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by Daniel James Hendricks 16. January 2011 11:19
Daniel James Hendricks

     As the snow continues to deepen, the rigors of the northern winter become harder for the wild things of our part of the country.  Deer traffic has been reduced to simple trail-traffic for weeks now with the aimless wandering that whitetails are so famous for no longer an option for the snow-bound deer.  December in Minnesota witnessed the greatest snowfall since weather recording began, I am told and sadly it is taking its toll on the creatures of the wild. 


     I have been feeding corn throughout the fall, hoping to supplement the animal’s diets and better prepare them for the winter.  The golden grain has been consumed not only by the deer, but squirrels, rabbits and song birds all dine together at the pile consuming as much as they can.  This type of feeding benefits all wild things in spite of the fact that it is frowned upon by some.


     This past week, I contacted a member of our church, a farmer, and had him deliver two square bales of rich clover hay to my back yard.  I placed it in the back of our pickup, cutting the strings on the first bale and removing the first two slices of the dark green, leafy forage.  I placed them on either side of the mineral lick that has been a permanent fixture in our backyard for the past two decades.  The hay remained untouched for several days as the deer-traffic, diminished by inclement weather, has been light if any at all.  Then we had nighttime visitors and the first two thick slices of clover-pie disappeared into thin air, or perhaps into thin deer; nevertheless it was gone.


     Even though we live within the city limits of Glenwood, the deer traffic through our yard is constant and heavy in volume, year-round.  For the past ten years the winters have been mild and there has been no real need to supplement the diets of our local herd, although I have offered hay at our backyard salad bar, regardless.  The need this winter is critical due to the harshness of the cold temperatures and deep snow.  


     The hunter is portrayed as the villain by the Animal Rights Fanatics (ARF), yet when a hard winter like our present one occurs, who is it that comes to the rescue of the hungry wild things?  It certainly isn’t the ARF’s.  They believe in letting nature take its course and allowing starvation to naturally thin the herds.  Instead, it is the villains, the hunters that come to the rescue of the wild things that they believe they have been entrusted to care for and manage.  It is the game harvesters that reaches into their pockets and pay for the forage to save the herd and then go to the trouble to get those foodstuffs to the needy creatures that suffer from the rigors of nature.


     How interesting that those who claim to love the animals do nothing to assist when assistance is needed.  And the ones that are demonized for managing the herds by regulated thinning to an acceptable carrying capacity are the first and only ones to answer the call to save the herd.  The rich coffers of the ARF’s are held in reserve to save the hapless animals from the only true friends they have, the hunter. Oh, what cruel irony, with one breath to claim love for the wild things and in the next say, “Let them die.”
     For those of you in areas where winter is taking its heaviest toll, I hope that you will do all that you can to relieve some of the stress being experienced by the creatures that are being most victimized by this harsh winter.  It is our responsibility as hunters and every animal we save is a critical building block to the future of our sport.  If we don’t do it, it won’t get done.



Verifier Peep, Like Putting Reading Glasses on Your Bow

by John Mueller 19. February 2010 06:34
John Mueller

The Verifier Lens by Specialty Archery in my Super Ball Peep has definitely improved my shooting in the last couple of years. It was like putting reading glasses on my bow. What were big fuzzy blobs are now crisp and in focus sight pins. For all of you older bowhunters out there with eyes that just aren’t what they used to be with regard to close up vision, you need to try the Verifier Lens out. I guarantee it will help your accuracy.

The Verifier comes in 5 powers just like those reading glasses in your local pharmacy. I use the #8 lens in my peep. Hopefully your shop will have all of them so you can try all of the powers to see which one helps you the most. There is no magnification with the lens it just clears up your sight pins.

The Verifier Lens screws into the Super Ball Peep and come in either 1/8” or ¼” aperture size. When installing the lens, it’s best to put a little bow string wax on the threads before screwing it in the peep. This keeps it from backing out due to the vibration of the bow. The ¼’ is better for hunting, allowing more light to pass through for those low light shots when the big guys like to show up. For those of you who like to center their sight housing in the peep instead of a single pin, you will need a sight with a small outside diameter. The ¼” verifier works well with sights of 1 ¾” diameter and smaller.

The Super Ball Peeps come in many styles and colors, with or without tubing attachments. I’m getting the red one for my Black Ops Destroyer 340. They also come in 2 different angles, 37* for bows 40” and shorter and 45* for bows longer than 40”.

You young guys might not have a use for this product just yet, but when the time comes, just remember it can save you a lot of headaches trying to hold that big blob of a pin on target. All of us more experienced bow hunters need every advantage we can get to stay on target. And the Verifier Lens is a tool not too many people even know about. Everyone I let look through my peep is amazed at the difference it makes.

The Heater Body Suit Keeps You on Stand

by John Mueller 1. February 2010 05:07
John Mueller

            I have the perfect solution for those bitter cold late season sits on stand. The Heater Body Suit will keep you warm no matter what the weather brings. I used mine quite a few times last season and I never got cold while I had it on down to -6*.


            I purchased my suit after the season ended last year, so it took me a while to give it a thorough testing. I used it this season when the weather got really cold and windy. I wore a base layer of Under Armor with an insulated Scent-Loc Liner over that and a Cabelas Fleece Outfit while walking to my stand. After I was safety strapped to the tree I put on the “booties” that come with the suit, these help keep the inside of the suit clean and also help your boots slide into the legs. Then I put the Heater Body Suit on. The suit resembles a sleeping bag with legs sewn into it, with suspenders to hold it up when you remove it to shoot. Getting cold while wearing the suit was never an issue, I was out in temps as cold as -6* with a steady wind. The windproof liner kept the cold winds out and my body heat kept the temps up inside.



            I was a little worried about hunting out of my Lone Wolf Sit and Climb while wearing the suit, but I fit down inside the arm rails just fine and didn’t feel cramped. It was fairly easy to get into the suit on the small platform too. But then again I am 6’ 3” and 180#, so I can maneuver around in tight spaces.


            Using it in late season with the woods wide open, I always saw the deer coming in plenty of time to get stood up and slide the suit off of my shoulders. Once the suit is off your shoulders it is no problem at all drawing your bow. In fact it’s easier than drawing with the bulky layers you would need to be wearing if it weren’t for the suit. The material is very quiet, making no noise while drawing your bow.


            While traveling to and from the stand the suit rolls up to about the size of a sleeping bag and has straps so you carry it like a backpack or over one shoulder.


            At first the zipper was a little loud, but I rubbed some wax on it and if you keep outward pressure on it as you move it it’s really pretty quiet.


            If you live where the temps really get down there or if you just don’t like the cold.   The Heater Body Suit will definitely keep you on stand longer. It will also make it easier to draw your bow once you slip it off of your shoulders and only have the lighter clothes on underneath. Check out their website at . They have a special field test opportunity going on right now on their website with a big discount if you buy one and do the field test.

Energizer Night Strike Compact Light, The Perfect Bow Hunting Light

by John Mueller 20. December 2009 07:41
John Mueller

The Energizer Night Strike Compact Light just may be the perfect bow hunting light. It’s compact, light weight, has multiple lights built in and has a hands free detachable clip. This light is so versatile; I know I can find many uses for it around home or hunting camp. I may need one for both.




            The Night Strike is very small and compact. It fits in the palm of your hand or is barely noticeable on the bill of your cap.



 It runs off of one AA battery, with the Energizer Lithium the recommended power source. Even though it is small in size it produces a very powerful beam of light. It has 4 different light options built into its small frame. The first is a very bright 40 lumen white LED in the center front which has 3 power options, high, medium and low. You can toggle between the three by pushing the on/off button on the right side of the unit. This light is great for using around camp or map reading.




