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Shooting lanes

by Matt Cheever 23. January 2012 10:11
Matt Cheever

There seems to be two distinct schools of thought when it comes to pruning shooting lanes, most gravitate to one end or the other with a few folks hovering in the middle.  On the one hand you have guys that don’t like to cut anything they don’t absolutely have to, in fact these extremist at times won’t cut a single limb and just rely on the deer to step through a tiny opening at the moment of truth. You can probably tell by my description this mindset doesn’t include me.
The other school of thought is to make sure you have a clear shot with reasonable shooting lanes in any possible area the deer could travel through. The obvious down side is you open yourself up more to be picked off and you disturb the deer’s living room at some point. I tend to lean more in this direction but am cautious as not to open things up too much and ruin a stand site.

The ramifications of too much or too little are huge.  If you film your hunts like I do, you need to consider camera angle and not having to focus through a lot of limbs to capture the image; if you take too many limbs it leaves a huge hole that lends itself nicely as a focal point for the deer’s line of sight.  You want at least three good shooting lanes, preferably one to each side at an angle to your stand and another one straight in front of you. I realize many like to have their stand on the back side of a tree for concealment but this makes it very difficult if not impossible to film your own hunts.

An extendable power chain saw is very effective when you have many limbs or larger limbs to do prune 

Where is the fine line between these two you may ask? I have an approach that may take advantage of the best of both words.  Take some time during the late Winter months while out hiking or shed hunting and do your heavy pruning; you know that one big limb 20 yards out 18 feet up that always seems to be between you and the deer, take out a pole chain saw, extendable hand saw or even a small hand saw that you can duck tape to a sapling and get that limb down.  Do your massive pruning directly after season if you have determined to keep that stand site. There are three benefits, one is having less of an impact on the deer you are hunting, two is you will open things up but allow new spring growth to come back in and camo up your area a bit; last but not least you are putting more tree buds on the ground for the deer to browse, why not do it when they need food the most?

Don’t be afraid to use a large saw for nuisance trees in the winter months as long as the land owner doesn’t mind.


Doing this late season pruning isn’t a catch all, you will still need to pop a few little twigs out of the way come late summer or fall, but it will be with minimal disturbance. Late summer is a great time to slide in there and take a hand saw and quietly snag a few nuisance limbs. The perfect tool for small touch up or public land pruning where chainsaws may not be allowed is the Hooyman extending saw. This model reaches around ten feet, or can be used as just a hand saw, and folds up small enough to take on each hunt if necessary

I don’t personally like climbing stands but if I did, this would be a must have tool

I find there is always that one little twig that seems to cause most of the problems, but I have eliminated that by toting this aluminum I beam framed saw along with me

Get out in the woods during late winter and don’t let that one little limb or big limb keep you from your trophy next fall. You will be amazed how your success rate goes up once you take out the limb factor excuse.  Remember to be safe when using saws in trees and always have a safety harness on.

Until next time, be safe and God bless
Matt Cheever 


Categories: Bowhunting Blogs

Improving the Cutting Ability of Your Hooyman Saw

by John Mueller 27. August 2009 11:29
John Mueller

The Hooyman Saw is a great tool for clearing shooting lanes. But there is one thing you can do to improve the cutting ability of your saw.

After using mine a few times last year I noticed it wanted to get stuck in the limb after I had the branch half sawed off. I figured out that the teeth had no offset to them and when sap started sticking to the blade it would bind in the wood. There was no clearance for the back of the blade to slide through the saw cut.

After talking to the manufacturer at the ATA show this year, they said they were working on a new blade with offset teeth to fix that problem. But that didn’t solve my problem. So I decided to fix it myself. I clamped the blade in a vise just below the teeth and offset the teeth myself with a hammer and a punch. You need to strike the tooth on the “V” side (not the flat side) this pushes the cutting edge of the tooth out just a little bit and creates a bigger groove for the back of the blade to slide through. It doesn’t take much. Just alternate every other tooth and bend the others out the opposite direction.

