd has invested a lot of time and effort into this piece of property to provide a literal buffet for whitetails in the form of food plots.  Everything from turnips, clover, sorghum, corn and soybeans has been planted to attract deer to his property and it’s beginning to pay off big time.  Todd wasn’t able to harvest a buck for this week’s episode, but he saw plenty of deer and passed on several smaller bucks.  Whitetails are a slave to their stomach this time of year and Todd has plenty of food to give himself a legitimate chance at a monster during the late season.  We will have to see how it pans out!

Pictured is one of the nice bucks Todd passed on in Episode 9 of Bowhunt or Die!  He certainly is a nice buck, but just not what Todd is looking for.  Note the food that is available to this buck.  With turnips to his left and corn to his right he'll definitely have plenty to eat on this winter!

 We then catch back up with Pro Staffer John Hermann and join his quest for an Illinois buck.  As you probably know John harvested a monster buck in Wisconsin during the early season, and if he were able to, taking down an Illinois giant would cap off an incredible season.  John had several great encounters with some smaller bucks, as well as a shooter buck he had been chasing that just didn’t want to commit to his calling.  Despite not being able to harvest a buck in Illinois, John had several cool encounters with bucks which is always exciting.  Sometimes it’s just not meant to be!

John Hermann had several nice buck encounters on his Illinois hunting trip, he just wasn't able to connect on the buck he was looking for.  John had no intentions of shooting this buck as he skirted past his stand, unaware of John's presence.

 Bowhunt or Die then heads east for the first time this season as I hunted my home piece of property in Western Virginia for the Thanksgiving holiday.  My brother offered to be my cameraman for the week (which was a pleasure as I had been self-filming all year) and we were determined to harvest a deer on film.  Despite our efforts, we just weren’t able to get close enough for a shot over the Thanksgiving holiday.  We saw plenty of deer, but the 4th week of gun season in Virginia just put those deer on edge making them extremely difficult to bow hunt and forcing me to return to Illinois empty handed.  Still, it was a blessing to be able to go home and spend quality time in the woods with my family which made the trip a success.

This photo is one of our food plots my family has planted on our hunting property in Western Virginia.  It was fun to be able to hunt back home for a week, I just wish I could have connected on a deer!

 After chasing whitetails hard for 2 and a half straight months Todd and Justin Zarr took a break from the woods and attended the recent Mathews Retailer Show in Wisconsin.  This show featured the release of the new Z7 family of bows by Mathews as well as other cool products and accessories that will be released for the 2011 hunting season.  Visit our New Products video gallery for more in depth coverage and an exclusive first look at some of these exciting new products.

Here is Justin pictured with the Mathews rep at the Mathews Retailer show in Wisconsin talking about the new Z7 family of bows.

 Although our team wasn’t able to harvest any deer for the first time this season, Bowhunt or Die was still an exciting episode.  Our guys are still out there hunting hard and documenting their hunts on film to share with everyone, so be sure you continue to tune in to Bowhunt or Die the rest of the season!


Bowhunt or Die! Episode 7 Recap

by Cody Altizer 19. November 2010 09:53
Cody Altizer

 While it may seem hard to believe, Bowhunt or Die has reached Episode 7 of the 2010 bowhunting season.  With the rut in full swing, our staff members flooded the woods and fields of Wisconsin and Illinois in hopes of harvesting a mature buck on film.  Two of our most persistent Pro Staffers, Mike Willand and Neal McCullough, both harvested good bucks and Todd Graf continued his Quality Deer Management efforts by harvesting his second doe of the season.  In case you missed Episode 7 of Bowhunt or Die, read on for a recap!

Click on this link to view the footage from Episode 7!

 Neal McCullough was the first out of the gates and he brought us an exciting hunt for a Wisconsin 10 pointer.  Neal has been hunting hard all year long and just hadn’t been able to put fit the pieces together, but he stayed resilient and kept after it knowing the only way to tag a big buck was to keep working hard.  On the morning of November 7th, Neal was able to call in a big rutting buck while hunting in Pepin County, Wisconsin.  The big buck was so focused on the buck he thought he heard making the grunt, that he paid no attention to Neal’s mouth grunt to stop him.  Neal had to practically yell at the buck, but when the buck stopped, Neal took hit shot.  The shot didn’t get much penetration, but Neal gave the buck plenty of time and was able to recover his buck.  Congrats Neal on a well-deserved, hard earned Wisconsin buck!

Pro Staffer Neal McCullough had been working very, very hard throughout the season and was thrilled when he harvested this buck.  The expression on his face says it all!

 We then head to Northwestern Illinois and join staff member Mike Willand in JoDaviess County.  Mike’s 2010 season thus far was similar to Neal’s in that he was seeing good bucks from stand, he just wasn’t able to close the deal or they weren’t the caliber buck he was looking for.  All that changed, however, on the afternoon of November 11th.  Just as soon as Mike got settled in his stand, a mature buck pushed a doe across the bean field Mike was situated on and the buck casually walked right in front of Mike’s stand at no more than 20 yards.  Mike’s first shot was true; however, the buck stayed within range and presented another shot.  Mike’s second was through the lungs and the buck laid down and expired; a quick, clean kill!  The result was Mike’s first self filmed buck harvest on an old, mature buck.  Nicely done, Mike!

Mike Willand looking over his first self-filmed buck kill.  While Mike's buck certainly isn't the largest scoring whitetail in Illinois, one cannot refute this buck had some age on him making him extremely difficult to kill and equally rewarding.

 Bowhunt or Die host Todd Graf jumps in on the action as he continues his pursuit for his second buck of the 2010 season.  Todd continued to put in a ton of time and effort and his drive in the whitetail woods to be successful is admirable.  Unfortunately, despite several more buck encounters, Todd just wasn’t able harvest a nice buck for this week’s episode.  On the other hand, Todd was able to harvest a nice adult doe off one of his hunting properties.  Quality Deer Management is very important to Todd and he takes the practice very seriously, so it was a virtual no brainer to thin out the herd and put a little meat in the freezer when the opportunity presented itself.  Great job Todd, now you can focus your efforts on that second monster buck of the season!

This screen shot was taken just seconds before Todd Graf released an arrow.  Todd takes Quality Deer Management very seriously and he didn't hesitate to take this doe to ensure better hunting opportunities in the future.

 John Mueller concludes Episode 7 of Bowhunt or Die as he toughs out a frustrating November.  As amazing as the rut can be for some hunters, it can be equally as frustrating for others as was the case for John.  He had been seeing great activity and some good bucks, just couldn’t coax them in close enough or they were too busy with a doe.  But at the end of the day, that’s bowhunting.  As frustrating as it can be sometimes, that’s also the beauty of the sport because we appreciate the sweeter moments that much more.  Don’t give up, John.  When you do connect, it will only make that feeling that much more enjoyable!

One of the several bucks John Mueller had an encounter with over the past several weeks.  While John wasn't able to harvest a buck, he has certainly put the time and effort in to do so.  Patience pays, John!  Patience pays.

 That wraps up the action for Bowhunt or Die Episode 7.  Unfortunately, firearm season settles in for the majority of the country so there will not be a Bowhunt or Die next week.  If you are a gun hunter, please be safe and remember to wear blaze orange!  Until the next episode of Bowhunt or Die, enjoy the Thanksgiving Week with your family and have a blessed holiday! 

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