The second is a red LED on the front left which also has 3 power options. This light is excellent for finding the way to your stand in the morning darkness, since red light is not supposed to spook game. The switch for the red light is on the left side of the light.




 Third is a blue, blood tracking light on the right front operated by a switch on top of the light. Blue light is supposed to make the blood trail stand out from the background.




 Last is a green strobe light on top of the Night Strike. The strobe is operated by pushing the same switch that turns on the blue light in the opposite direction. The strobe light is designed to alert searchers to your location in the event of an emergency.


            The versatile swivel clip makes hands free operation of the light simple and quick. The light slides onto the clip from either direction and by swiveling you can clip it onto your cap, pocket, collar or sleeve and light your way, or use it without the clip as you would any other flashlight.


            The white and red lights have 3 power settings but once the light is set in one position for 3 seconds one push of the switch shuts it off without having to toggle the switch more than once. When switching from one color to another just push the next colors switch and the first light is powered off, using only one color light at a time and conserving power. Runtime varies by the light used, but the light will last 8 hours on high power of the white LED. Other lights use less power and will run for longer times.


            Some of my favorite features of the light are.

  1. The 3 power settings of the red LED. Some mornings are brighter than others and you just don’t need a lot of light, however on those really dark mornings it’s nice to have full power.
  2. The powerful white LED is great around camp or when the power goes out.
  3. The detachable swivel clip allows you shine the light exactly where you need it hands free.
  4. Very light weight and small size.
  5. Battery cap is attached to the light by a cord.
  6. Operates on 1 AA battery.

All in all I am very impressed with the Energizer Night Strike Compact Light. I can’t think of one negative thing to say about it. I actually plan on leaving one in my hunting pack and having one at home for use there. It’s that good. It might also be a good idea to have one in each vehicle. These lights should be available soon here at But in the meantime you can check them out as well as the rest of Energizers Lights here.

Nothing Goes to Waste in Nature

by John Mueller 13. December 2009 08:56
John Mueller

            Some of you may remember the doe I shot a few weeks back. Here is a link to the video.   Even though I wasn’t able to use the meat it certainly didn’t go to waste. I did however use one of my doe tags and called her in, I felt it was the right thing to do since it was my arrow that killed her. I set up my Moultrie GameSpy I45 trail camera on the carcass to see what would show up.  Lots of critters took advantage of the doe I killed but wasn't able to find for a couple of days.


            Mother natures best know scavenger, the coyote had a few meals of venison.



            Another well known carrion lover made a few visits to the kill site.



            Even a house cat couldn’t resist a free meal.



            Most people probably don’t realize it, but our Nations Symbol the Bald Eagle also is a bit of a scavenger. On more than one occasion I have seen Bald Eagles sitting on deer carcasses in the middle of fields in winter.

You can check out the Moultrie GameSpy I45 in the shopping section of

Destroyer 350 and Destroyer 340 Lead BowTech's 10th Model Year

by Scott Abbott 2. December 2009 04:27
Scott Abbott

Eugene, OR (November 2, 2009)-For their 10th Model Year anniversary, BowTech is pleased to introduce their most advanced bow ever produced. It's called the Destroyer for a reason.
"From concept, this bow was designed to be easy to draw, quiet, accurate and forgiving. As it turns out, the bow happens to be fast," Craig Yehle, Principle Designer explains, "We believe it is important for our flagship offering not be construed as a speed bow, but as a truly exceptional all around offering. We believe we have achieved this."
The Destroyer is offered in two models; Destroyer 350 and Destroyer 340. Both are accurate, shock-free, easy to draw and fast...very fast. While most archers have to trade shootability for speed, the Destroyer delivers both. This balance is accomplished using three new technologies; OverDrive Binary™, HardCore Limbs™ and FLX-Guard™. 

OverDrive Binary™ synchronized dual cam system gives the perfect synchronization of a Binary while allowing split buss attachment to both cams for best-in-class cam stability and tune-ability. Premium alloy composition allows for a strong, lightweight design which diminishes noise and vibration.

The high modulus carbon core of the HardCore Limbs™ puts the core to work, storing energy not only near the surfaces, but inside the limb. Distributing stress through the limbs increases overall limb response, efficiency and durability.   

The new FLX-Guard™ cable containment system addresses the tuning affects of extreme cable tension and inflexible cable guards found on today's bows. As the bow is drawn, it flexes inward, isolating the riser from unwanted cable guard torque.
The Destroyer 350 and Destroyer 340 come standard in Realtree Hardwoods HD®. Alternate riser finishes include BlackOps, APG HD, Mossy Oak® Infinity™, OPTIFADE™ Open Country or Forest and Next FLX™. Any alternate finish will have black limbs. All BowTech bows are protected with an InVelvet™ top coat.
BowTech manufactures and distributes the world's finest compound bows and archery equipment. Founded in 1999, BowTech's corporate offices and manufacturing facilities are located in Eugene, Oregon. With a worldwide distribution network, BowTech's family of brands include: BowTech, Diamond, Octane, Stryker and WaterDog Surface Technologies. BowTech is a subsidiary of Savage Sports Corporation, located in Westfield. MA. Brand names include Savage Arms, Stevens, Fox, Savage (Canada), Savage Range Systems and PortaTarget.
©2009 BowTech


214" Whitetail Bowkill in Illinois

by John Mueller 30. November 2009 08:26
John Mueller

            My taxidermist friend just finished mounting the largest whitetail brought in to his shop so far this season. A 214” gross, 209” net non-typical that looks very typical. This beast is a main frame 10 point with split G-2’s and a small sticker off of one brow tine. The G-2’s are 14” long and the mass measurements contribute a lot of inches to the total score on this buck. What really helps this bucks score is the fact that his typical rack is very symmetrical, there are very few deductions from side to side.


            The monster was killed by a bowhunter to remain nameless in West Central Illinois in early archery season. Congrats on a fine trophy.

Trail camera photos can lead to one night stands.

by Scott Abbott 27. November 2009 05:20
Scott Abbott

Trail camera setups can be as complicated or simplistic as you choose to make them.  I personally stay on the simplistic side of things as I am not trying to "pattern" bucks with their use, but rather get a better look at them after I locate a buck I am interested in from summer glassing. For me it all starts in the summer.... I will spend countless hours and evenings glassing the areas I hunt looking for big whitetail bucks.  Once I locate some bucks of interest I move in and set up cameras and leave them up anywhere from two weeks to a month on the property. 

Leaving cameras up and checking them over and over again all summer is pointless to me.  Once I get a better look at the buck(s) in question, I know right away if he is an animal I am interested in or not.  Once my curiosity is satisfied I pull the cameras not to return with them again, unless a new buck is found on that land I need a better look at.  I err to the side of caution by only placing them on field edges or just into the timber. Deer are used to activity in these areas so you can get away with a little bit of human scent around these setups from your trips in and out.  If you are trying to setup trail cameras on their travel routes or bedding areas I feel you are setting your self up for early season failure.  With my personal focus on early season success, I do not want to tip anymore of the odds in the whitetails favor. 

I used summer glassing to locate this buck this past July.  I then moved in and set my DLC Covert II Assassin trail camera up for 2 weeks and got the photos I was looking for. He turned out to be the largest buck I located on land I can hunt.

October 17th found me in a particular stand for the first time this year with a strong, and very rare for my area NE wind.  I was setup just outside of his bedding area (beds located during shed season) and was able to capitalize on my preseason efforts in a big way!  Chances are I may not have been setup in that area had I not known this guy was in there. 

If you do your summertime homework by locating the bucks, move in and setup the trail cameras on their food source, pull the cameras out after you get the info you need and save those bedding area stand locations for the perfect wind and conditions I bet you will have a better shot at success this fall.