Clamp your blade in the vise like this with a little metal showing below the teeth.

Place the punch on the "V" side of the tooth and tap it lightly until it bends slightly.

I didn't take a before pic, but here you can see the slight offset of the teeth.

After putting the offset on my saw blade it no longer gets stuck when cutting larger branches and cuts much better overall. If you have an older Hooyman Saw with straight tooth set give this a try and it will help.  

More Bowhunting Products - ATA Show Day 2

by Justin Zarr 10. January 2009 05:00
Justin Zarr

The 2nd day of the 2009 ATA Show found me wandering the halls with several members of the staff, looking for any cool new products that caught our attention.  While there were definitely a lot of new products to look at, not too many of them really wowed us.  However, we did find a few that we think are going to do very well this year.

One of the first products we saw was the StepBrother from SwiveLimb Treestands.  Another extremely simple product that serves a great purpose, the StepBrother is a durable injection-molded handle that slides over your screw-in tree steps and provides a secure handle that rotates for screwing them in.  No more gloves getting caught up as you turn the step, and no more sore hands from screwing in steps all day.  With an MSRP of only $9.99 this product is affordable, and should be part of your stand-hanging gear for this summer.

SwiveLimb also had another cool little product called the TreWinch.  Designed specifically for hunters who go into the woods on their own, the TreWinch ratchets securely to a tree  and includes a 30 foot rope and carabineer that supports up to 300 lbs.  This can be used for a variety of tasks including hosting deer to let them hang overnight, lifting animals from the bottom of a ravine or ditch, lifting a feeder, or anything else you may not be able to lift on your own.  The next time you're out hunting on your own and you need to drag that 250 lb buck up a hillside you may be wishing you had a TreWinch with you!

The next item that caught my eye was a big Jim Shockey banner hanging down from the Alpine Archery booth. I’ll admit that I’m a Shockey fan (how can you not think the guy is cool??) so I figured I would check out what was going on. What I found was a new Jim Shockey Signature Series bow from Alpine, in Jim’s signature flat black riser and camo limbs. Unfortunately this bow isn’t finalized yet so there were no specifics available. As I learn more this spring I’ll make sure to bring you an update.

The Jim Shockey Signature Series bow from Alpine - more details coming soon!

Speaking on this product not being ready yet, I still don’t understand why the ATA show is so early in the year. People are just finishing up their busiest time of the year, some of us are still hunting, and manufacturers barely have time to get working prototypes available to show to dealers and the media. Why this show can’t be moved until February or March, I have no idea. It would give everyone time to get things in better shape before releasing them to the public. The only thing I can think of that benefits anyone are the print publications who are 3-4 months out from the time they get the info until it hits the press. But since print is dying, who cares? The Internet is the future of everything, and why the hunting industry keeps fighting that is beyond me!

But alas, I digress. Two other items I found at the Alpine booth that are new for this year are fully camo cover Soft-Loc quivers (no more black rods or mounting brackets), and a cool little wind checking device on a stretch cord with a handy carabineer. The quivers are available in a variety of camo patterns including Mathews exclusive Lost Camo for you Mathews fans.

After I left the Alpine booth I headed over to Stealth Cam to check out what’s new for this year. Todd has really sparked my trail camera curiosity as of late so I couldn’t resist.

The first thing that caught my eye is the new Prowler HD. This is the first trail camera (that I know of anyways) that takes HD video – both in day and night. Although it’s not full 1080 HD, it is 760 which is a lot better than the standard 640x480 that we’re used to. The Prowler HD also features an 8.0 mega pixel sensor for still images that are in a widescreen format. And the best part? Both the physical size and the price of the Prowler unit have been reduced for 2009!

Also new from Stealth are two new Jim Shockey Signature Series cameras. I guess Mr. Shockey has his hands in a lot of things these days! The new Sniper Pro is a standard flash 8.0 mega pixel camera while the Sniper IR is an infrared camera with 30 foot flash range and a 5.0 mega pixel sensor. The Sniper IR also does standard definition video (640x480) as well, which the Sniper Pro does not.