No Excuses

by John Mueller 16. November 2009 07:48
John Mueller

            I’m not going to make excuses as to why I have been hunting hard in Illinois for nearly a month and a half now and still don’t have a deer down. I’m just going to try and explain how it can happen.


            I guess I’ve entered into a different stage as a hunter. I used to be all about killing the animals. I have killed as many as 10 deer in a season and enjoyed the hell out of it. I doubt I will ever do that again, no reason to really. I have also killed some really nice bucks and hope to again soon. It seems a lot of the hunting was about the competition of killing a big deer.  Now it feels like more of a chess match. Waiting for a particular buck or one that meets my own personal standards. Like these guys.




            But right now I am having just as much fun managing my property for the deer and turkey that call it home. I have really gotten into food plots in a big way. Hopefully to help out the local deer heard in the harsh winter weather and also to make the hunting a little easier. But so far that hasn’t happened. You would think with a smorgasbord of food available whenever they want it there would be deer out in it any time of day. It just isn’t working that way this season. Some of that may be due to the fact that with all of the rain this fall the farmers haven’t been able to get their crops out of the fields. In normal years all crops should be out by Halloween, this year they may not be out by Christmas. Still my plots should be a good draw for the late season.




  These 2 seem to be enjoying my efforts.


            I have also planted my CRP field in Native Warm Season Grasses such as Big Blue Stem, Indian Grass and Sideoats Gramma. In a couple more year as these get established they will create a wonderful bedding area for the deer and a nesting area for the turkey and other ground nesting birds. This will help hold more deer on my property and keep the neighbors from killing too many of the ones I’m trying let grow older.


            I have also been sharing my treasure with friends that appreciate what I am trying to do with my piece of Whitetail Paradise. Last year Matt/Pa and Greg/MO were out and we hunted hard for a good buck, but that never happened. So on the last evening of our hunt we decided we needed a deer for our trophy shot. We ended up taking 3 does in the last hour of the hunt. This year Matt couldn’t make it with his new job and Greg ended up killing this buck on Halloween evening. Mobow is also hunting out there with me this year. He has killed a button buck (by mistake) and is still waiting on the wall hanger to offer a shot. My taxidermists’ son has also harvested a mature doe while hunting on my place.

A good evening of hunting


The Halloween buck.


            Now don’t get me wrong. I haven’t stopped trying to kill deer, but I have become more picky in the ones I do shoot.  I can afford to there are some really nice ones living around me. I may not kill a good buck every year but that will be ok with me. I don’t go out with the intent on shooting every doe that walks within range and I have a certain hit list of bucks that I’d like to put a tag on. But to just kill a deer, I think I am past that stage. I still get the same adrenaline rush every time I see a deer materialize from the woods. I just don’t have to kill every one to make it a successful hunt any more. I have also starting taking my video camera along, weather permitting, and am enjoying some of the things I am getting on camera. Still not a pro at the video thing, but maybe that will be the next stage in my hunting career.

I still like this side of hunting a lot.





But this side is gaining fast, maybe I'm getting soft in my old age.

"Doctored" Scrape Really Got Results

by John Mueller 26. October 2009 06:22
John Mueller

            After seeing all of the threads on making mock scrapes recently, I decided to give it a try. I really haven’t been using any kind of commercial scents in recent years at all. I just never had any response to them or any success. After doctoring up a small scrape I found around the edge of my food plots last week and seeing the results on my trail camera, I may start using them again.


            I really started noticing the scrapes appearing around my food plot last week. While picking up some supplies I went into the hunting section and picked up a bottle of Wildlife Research Active Scrape and a bottle of Code Blue Dominant Buck Urine. I decided to give this mock scrape thing a try.


            I picked out a scrape in the narrow part of the field, figuring any buck crossing through there would see it or smell it and stop to work it over. There has been a scrape near this spot each year I have owned the property. I broke some of the small overhanging branches for good visual effect and sprinkled some of the contents of each bottle in the scrape and also on the branches above it. I then took my Moultrie I 40 Trail Camera and attached it to the tree the scrape was under.


         The only problem I have with the results, is all of the pictures were well after shooting light. The bucks are only visiting the scrapes at night. But hopefully once a few does come into estrous they will drag the big boys out during daylight.

         The following pictures are the results at my “Doctored” scrape. I can’t say for sure that the bucks wouldn’t have visited this scrape anyway, but I can say that the scents I put down sure didn’t scare them away. I now have my Moultrie I45 set on the video mode on another scrape. I’m hoping to get some video clips of these bucks working that one over this week. Stay tuned for the next blog! 

You can purchase the scents I used or any of your favorite brands here at



This buck found the scrape the night after I doctored it up.

 Working over the licking branch.

 Another buck a couple of nights later.

 A tall narrow 10 pointer a couple nights later.

Getting a nose full of scent.

 Working over the scrape itself.

This is the stud I really want. Hopefully one of the ladies gets him to do something stupid.

DLC Covert II Assassin Trail Camera.

by Scott Abbott 26. October 2009 05:52
Scott Abbott

This new product brought to market by Covert Scouting Cameras caught my eye right away when I first noticed it at the ATA show this past winter.  "Covert" is the perfect name for such a camera, it's tiny only 5 1/2" high x 3 1/2" wide x 2 1/4" deep.  It literally fits in the palm of your hand.  It's small stature coupled with it's infrared flash makes this camera very hard to detect by game and thieves alike.  Without looking for this camera it would be very easy to unknowingly walk right past it.

I had the privilege of testing this superb unit over the summer.  This trail camera is hands down the best I have used to date.  I got over 8000 pictures on one set of 8 AA batteries!  The cost of running this camera is minuscule.  In time this camera could nearly pay for it's self from it's low cost of operation compared to other cameras I have experience with.  It also comes with a 2 GB SD card so other than adding batteries it is ready to go right out of the package.

The camera is equipped to take either 3 MP or 5 MP photos backed by 24 high intensity LED bulbs packing a 40' flash range.  I will admit to never testing the unit on the 3 MP setting.  I only ran the unit set on 5 MP and it took fantastic photos both day and night.  The LED lights do a nice job on the photos after dark.

Below is a sample of a couple day and night photos. Keep in mind the photo quality suffers quite a bit when I resize and upload them to the blog.  They are much more crisp and vibrant before manipulating them.

These first two photos showcase the cameras fast trigger speed.

 Features of the Covert II Assassin trail camera include:
-24 "high intensity" Infrared LED's with a 40' flash range.
-Adjustable sensitivity for the PIR motion sensor.
-The camera comes with a 2 GB SD memory card.  The unit accepts cards from 8 MB to 2 GB in size.
-Adjustable from 1 second to 60 minute delay.
-Adjustable from 1 second to 60 second video length.
-The case includes a sun / rain shield over the lens and PIR unit.
-Industry standards such as locking tabs and a waterproof seal.
-1 year limited warranty.

These cameras can be viewed at or and you can reach Dave who is very helpful at for all of your Covert camera questions or needs.


Pro-Bow-Cam Camera Arm by Pine Ridge Archery

by John Mueller 22. October 2009 09:05
John Mueller

            The Pro-Bow-Cam Camera Arm from Pine Ridge Archery is great for do it yourself filming where you aren’t going to be moving the camera a lot. Lightweight, simple tree attachment, silent movement and ease of adjustability are all neat features of this camera arm.


            The base of the Pro-Bow Cam separates from the support arm, making it much easier to attach to the tree. You don’t have to worry about the arm and camera swinging around as you try and attach the unit to the tree. Simply pull the pin holding the two together and strap the base to the tree, then slide the two pieces back together and insert the pin back in the hole and you are ready to film.

Two piece design allows easy attachment to any tree.


            The arm itself is made up of three pieces of tubing connected with Teflon washers to insure silent operation. Fully extended there is approximately 26” of movement away from the tree. I like to position mine opposite the hand I hold my bow in and a little above seat height. This allows me to see the viewfinder while sitting or standing and the arm doesn’t interfere with drawing my bow.

 26" of extension away from the tree.


            The sections of tubing are held together with locknuts on bolts. The locknuts allow you to adjust the tension of the arms movement so it doesn’t keep pivoting out of position. The camera mount also has tension adjustment to allow smooth movement of the head. It can be swiveled left and right and tilted up or down. The movement on this head is not the smoothest on the market when trying to follow a deer or other animal. It is more suited for setting up and catching the action in front of the camera. Ideal for filming yourself without another person along.

Swivel and tilt adjustable head.




Here are the videos I captured using the Prow Bow cam:

If you are looking at just getting started in filming your hunts and want to try it out before you sink a ton of money in it, this is the perfect tree arm. Cheap, but very functional, suited perfect for the Handycam style of camera, not the bigger professional models.

Headin' Out West...

by Dustin DeCroo 20. October 2009 08:27
Dustin DeCroo

The lower 48 states offer an incredible amount of opportunities to us as bowhunters.  Hundreds of thousands of hunters expand their horizons each fall as they venture out West to chase species they can't hunt at home.  It may seem early, but now is the time to start planning your hunts for the Fall of 2010 or 2011.  Hopefully some of you are planning a trip somewhere in the Western US and there are some things to keep in mind during your planning.

What do you want to hunt?
It sounds so simple, but honestly... it's probably the toughest decision for me to make, obviously, it sets the stage for the rest of the planning.  There are so many options... From Antelope in New Mexico to Elk in Idaho or Montana.  Personally, anyone that hasn't been on an Elk hunt during the rut needs to cut loose, it's truly incredible.




Application Deadlines
First of all, it's important to be aware of the application deadlines if you plan to hunt something that requires you to draw a tag.  The earliest due date that I'm personally aware of is a 1/31 deadline for a Wyoming Elk tag.  These dates should be easy to find on the individual states websites, but the Cabela's TAGS system is an excellent source of information.  Another great source of information is called the MRS (Member's Research Supplement) in the subscription edition of Eastman's Hunting Journal magazine.  I highly recommend this magazine for anyone planning a Western hunt.

Make the most of your vacation time 
If you're like me (or any other worker for that matter) you have a limited amount of time to be away from the daily grind.  I would say that the majority of the Western states allow the opportunity to hunt multiple species in one area.  For example, a Pronghorn/Mule Deer or an Elk/Mule Deer hunt are viable options in many places.  If you can swing it, it's often times cheaper to do a combo hunt than to make two separate trips.  At the very least you should be familiar with the leftover tags in the area you are hunting.  Even shooting a doe to supplement your main hunt can be worth the economical tag.  I understand that's not always an option, but it's something to think about at the very least. 

Both the antelope and mule deer doe were killed with leftover tags.


Physical Conditioning
We've all heard of the toll the Rocky Mountains can take on the lungs of a flatlander.  I'll attest to that.  Starting now gives you ample time to make sure your body is ready for the demands of a back country Elk hunt.  The last thing that you want to do is spend thousands of dollars on gear, licenses, transportation and whatever else, only to get there and not be able to breathe for the first 3 days.  There is no substitute for cardiovascular fitness to prepare.


Planning early also gives you the opportunity to start saving money to purchase the gear that you'll need for the trip (or ask Santa Clause) as it may be slightly different than anything you've needed in the whitetail woods.  Packs, boots, lightweight outer layers... I could go on for days.  The good part is that the majority of those necessary items for a great price right here at the store.



Great October evening, buck down in Ohio!

by Scott Abbott 18. October 2009 15:06
Scott Abbott

The evening of October 17th did not start off as I had planned. I took my Lone Wolf Assault and climbing sticks in with me in an attempt to really hug a good bedding area that I thought was holding a good buck that I hadn't touched yet.... It turned out that I couldn't find a tree with anything close to natural shooting lanes where I wanted to setup so I backed out looped around out of that spot and went straight South of where I planned to hunt to a preset lockon. I was still right in the area I wanted to hunt, but about 70 yards further from the heart of the bedding area than where I planned to sit.

Once I was setup in my stand it was 37 degrees with a solid NE wind that was blowing into the double digits. Perfect weather for a big buck to show before dark.

Everything was slow to start the evening off except I noticed that the squirrel rut is in the heavy chase phase... Those little guys were running something fierce! The squirrels were fun to watch and they kept me entertained until 6:15 when I noticed a buck coming toward me directly from the North. And a great buck it turned out to be, one that I knew well from summer scouting. I recognized him right away from the palmation on the end of his left main beam.

As he stepped behind some of the abundant foliage 20 or so yards away, I drew back my BowTech Allegiance settled in and waited. 30 seconds later he stepped into a very narrow shooting lane at 6 yards and I let the arrow fly. There was no blood trail to follow as he dropped in his tracks and expired seconds later, the Victory arrow tipped with a Slick Trick GrizzTrick broadhead worked flawlessly once again!

Birthday Doe Down!!

by Dustin DeCroo 15. October 2009 10:04
Dustin DeCroo

October 7th proved to be a pretty good day all the way around.  I had a short day at the office and couldn't think of a better way to start the evening than sitting in a treestand.  I headed to some local public land that receives and extreme amount of pressure but can be productive if you'll use your head. 

A few days prior to this hunt, a wind shift made me change locations.  Rather than reset my stand I took advantage of the foggy air and wet ground to do a little in season scouting.  I stumbled into a gold mine (Oklahoma standards) when I found five Red Oak trees all together.  You have to understand that 99% of our Oak trees are Black Jack Oaks that produce acorns about the size of a pea.  It sounded like it was raining acorns and there were deer tracks everywhere.  The only problem being that there wasn't a decent tree within 75 yards that would allow my climber a place to rest. 

I packed in my stand along with my Lone Wolf Climbing Sticks  when I decided on a tree it was obvious I wasn't going to need many... two to be exact.  We had a forecasted SE wind and I set my stand on the West side of the Red Oaks, expecting the deer to come from the NE.

Exactly as I had planned, two does arrived at 6:40pm and within a matter of seconds an Easton Axis tipped with a Slick Trick Magnum zipped through her lungs.  The shot was just under 25 yards and she crashed 50-60 yards later.  This is probably the most rewarding doe that I've ever killed just due to the fact the property is pressured so hard and that it's kind of nice to know that doing your homework does pay off!

Another deer falls to a Slick Trick, can't argue with this hole!!!

Two Weekends Into the IL Bowseason

by John Mueller 12. October 2009 06:55
John Mueller

With 2 weekends of hunts in Illinois under my belt I still have all of my tags in my pocket. It’s not because I haven’t been seeing deer, just not the right deer. Just thought I’d share some experiences and pictures from stand with you.

The look of a natural born killer. It was cold a few early mornings.

Having gotten pictures of some good bucks around my food plots, the first weekend I set up in a stand in a pinch point 30 yards across. There is very little hunting pressure in my area so the deer usually come out into the fields pretty early. That night was no exception. I had 3 little bucks come out at 4:30. They ate some of my corn and then switched off to munching clover and chickory. I had been getting trail cam pics on my Moultrie I40 cameras of a buck with a spike on one side and a fork on the other side all summer long. No matter where I put a camera he would walk in front of it. I now know why. There are 3 of the little buggers that look just alike, I saw all 3 of them that night. The first weekend I promised myself I wouldn’t shoot a doe and mess things up if a buck was coming later. I had numerous opportunities to kill does but passed.