Around the corner from Stealth Cam I ran into my buddy Scott Bakken at the Bohning Archery booth. Scott and his brother David finished 2nd in this year’s Campbell Outdoor Challenge Whitetail Archery Qualifying event, taking the largest archery whitetail in Challenge history. I’ve seen the footage, and let me tell you it’s AWESOME! Check out the new episodes of the Campbell Outdoor Challenge airing on Versus now, Wednesdays at noon Central Time. You can also see Scott’s footage on the upcoming promo DVD which will be out later this summer.

New from Bohning for this year is a fletching jig that allows you fletch your Blazer vanes at a perfect 3* right offset every time. This jig is super easy to use and features an oversized rotational knob with a secure locking mechanism so you don’t have to guess whether you’re locked in or not. Yet another simple product that’s cheap, easy to use, and very effective. That certainly seems to be the trend in bowhunting gear this year.

Speaking of easy-to-use products I stopped by and visited with Andrew Hooyman at Hooyman Saws for a bit as well. The original Hooyman saw was one of our biggest sellers for this year, and we’re really excited about the improvements they’ve made for this year and the new 10’ model that will be released shortly as well. Todd is going to bring you more information about that product, but I did want to mention the new carrying case that’s available for the original units. This handy case can be attached to your belt, your pack, or even to your treestand so your Hooyman is always within arm’s reach.

After Hooyman my next stop was to see James and Barbara McGovern over at Rinehart Targets. New for this year is a Polar Bear target which has been added to Rinehart’s already huge lineup of popular 3-D targets. The Polar Bear is 60" tall, 23" wide, and simulates a 300 lb live animal.

One cool thing about the ATA show is the ability to shoot a variety of new bows that you may not get to shoot at your local shop or dealer. I took advantage of the lanes to shoot a few bows and one of my favorites was the new Ross Carnivore. As you may know, Ross archery was acquired by Bowtech several months back and the two companies have combined their technologies to improve their line of already impressive bows.

The most unique feature of the Carnivore is the hybrid cam system featuring the "Krank" system which provides an ultra-smooth draw cycle. I originally picked up my Diamond Marquis because of it’s smooth-drawing single cam but I think the Carnivore has it beat. This bow shoots great, is available in 3 different axle-to-axle lengths, 50/60/70 lb peak draw weights, and has an IBO rating of 310-318 fps. I’m hoping to get my hands on one for some additional testing and reviews so check back for more info on this great new bow.

Good friend, Bowtech staffer, and member Greg Staggs showing off the new Ross Carnivore.

Another product that I really liked, even though it’s not "new" (it was released last year) is the String Splitter from Sterner Duttera. The String Splitter is a peep-sight with an open bottom end which allows in more light during those critical low-light bowhunting situations. You simply line up the top of your pin guard with the arch of the String Splitter, settle your pin, and shoot. The String Splitter is available in 6 different sizes and 4 different colors so there’s something for everyone. The most popular version is the "Mini" with a ¼" opening. The Mini weighs in at 20 grains so it may be a bit on the heavy side for your speed freaks, but I’m willing to sacrifice a few FPS for better low-light shooting any day.

Trophy Taker, best known for their popular line of dropaway arrow rests, has acquired Shuttle T-Lock broadheads and released a new straight-blade head for this year called the Terminal T-Lock. The coolest thing about this head is that it uses the same ferrule as the popular T-Lock so all you need to do is purchase new blades if you want to switch heads. It’s only available in a 100 grain version with a 1 1/16" cutting diameter for this year, with more options likely to be available in 2010.

Another new product I have really enjoyed the past several seasons is the odor-eliminating storage products from ScenTote. For this year they have improved their entire line of soft storage bags with a new rip-stop material, which is good for those of us who are hard on our gear!