Ready for action.

My view to the plot.

One of the triplets in the persimmon patch.

Another night I sat near some persimmon trees. I think I had a few of every animal in the woods walk past me to go feast on the sweet persimmons. The group of turkeys even strolled through and had a few bites. If you have any persimmon trees that are loaded with fruit, I’d suggest sitting on the downwind side of them some evening hunt or morning for that matter.

One of many visitors to the persimmons.

Week 2 found me perched on the side of a hill loaded with fallen acorns. As darkness gave way to daylight I spotted a rub on some saplings just feet from my tree and deer sign was everywhere. I figured the deer would hit this hillside later in the morning on their way back to their beds. I was wrong. Not a single deer sighting that morning. On the evening hunt mobow did see a nice 10 pointer cross the food plot. He thinks he might score 140ish.

A promising looking hillside.

He was here at one time.

The leaves are changing.

On the final sit of weekend #2 I was sitting on the food plot again and my buddy Don Eime was back off into the woods hoping to intercept them before they made it to the plot. He did exactly that. Only as he was squeezing the trigger the doe got just enough of a wiff of his scent that she bolted. By the time the arrow made it to where the big doe was standing all that was left there was her tail. The only sign of a hit was a few white hairs, no blood or tissue on the arrow at all. The only thing I had come into range that night was a small fawn just as light was fading. Not wanting to shoot a button buck by mistake I let it walk by at 30 yards.

Plenty of sightings and action in two weekends of hunting but no tags punched. The hunting should only continue to get better in the next few weeks. I’m planning on spending many more days in the woods this fall.

Opening Day Doe! Slick Trick Broadhead Success

by Scott Abbott 9. October 2009 04:13
Scott Abbott

I am not known as a "nanny whacker", in fact most years I do not hunt does at all.  I have always reserved doe hunting for after I have filled my buck tag.  This year was a little different as I planned on taking a doe early as long as it was while hunting a low impact setup and would not interfere with future hunts. 

On that rainy evening, I setup on a finger that shot out off a 30 or so acre wood lot that protruded out to a bean field.  I first saw two young bucks walking a tree line a couple hundred yards away. Then I saw two does and a button buck rise up from their beds that were in an area of tall weeds within the field that was not planted.  They browsed my way on the beans after they stood up. I am assuming were working their way toward the oaks within the timber I was hunting.

 I took around a 20 yard shot with my BowTech Allegiance shooting Slick Trick GrizzTrick broadheads.  I successfully recovered her in the bean field a short time later, the broadhead left a devastating wound channel. 

I was very impressed with the GrizzTricks performance, I have used the Slick Trick magnums for years and so far I like these heads better!

If you're in the market for a broadhead that's sharp, flies great, and is super tough I strongly recommend checking out these Slick Trick heads.  You can purchase them right here at by clicking this link.

Octane Bantamweight Quiver Review

by John Mueller 26. September 2009 22:29
John Mueller

            The Octane Bantamweight Quiver is the latest in Bowtech’s quiver lineup. It is one of the lightest and the most adjustable quivers on the market. The foam head will accept any broadhead design made.  


            The adjustability of the Bantamweight Quiver makes it possible to use on any bow with any arrow length. The arms pivot and move to any angle and the length between the head and the grippers can be adjusted to suit your arrow length. The angle of the head and grippers can be adjusted to align the arrows with your bow to protect the nocks and keep mud and debris from sticking in them. Check out the video in the link to see the adjustability in action.


            Because of it’s skeletal design and the use of lightweight materials this quiver is one of the lightest on the market, saving valuable weight for those long hikes to your stand or lightening the load for those mountainous climbs.


            The foam in the head is CNC cut to accept any broadhead design from mechanicals to 3 or 4 blade fixed heads. The foam has been treated with a rust inhibiter to keep your blades rust free and razor sharp.

The Bantamweight can accept any style of broadhead.


            The quiver mounts to the top hole in your bows riser, and can be removed by loosening one knob. This mounting style allows for clearance over the knobs of many adjustable length bar sights. Quivers which mount to the holes in the sights often times have issues with hitting the locking knob on adjustable length sights.

The quiver attaches with one screw and can be removed by loosening the red knob


Once removed this is all that is left attached to your bow.




Top of the riser attachment allows for clearence of  adjustable length sight knobs.

            The Bantamweight also sits close to the bow, not taking up a lot of space in your case. This also helps when walking through thick woods, keeping everything close to your body and not getting caught on limbs and branches.

Adjusts to completely protect your arrows.


            My only complaint about this quiver is; I wish it had 2 arrows grippers instead of one and the foam in the head. I use the Rage Broadhead and the foam can cause the blades to open in the quiver. If there were 2 grippers you could use the head without the foam and not have that problem. I have found that over time, taking the heads in and out of the foam can take some of the razor edge off of the blades also.


            Overall I really like the quiver due to the light weight, super adjustability and the simplicity of attaching and removing it from my bow. If it had the 2 grippers, I would consider it the perfect quiver.

And best of all it works.


            You can order your own Bantamweight Quiver and many other Octane Accessories from by following the link.

After a long vacation, "Forks" returns

by Dustin DeCroo 22. September 2009 04:25
Dustin DeCroo

The summer of 2008 left much to be desired in terms of mature deer on trail cameras.  There were several decent deer that posed for our Moultrie cameras, only one of those deer was harvested.  One deer that I really hoped had made it through the season was a buck we named "Forks" a main frame 8pt that had the beginnings of split G2's on both sides.  There were no confirmed sightings of this buck from August 2008 until July 2009.  He had grown substantially and is now deemed a member of Dubbya's 2009 Hit List.

A hard drive crash last November claimed the majority of my photos, but I was able to find one picture of "Forks" from 2008.  In this photo you can just barely see the G2's splitting (he is the deer on the left).

"Forks" showed up again in the middle of the 2009 growing season, sporting some decent growth from the year before.

After another disappearing act that lasted over a month, "Forks" shows himself in from on my Stealthcam I-540.  Apparently he was doing some growing in his absence... (On the right in the first photo).

On the left...

Hopefully I'll see this buck up close and personal in a couple of weeks when the 2009 Oklahoma archery season opens on October 1st!

First Set of Pictures from my Moultrie Gamespy I45

by John Mueller 20. September 2009 05:28
John Mueller

After getting my first set of pictures off of my Moultrie I45 Gamespy Camera I am impressed with the lowlight color pictures. I have a couple of the I40’s and they convert over to IR images much sooner than the I45 in lowlight situations. I much prefer to get color pictures over the black and white IR images. But I would rather not have the flash going off after dark.


The Moultrie Gamespy I45 ready for use.



I had the camera set up on a small food plot I planted on a ridge in the middle of my woods. I'm hoping to catch a good buck stopping here for a bite to eat in the daylight before he heads out to my main food plots. There are deer here during shooting light, but the only big buck I cought still wasn't there during shooting hours. He is a little blurry because he was moving during the picture. I still think this will be a good location to kill a trophy buck this season.

This nice buck strolled in front of the camera just after shooting light disappeared.




I got 68 images during the first week and a half of operation and the battery life was still at 97%. I’m hoping for the 5-6 months of operation per set of batteries I currently get from the I40’s. This would be a bonus, because the I45 only used 4 D cells compared to 6 used in the I40.


The picture quality could maybe be a bit clearer, but a lot of the pictures were in lowlight morning and evening situations. They seem to be a bit grainy. Next time I check the cameras I’m going to put it out in the open on a food plot and see if true daylight pictures are clearer.

The I45 stayes in the color picture mode much longer than earlier IR model cameras

even in lowlight.



The IR range seems to be pretty decent. Some of the deer in the farther pictures are 15 yards from the camera and there is still good detail.

These does are close to 15 yards from the camera.


Here is a sampling of the pictures I got from the first set up.

You can order your I45 right here from, just follow the link below.

Leupold RX-1000 TBR Laser Rangefinder

by Dustin DeCroo 20. September 2009 03:35
Dustin DeCroo

A few weeks ago at a local archery 3D shoot, I won a Nikon Archer's Choice rangefinder in the Iron Buck Challenge.  The Archer's Choice only ranges to 100 yards, which, I guess if I used it strictly for archery it would be okay.  Unfortunately, I use it for calling predators and a multitude of other things.  I took the rangefinder to the sporting goods store and exchanged it for the Leupold RX-1000.  It was a little bit more expensive but well worth the money in my opinion.  Let me introduce you...

Leupold RX-1000


Features from the manufacturer:

  • 6x magnification gives you plenty of power, with a wide field of view to track movement.
  • Bright colorful optics, markedly brighter than previous rangefinders.
  • Three user adjustable intensity settings allow you to perfectly match the OLED display to dynamic lighting conditions.
  • Three selectable reticles: Leupold Plus Point, Duplex and Duplex with Leupold Plus Point.
  • Includes a built-in inclinometer.
  • Compact pocket size, lightweight.
  • Rugged and weatherproof body machined from a bilet of solid aluminum.
  • Scan mode continuously updates the range as you track a target or scan an area.
  • Accurate to 1000 yards (reflective targets), with measurements in yards, or meters.
  • A newly redesigned Quick Set Menu® uses on-screen prompts for exceptionally intuitive and easy use in the field.
  • Fold-down rubber eyecup adjusts for eyeglasses.
  • Fast focus eyepiece with precision clicks.
  • Battery power indicator for easy battery level checks.
  • The common CR2 lithium camera battery is easy to change in the field.
  • Available with Mossy Oak Breakup™ or two-tone black/gray finish.
  • Multiple ballistics settings…True Ballistic Range (TBR®) provides accurate aiming information matched to the performance of your rifle or bow. By calculating the incline, line of sight range to the target, and a projectile’s ballistics, your RX provides rifle hunters using Leupold Ballistics Aiming System reticles as well as bow hunters the correct equivalent horizontal distance for precise shooting on an incline. In other words, aim using the True Ballistic Range, not the line of sight range. Rifle hunters can also get this data as an MOA adjustment or a holdover point. With practice, long distance/steep angle shooting will become second nature. TBR is effective to 800 yards for most rifle cartridges.
  • Accessories included: Cordura® holster, battery, instructions and other items. Also includes a lanyard.

The recent innocation of TBR or True Ballistic Range has brought many questions to life in the world of rangefinders.  Having a background in physics, I've always held true to the fact that at traditional bowhunting heights and shooting ranges, there isn't enough difference to make a difference in hunting situations (at least for bows in excess of 275fps).  After using this rangefinder on my recent trip to Wyoming, my thoughts have been actualized.  I ranged a ton of sstuff at different angles and inside of 60 yards, it's hard to find a five yard difference between the horizontal distance and the line of sight from an elevated position.  If you choose to shoot a rifle at long distance it could definitely come in handy. 

As for this rangefinder itself, I've fallen in love with it over the past 10 days.  It reads extremely fast, it is small, lightweight and the clarity of the glass is second to none.  I often times found myself using my fangefinder to glass at close distances as opposed to my 10x42 Brunton Lite-Tech binoculars.  I really like the red LED display as well.  My favorite feature of this rangefinder may seem miniscule in the grand scheme of things but the case for the rangefinder is excellent.  It's very small, not bulky and closes magnetically as opposed to the snaps on several other models.  The best part in my mind is the angled belt loop, yes, that's correct... the belt loop.  The loop is offset at a 45 degree angle so that when you reach to get the rangefinder it pulls out forward and is super easy to get out.  For hunting on foot (which I do a lot of for western big game) there is nothing more frustrating than trying to get your rangefinder out of a super tight case with a snapped cover in the heat of the moment.  You won't have that problem with the RX-1000 guaranteed.

Overall I would rate the Leupold RX-1000 a 10 out of 1.  If you're in the market for a new rangefinder don't overlook the RX-1000, you will not be disappointed.


My Antelope Hunting Adventure In Wyoming

by John Mueller 13. September 2009 08:23
John Mueller

It was quite an adventure hunting with a bunch of friends from the forum as well as a few Bowtech Staffers. This hunt was more about the friendships than the actual hunting, although the hunting was fantastic.


Even though most of us knew one another, few of us had actually met face to face; we just knew each other from the forums. It was neat to have a camp full of guys that got along like brothers the whole time, it really made the hunt a pleasurable experience.


Miller Outfitting knows how to put hunters on good antelopes and also show them a first class time, their operation is second to none. We all arrived at camp by 3:00 on Saturday with our hunt to begin Sunday morning. Doug the owner said if we wanted to shoot our bows a few times to see if they were still on he would put us all in blinds that evening since the hot weather was perfect for hunting. So we all took a few practice shots and changed clothes and were in our blinds overlooking water holes by 5:00. Within 10 minutes the first goat was down. Bill had connected on a good buck. One more speed goat would fall that first evening. I had a doe and young one come to my water hole that evening but no shooters.


A doe and fawn that came in the first evening.


The first morning I went to same hole Bill took his buck at the night before, it was located in a good travel area.


A view of my water hole the first morning.


I had numerous small bucks and couple of does come in early.


One of the small bucks that came in early.


I received news via text Kevin had killed a goat a little ways from my blind and they were taking it in to get it in the cooler. It had been a while since I had seen any so I texted Rob and Greg asking if this was the 10:00 lull. Soon after that text I got word that Greg had hit one, but just grazed its back. What seemed like just a few minutes later I got the message that Greg and Rob had both tagged really good bucks. That meant I was the only one left hunting and it wasn’t even noon of the first day. At 2:00, after not seeing an antelope since 9:30, I called Billy my guide asking what the weather was supposed be like the next couple of days. He said cooler with a chance of rain. That meant the antelopes wouldn’t be coming to water as much as in the 93* heat of the day. I decided if a decent buck came in I would take him instead of waiting for a bigger one later. At 2:30 the antelopes must have gotten up from their naps. I had a steady stream coming to water, but they were all small.


Around 4:00 I got my sandwich out of my pack. I thought to myself, I better take a look around before I start eating. I peeked out the back of the blind and saw a huge buck running a good buck away from his doe. I quickly put my sandwich down and grabbed my bow. I decided I would shoot either of these bucks if presented with a shot. The bigger one didn’t want the smaller buck anywhere near his doe and kept running him off. Finally the smaller one started to make his way to my water hole. But he came in to my left just the opposite of all of the rest of them. I had to reposition myself for the shot. I ranged him at 22 yards and drew back. Almost at full draw my elbow scrapped the Velcro on a window causing my goat to leave the water, but he stopped after couple of steps. I aimed and touched off the trigger, my arrow struck low in the chest just behind the front leg. I immediately thought heart shot as he climbed out of the water hole and stumbled over the damn, blood pouring out of the wound, I knew he wouldn’t go far. I called my guide Billy, and told him to come get me I’m done.


In a few minutes Billy arrived with Kevin and Bill. We loaded up my trophy and drove a little ways away from the hunting area to take pictures and field dress my antelope. The guides actually take a bunch of pictures in different poses and when they get back to camp, they print out a beautiful 8 x 10 print for you and at the end of the hunt each hunter gets a disc with all of the hunters’ pictures on it. That’s definitely not something you get on every hunt.


Trophy shots sporting the colors.



One of the 8 x10 glossy that Doug gave me.