Also new for this year is an odor-eliminating bow case that is designed to allow storage of a bow with quiver attached, and features plenty of pockets to carry additional gear with you.

The changing mat from ScenTote is another great new product that is simple and to be honest I’m surprised someone didn’t think of this earlier! It’s a simple waterproof mat that you can stand on when getting changed in the field, which means no more standing on your storage bin lids, floor mats, old jackets, or trying to do a one-legged balancing act in the dark! The changing mat comes with all new ScenTote soft storage bags which have an external zippered compartment for storage, which is good considering it will probably get pretty dirty throughout the course of a season!

The ScenTote changing mat - ingenious!

The last product I want to mention in this blog is the new apparel from Sitka Gear. Since it was released a few seasons ago I’ve always wanted to get some of their stuff, and this year I just might. Sitka has teamed up with W.L. Gore (as in Gore-Tex) to feature their new Omnifade camo patter. This pattern was digitally created to blend into any terrain and be nearly invisible to ungulates (like deer). I won’t go into too much detail in this blog, but check out their videos at to see for yourself. They’re a bit long, but they’re well worth the watch. I have to admit, it’s nice to see camo technology evolving to be more effective in the field, not just on the store shelves!

New for this year from Sitka are several new lines including the StormFront gear for severe weather protection, and the Kelvin line featuring Primaloft insulation. Primaloft is super lightweight and extremely warm. I also have to mention the new line containing Ardica technology, which utilizes a lithium-ion battery to heat panels of the garment and keep you toasty warm on stand. Although I’m not so sure about the new "Dutch Oven", this looks like a pretty nice vest!

Now for two honorable mentions to some cool people we met during this year’s show.

First, noted outdoor writer and TV personality Mr. Greg Miller. Greg is a super cool guy who can kill big deer with the best of them, and has a great sense of humor. He didn’t even mind us razzing him a little about a buddy of ours who is a Greg Miller impersonator on the side. And the scary part is, they only live 10 miles from each other! Coincidence, or long-lost relatives? You decide!

Mike with the REAL Greg Miller.

Johnny "Fake Greg Miller".  Scary, isn't it??

And finally this guy, I’m sorry I have no idea who he is even though he was signing autographs at the Muzzy booth, with one of the coolest sweatshirts I’ve ever seen. I have no idea if he knows Jim Shockey or not, but just the premise of "Jim Shockey Mows My Lawn" makes me laugh.

I do have more info to post on new cameras from Cuddeback and Moultrie, a cool new broadhead called the "Reign", some more info on the new Muddy Outdoors climbing sticks and improvements to their safety harness, new Aftershock broadheads, a new sight and improved Montec from G5, and cool new flashlights from Primos but I’ll have to do that tomorrow. Check back for updates! Wins the Campbell Outdoor Challenge

by Justin Zarr 13. November 2008 02:03
Justin Zarr

For those of you who may not be familiar with the Campbell Outdoor Challenge, let me take a quick second to explain exactly what it is and how it works.  The Campbell Outdoor Challenge is a television show that showcases a series of hunting events for a variety of animals around the country.  Each event consists of several teams participating and attempting to earn points in order to win their respective challenge.  Points are awarded to both the hunter as well as the cameraman and are based on a variety of factors, not just the harvest of an animal.  As anyone who watches outdoor TV or videos knows, there's a lot more that goes into a successful production than just killing animails.  Your hosts have to be entertaining and knowledgable, and the cameraman has to do his job of not only capturing the hunt on film, but doing a good job of it.  Low light, rain, wind, branches, leaves, and a variety of other factors are stacked against the cameraman when attempting to capture good footage of a hunt which makes winning this type of event no easy task!  All teams participating in these events hunt at the same time under the same conditions, which puts them on an even playing field and affords nobody any sort of competitive advantage.  If you want to win you need to bust your butt and spend a lot of time in the field!