After we had all tagged out Doug suggested we all take a ride to Devil’s Tower National Monument, it was only about an hour and a half away. So Tuesday we loaded up into 2 vehicles and headed to Devil’s Tower. It was a neat ride through some beautiful country. Devil’s Tower is a huge mass of rock that rises straight up nearly 900 feet out the landscape, truly an amazing sight.


The whole gang at Devil's Tower.

Then after lunch at a local diner we headed back to camp. But Doug took us home on gravel country back roads almost the entire way. We stopped many times to view deer and antelope as well as take in some awesome scenery. That ride was another one of the many highlights of the trip.


If you are looking for a fun hunt with a group of friends by all means consider an antelope hunt with Miller Outfitting. Definitely not the most adventurous hunt, but one to relax on and have a great time in camp and enjoy the services of a first class outfitter. And antelopes make a pretty darn good looking mount too.


Rob and Greg actually shared this water hole the first evening of the hunt.



Some goats just a couple a hundred yards from camp.



The equipment I used on this hunt was:


Diamond Iceman

Easton FMJ Arrows tipped with Rage BH

Octane Bantamweight Quiver

Apex 4 pin sight

QAD Drop Away Rest

Octane 7” Stabalizer

The View From My Stands

by John Mueller 31. August 2009 08:04
John Mueller

            By giving you a view from my stands and a little background as to why I hung them there, I’m hoping to give you a few ideas where you can hang stands on your hunting grounds. Let me say this about some of my stands. I was never a big fan about hunting over food plots. The farm I used to hunt had a few other guys that hunted mostly field edges. I hunted back in the woods and killed more deer because of the pressure the deer got near the fields. Since I now have my own property and regulate the pressure on the fields I see deer out there all of the time. The field is very secluded and I am careful about bumping deer in it. Last year I saw 4 shooter bucks (over 130”) in my field and 2 of them on multiple occasions.


            So let’s get to the stand locations. The first stand is on the NE corner of my food plot. I positioned it there to hunt with a South to Southwest wind, which we had a lot of early last season. The deer like to come out across the field to my South and feed toward my stand. Then exit to my East after feeding for a while. This is the stand I had the encounter with the big 10 pointer as darkness fell last season. He took too long to feed across the field. This year I planted Corn in the middle of the field and shorter wheat and brassicas on the edge to funnel the deer closer to the outside of the field.

This is my view lookin South, the corner of the corn is 35 yards.




This is looking West towards my next stand, "The Pinch Point". The bare dirt is freshly planted wheat.

            Next is my pinch point stand. I actually have a stand on both sides of the field here to allow hunting it with a North or South wind. The field narrows down to 30 yards across at this point creating a natural funnel and the woods falls off into deep draws on the sides. The deer love to feed thru this narrow area. Watch the wind and you could kill a deer there almost every evening. I enhanced it a little more this year by planting a strip of corn down the middle with an opening in front of the stand that I planted in wheat and brassicas.

This is the view to the West, where a lot of deer come from. I'm hoping they will follow

the narrow strip of corn right out in front me.


Looking across the 30 yard wide "Pinch Point". The samll opening is planted in

Brassicas and wheat.


            The stand that I am most excited about this year is my secret spot in the woods. It is a small opening that gets just enough light to grow a honey hole food plot in the middle of the woods. It’s located on the end a ridge the deer like to bed on and use as a travel corridor to the main field. I can hunt this field with any wind that has West in it. It takes my scent out over a big ravine. I cut down a few trees to open it up a little more and scattered some Secret Spot Seed a couple of weeks ago. It is sprouting and from the trail cam pics, the deer have already found it. I’m hoping I can ambush one of the big boys coming in for a snack before heading out to the bigger food plot. It seems they like to wait till dark to show up out in the open.



Looking into the mini plot to the Northwest from my stand, you can see the green carpet of fresh sprouts.




A shooting lane cut to the North.





Shooting lane cut to the South.


And a shooting lane Southwest behind the plot.


            Later on I can post some more of my stand locations as I hunt them. Most of the time I hunt out of my climber, so I couldn’t get pics from those locations.


            For any of your stand or climbing sticks needs, check out the shopping pages here at, you can never have too many stands.

Cutting shooting lanes... The Essential tools.

by Scott Abbott 19. August 2009 10:49
Scott Abbott

Here is one thing I  have learned....  There is an easy way and a hard way to cut in stand locations.  Over the years through trial and error I have found the essential tools of the trade to get the job done as fast and easy as possible with leaving minimal disturbance to the area.  Sure using a chainsaw you could knock out some lanes fast.... But at what cost to the setup?

Starting with a simple folding hand saw.  I have one of these on me at all times while hunting.

A nice set of loppers are fantastic at taking down trees up to 2-3 inches in diameter.

The Hooyman 5 and 10 foot saws are outstanding pieces of equipment that I believe are a must for any mobile hunter.

Finally for those branches way up there a 14 foot pole saw.

By using these tools there won't be a setup that you can not effectively trim out with minimal effort.  By owning these tools for properly trimming out areas to hunt a hunter is more likely to cut out extra setups each year to expand their hunting opportunities.

 To follow are links to purchase the Hooyman saws right here on

The Next Generation caught on Trail Cam

by Dustin DeCroo 12. August 2009 11:24
Dustin DeCroo

The summer of 2008 was extremely dry and a camera at the local watering hole provided hundreds of trail cam photos on my Moultrie D40.  One particular buck that spent a lot of time at the pond was an older deer that sported a wide, short tined rack with some unique points.  The buck was later killed by one of my hunting buddies during the rut on a separate piece of property that is exactly one mile away.




My trail cameras have taken thousands of pictures of deer over the years and I've never been able to say that I've taken pictures of a deer and his offspring.  Two weeks ago I purchased my first Stealthcam, the Rogue IR and placed it near a bedding area in a very shaded creek bottom.  I check the camera seven days later and had a picture of what I'm sure to be the son of the buck that was photographed and killed in the fall of 2008.  He shares the same fairly wide frame and short brows and G2's as the deer that I think passed him these genes.  If you look closely you can see little nubs where the G3 should be growing that are identical to the buck from 2008.  I hope I have the opportunity to see how this deer progresses over the next couple of years. 

Setting up a lockon treestand, climbing sticks and trimming shooting lanes.

by Scott Abbott 5. August 2009 08:25
Scott Abbott

Every now and then you come across a spot that just tells you to put a lock on up rather than pack in your stand for the hunt.  This spot only tells me that once every 3 years though because of the crop rotation on the fields.  It is a long walk from my parking area and right outside of a bedding area that is located 100 yards East of a corn field (I do not have access to the property with the corn field).

I always take in extra screw in steps when setting a lock on and climbing sticks.. You never know when you may have to go a couple extra feet to clear some branches.

Because of these circumstances of the close proximity of a bedding area and the very long walk I decided to put a lock on up for the season rather than pack in a stand when I hunt it.  It is a spot that I will hunt a few times throughout the year as it ties into each stage of the season from early season staging, to prerut seeking, to the ruts chasing and again to late season staging.  I can get into it with our SW winds without any problems of spooked deer as well. 

Here my buddy Frank is attaching the climbing sticks.  He was a huge help, as it's a tough job by yourself to set it all up and cut the lanes.  We often tag team stand setups on his lands and mine. 

Now the lock on is being attached to the red oak that just seemed to be in a great spot.

With Frank in the stand here I am with a 14' pole saw knocking out some shooting lanes. 

Here you can see how valuable of a tool these are as you can really reach out and trim some branches that would otherwise be out of reach.  To follow is me wrestling with a larger branch... It was kicking my butt, but I ultimately won the battle!


Fixed Blade vs. Mechanical Broadheads - The Great Debate

by Dustin DeCroo 4. August 2009 05:17
Dustin DeCroo

Quite possibly the most frequently debated topic in bowhunting is which broadhead is, "the best."  While "the best" is strictly a matter of opinion, I'll try to clarify the Pro's and Con's of each, Fixed Blade and Mechancial broadheads.  Keep in mind that any broadhead will do what it's intended if it is placed in the proper location, select your equipment for the worst case scenario not for one that is perfect.

Fixed Blade Broadheads:

Dating back to the days that Native Americans roamed the plains, the fixed blade broadhead was in existence.  In the last 250 years, arrowheads or broadheads have advanced in the same manner as any other product in the world.  Today, we as bowhunters have literally hundreds of choices when it comes to selecting a fixed blade broadhead.  A fixed blade head is exactly as the name implies in that the blades are fixed as they don't move throughout the shot at any point. Let's look at the positives and negatives of these heads...

Fixed blade heads are extremely simple.  There are no moving parts, rubber bands, or other devices required for them to work properly.  They have a reputation for being the tough and rugged type head that holds up the best to the abuse of an everyday hunting head.  The majority of fixed blade heads have removable/replaceable blades rendering a head reusable if a blade becomes damaged.  This is one of my favorite features as $10 for a pack of replacement blades is easier to swallow than $30 to replace three broadheads.  Fixed blade broadheads are very suitable for low poundage setups that don't produce the high amounts of Kinetic Energy (KE) required for opening mechanical style heads.  Penetration is probably the largest advantage that a bowhunter will gain by selecting a fixed blade head.  They eat up zero KE in order to perform, allowing all the energy of the arrow to be transferred into the target.

There are very few negatives to a fixed blade broadhead, the two main complaints being their flight pattern and the smaller cutting diameter in which they are available.  Many bowhunters experience that the flight of a fixed blade head is can very different than that of a field point.  Speaking from experience, this can be an extremely frustrating issue.  Thankfully 99.9% of the time, this issue can be corrected with a little bit of bow/arrow tuning.  The final complaint (that I'm aware of) is that fixed blade heads are available in much smaller cutting diameters than a mechanical head.  I'm not able to think of a fixed blade head that offers more than a 1-1/4" cutting diameter.

A few of the most popular fixed blade brands would include: Muzzy, Slick Trick, Magnus, G5, New Archery Products, G5, Wasp, Crimson Talon and Zwickey, all of which are available here at

From Left: Slick Trick GrizzTrick, Slick Trick Magnum, Crimson Talon, Crimson Talon Hyperspeed, Muzzy 3-Blad, Eastman Terminator

Mechanical (Expandable) Broadheads:

Mechanical heads are also referred to as "expandables" as their cutting diameter expands as it enters a target.  Mechanicals are overwhelmingly the choice of broadhead style for turkey and small game hunters and many deer hunters use them as well.  With heads like the Rage slip cam, their popularity has skyrocketed in the last few years.  Let's look deeper at mech heads...

Upon screwing these heads in place of your field points, nine times out of ten they'll be close enough that you can't tell the difference.  They offer the combination of tip weights, blade numbers and sizes that fixed heads offer along with the addition of a significantly larger cutting diameter.  Due to the generally larger cutting diameter these heads are capable of creating an incredible amount of tissue damage, I believe there are mechanical heads that advertise a 3" cutting diameter!  With a bow producing adequate KE mechanical heads are an inviting prospect to tip your arrows.  

As we've heard so many times, "every rose has it's thorn" the same is true with mechanical heads.  The majority of mech heads require a rubber band, an O-ring, or a string of some sort to hold the blades in place until they're expected to deploy.  If there happens to be an issue with the rubber band the heads can be very noisy or worse the blades can open in flight causing nightmares for a hunter.  It's always possible that these blades open too early or too late, an issue that is completely eliminated with a fixed head.  Penetration can suffer because of the KE that is used to open the blades (more significantly so with blades that open from front to back).  The blades of these heads are (as a whole) less durable because they are thinner and have to move to work properly, making them weaker than that of a fixed blade.

My main complaint with mechanical heads is that they are used to cover up tuning issues, unbeknownst to most people that use them.  Generally people switch from a fixed blade head to a mechanical because it "flies like their field points."  As discussed previously this issue can be corrected most of the time by simple tuning.  This means that the arrow isn't flying "true" to begin with and is then tipped with a head that often times hurts penetration, thus compounding the effects of a poor performing arrow.

A few of the most popular mechanical heads would inlcude: Rage, N.A.P. Spitfire, Vortex, Rocky Mountain, Wasp and Aftershock.

From Left Blades Closed: Vortex, N.A.P. Spitfire XP, Eastman Silvertip, Crimson Talon Cuda, Gladiator

Same Mechanical Heads with blads deployed


Op. Massive deer tracks captured with two cool trailcam photos!

by Scott Abbott 3. August 2009 03:21
Scott Abbott

Two months into my quest to locate the buck who was leaving some big tracks on my hunting grounds is finally a success.  I had a camera up for two months with no results just some young bucks, does and fawns. 

The night before last I finally decided enough was enough. With less than two months until the start of deer season, I needed to determine who was leaving behind the big tracks.  That evening was perfect for big buck movement as we had storms blow through earlier in the day dropping the temps and bringing in a nice layer of fog for that evening.  About 45 minutes before dusk I saw a tall rack bobbing along 500 yards away through my spotting scope.  Between the fog and the distance I could see it was a lopsided rack but couldn't gather any more details.  So yesterday I checked the spot and sure enough... There were his tracks in the wet dirt.  I then moved a camera into position knowing that I would be back there today to hang a stand in a new area to take advantage of a great spot from this years crop rotation. 

Today when I arrived I went straight to the Covert Assassin II camera hanging on a fence post to see if I got any results last night...  The overnight recon was a success as I got about a half dozen pictures of this buck with two beautiful dawn photos.

I really don't know how I feel about this buck as far as a shooter, I just don't think this is what I am looking for.  He is a great buck, only stand time and a shot opportunity at him will really let me know how I feel.  If he gives me that feeling (you know the one) I will take a shot, if not I will keep looking for something else.  Just as of now, it's a no go.

 With out further ado....  The "Massive Tracks" buck!

He looks like he has a broken off g2 tine on his left side, you can see some dried velvet hanging down in the photos.  The time is off 12 hours on the camera however.  It was 6:14 AM not PM.


 One of the night photos of him.


Blind buck captured on trail camera.

by Scott Abbott 30. July 2009 21:15
Scott Abbott

Well, not completely blind anyhow.  To follow is a few photos of a buck who appears to be blind in his left eye as well as a non typical antler on the same side. 

He appears to be at least 3 years old and has always traveled alone when I have got trail cam photos of him at my mineral lick.  The trail camera photos really make me wonder what happened to him to cause the damage...  Was it a tine from a sparring match, a tree limb or possibily he was born that way? 


Any ideas?



Buck antlers grow very fast in just a few weeks.

by John Mueller 26. July 2009 08:22
John Mueller

I got these pics of the same buck a couple of weeks apart. The camera I am using is the Moultrie I-40 Game Camera, this unit is the most reliable trail camera I have had the experience of using. Obviously he wasn't scared by the glow of the infrared bulbs. It is set up on a mineral lick next to a trail with a Trophy Rock added for extra attraction. It's neat to see just how fast those antlers grow. He put on quite a few inches from the first set to the second set of pics.

From the timing on the pictures, I think he must be bedding in the area someplace and spending a good deal of time there. Hopefully he'll stick around for a few more months.



The beams really came around and the points got longer in the second set, below. He is a very symetrical 10 point that won't have very many deductions.



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