I was lucky enough to participate in, and win, the 2007 Archery Whitetail Qualifier event last October as part of Team  Along with my cameraman (or is it camerawoman?) Christine Appleberg we were able to capture two doe harvests and a nice buck harvest on film which was enough to put is into first place by the end of the competition.  It was a great experience and if you want to read the entire story of last year's hunt, you can click here.

This fall I was fortunate enough to return to the Campbell Outdoor Challenge as part of's Team Farm Credit along with my hunting partner and cameraman Mike Willand.  Mike and I have been hunting together since high school and finally had the opportunity to get out on some good hunts this fall, which was a blast.  If you've never filmed your hunts or been with a good friend in a tree to share in the experiences of a November rut, I highly recommend it!

Our first day at this year's Campbell Outdoor Challenge we elected to sit in a pre-hung stand setup and see what we could see when the sun came up and then do some scouting and stand hanging from there.  As we thought, the morning was rather uneventful as we spotted a few does and some 1 1/2 year old bucks off in the distance but nothing close enough for a shot or even good video.  At around 9 am we packed it up for the morning and decided to hang stands for the remainder of our trip.

Mike and I are firm believers in aggressive whitetail hunting which includes staying mobile and hanging stands on the freshest sign we can find.  Some people like to sit back and hope the deer come to them, whereas we like to put ourselves in the middle of their bedrooms or feeding areas and try to capitalize on the element of suprise.  This technique requires a lot of hard work, a lot of standing hanging and moving, and a lot of getting up real early in the morning!  It's definitely not for everyone, but has proven to be successful for us over the past several years and we're sticking with it.

Two of the most important tools in our arsenal are our Lone Wolf treestands and climbing sticks, and our Hooyman Extentible tree saw.  With two Alpha Hang-On stands and a set of 4 climbing sticks we can get 20 feet up in just about any tree in the woods whether it's crooked, leaning, straight, or branched.  Because of the Lone Wolf's light weight we can pack these stands in quickly and quietly without working up too much of a sweat which affords us the opportunity to hang and hunt stands that same evening, or even in the dark for a morning hunt.  Combined with our Hooyman saw which allows us to trim shooting lanes without the need for a full size pole saw, this has proven to be a deadly combination.  Check out the bottom of this blog entry for links to more information about these great products that are available for purchase right here on

In any case, after our 1st morning hunt we hung three additional sets on our assigned piece of property.  One of them was on a fresh scrape line we located that ran East and West on our hunting grounds.  This particular scrape line was on the edge of some old cut timber that had started to regrow and was super thich and nasty (a perfect bedding area) and some open timber to the North that held a lot of acorns and was surrounded by cut agricultural fields.  With the amount of fresh sign in the area we knew the bucks were using it to work their scrape line and check for any does that may be coming into heat early.  We knew this would be a good morning spot for the South winds we were having, but we'd have to get in real early in order to avoid spooking any deer that may have come in from the fields before daylight.

Our 2nd and 3rd sets were located at the opposite end of the property along the edge of a cut corn field where the deer were feeding heavily.  One of the stands was right on the edge of the field, which would allow us to shoot anything that may be feeding behind us.  The other stand was 80-100 yards inside the woodline where we hoped to catch a mature buck coming to the field to feed after dark.  These big bucks don't like to show their faces in the daylight if they can avoid it so many times they will stage about 100 yards in from the field and work rubs and scrapes while waiting for darkness to fall before entering the field.  So after some excessive trimming (it was THICK in there!) we were set up and ready to go.  We headed back to camp for some lunch and a shower.

The view in front of our stand from the first evening. 

The view to the left and behind our stands.  You can see the cut corn field where the deer were headed to feed at night.

That first afternoon on November 4th temps were in the mid 70's so we elected to head out to our stands a little later than usual.  Those temperatures will subdue deer movement until dark, or just before dark, so we figured there was no need killing ourselves in the heat by sitting on stand any longer than we needed to.  While most teams in camp headed out around noon or 1, we waited until 3 to leave and were in our stands by 3:45 with an hour and a half left until dark.

After our pre-hunt interview we settled in for the evening and it wasn't long until I spotted several does working their way toward us.  I woke Mike up from his cat nap and we both redied ourselves for the shot.  Just like we planned the doe walked into the shooting lane that Mike had trimmed out only hours before, and gave me a perfect broadside 15 yard shot.  I sent an NAP HellRazor tipped arrow from my new Diamond Marquis (which I love by the way) and it connected just a bit lower than I had hoped, but good enough to get the job done.  After a relatively quick recovery Mike and I had put our team on the board with a successful doe harvest.

As per the rules of the challenge I was awarded 74 points for my contribution to the hunt (half of the doe's 148 lb weight) and Mike was awarded his points for the footage.  I don't have the score sheet handy right now, but I do know that we were unable to receive any points for pre-harvest footage.  In the case of a doe harvest you receive points for every 30 seconds of footage before the shot, but this doe had come in so quickly we were unable to get more than 15-20 seconds.  In many cases the hunter/cameraman can't control how quickly things happen, but in other cases such as when the animal is feeding or walking slowly you can stretch the hunt out in order to provide more footage for the viewer to watch.  So with this minor setback our score was good enough to put us in 2nd place behind a team that brought in a ridiculous 170 lb doe that night.  She was huge!!

My 148 lb Southern Illinosi doe, taken the first evening of the Campbell Outdoor Challenge.

The next morning Mike was up as the hunter and I was behind the camera.  We have a working agreement that we switch off days of hunting and filming to keep it fair for both of us, which isn't a problem.  Although I would like to be the hunter every time, I have just as much fun being the cameraman as I do being the hunter.  And if you are reading this thinking "Yeah, right!" I say try it yourself!  You'll see!

Our alarm went off at 3 am and after a quick shower and some breakfast we were on the road by 3:45.  To be honest with you, we were up and on the road before most other teams in camp even woke up at all.  Like I said, we're pretty dedicated to this style of hunting and it's not for everyone!  After a 20 minute drive, getting dressed at the truck, and the walk to our stands we were set up by 4:45 about an hour and 15 minutes before shooting light.  Just enough time for a cat nap in our tree!  And yes, we were both wearing our safety harnesses!  Treestand safety is not something we mess around with and you won't find two more safety conscious hunters out there.  We always wear our full body harnesses and strap in as soon as we're in our stands.

Around 6 am just as we were waking up from our dreams of Booner bucks and it was getting light enough to see the forest floor we had a 1 1/2 year old buck walk 10 yards from our stand.  With a few quiet smiles Mike and I knew that once again we had set up in the right place and were in a killing tree.  From that point on we had deer all around us.  Two 1 1/2 year old bucks put on a good show for us by fighting with each other, a small button buck circled the bottom of our stand looking lost like they do, and a few does snuck in behind us headed from their feeding area to their bedding area.

As I was focused on filming a nice 1 1/2 year old walk by our stand Mike tapped me on the knee and said "Buck coming".  I quickly swung the camera up and got on the buck as he approached.  I could see he was a nice 10 pointer with good brows and decent mass and tine length.  I let Mike know he was a shooter and he got ready for the moment of truth.  As if he read the script, the 3 1/2 year old buck walked perfectly in front of our stand and offered a broadside shot at 12 yards while he was standing in the scrapes we had discovered the day before.  Mike drew, grunted to stop the buck, and let his NAP Nitron tipped arrow fly.

Unfortunately the hit was a few inches further back than we wanted, but we knew it would be lethal.  Mike turned around with his trademark grin as if to say "Did that really just happen?"  Only three sits into our trip and we had put down both a buck and a doe, and we had excellent footage of both!  Clearly our hard work had paid off and we put ourselves in a position to be successful rather than simply waiting on a hope and a prayer that something would walk by us.

We reviewed the footage a few times in the tree before deciding to back out and head to camp.  It was only 6:30 am and we had plenty of time left in the day.  So we grabbed our gear, climbed down, and headed back for some real breakfast and some relaxation before taking up the trail.  At 12:30 that afternoon we set out after the buck with our guide Troy to help.  Unfortunately at 2 pm I kicked the wounded buck from his bed and my heart sank as he bounded off through the woods.  After calling Mike and Troy over to tell then what happened we all agreed to back out and come back the next morning, giving the buck some additional time to expire.

The morning of November 6th was again warm with a heavy dew following some rain the evening before.  We knew the blood trail would be next to impossible to pick up so we fanned out across the forest looking for Mike's buck.  After only an hour or so of searching, Mike and I were able to locate the deer not 150 yards from the original point of impact.  I am always amazed how a wounded animal will circle back to where it came from after being shot.  It seems like every trail I've ever been on the deer have done the exact same thing.  Amazing!

To say Mike and I were relieved to find this buck would be a huge understatement.  Nobody feels worse about losing an animal than the hunter, but you can bet that the cameraman comes in a close 2nd place.  He may not have been the biggest buck in the woods by any means, but we could not have been any happier to recover him successfully and to say we filmed two successful deer hunts in less than 2 days on a piece of property we had never even set foot on before.  I don't care who you are, that is an accomplishment for any bowhunter/camerman team!

Mike's 2008 Southern Illinois 10 pointer.  He gross scored 133 1/8".

With our two succesfful hunts and the quality of our footage we were able to finish this year's Campbell Outdoor Challenge Archery Whitetail Championship in first place, becoming the first team to ever successfully defend their title.  My personal thanks go out to both Christine Appleberg and Mike Willand for not only their great skills behind the camera, but also their peformance in front of the camera and for putting up with me for a week!  I also want to thank Todd Graf with for sponsoring this year's team and giving us the opportunity to prove we could do it.  I told you so!

And last but not least a big Thank You to the entire staff at the Campbell Outdoor Challenge.  John, Jeremy, Travis, and the rest of the gang are a great bunch of people that work their hardest to organize these events and make them as enjoyable and successful as possible for everyone who participates.  If you're interesting in learning more about these events, or possibly putting a team together to participate in them, check out their website at

This year's episodes will begin airing on Versus starting in January on Wednesdays from Noon-1 pm Central Time.  So set your DVR, you won't want to miss the smiling faces of on your TV screen!

Gear Used on this trip:

Lone Wolf Alpha Hang-On Stand & Climbing Sticks: Once again, one of the most important, if not THE most important tool in our hunting arsenal.  These stands are extremely lightweight, super strong, quiet, easy to set up, and very versatile.    If you want to kill deer you need to hunt them where they live, which means sneaking in close and setting up right on top of them.  With our Lone Wolf gear we can get in and get the job done.  BUY NOW>>

Hooyman Extendible Tree Saw: Until this year we had only a few limited options when hanging stands on the fly.  Either carry a full size pole saw with us to trim shooting lanes (which sucked), go without trimming lanes (which also sucked), or tape our hand saws to a limb and make an impromptu saw (which was a total pain - especially if you forgot your tape!).  The Hooyman saw folds down to a compact 12 inches so I can carry it easily in my pack, and extends to 5 feet which gives me just enough reach advantage to cut down some of those pesky limbs that get in your way.  It's the perfect compliment for our hunting style and I don't go into the woods without mine.  BUY NOW>>

Using the Hooyman saw to cut down a few limbs before an evening hunt.

NAP HellRazor broadheads: The 2nd doe I've shot with this head this year and it was devastating.  My shot was a bit low but managed to take out the doe's heart and completely shatter her off-side leg/shoulder on the way out.  And I don't just mean it stuck in the bone, it completely broke it into several pieces.  This is one tough head!!!  BUY NOW>>

Gum-O-Flage & Chlor-O-Flage: When you're getting right ontop of deer to hunt them scent control becomes key to your success.  Mike and I have both been using these products for several years and have the utmost confidence in them.  Some people believe in scent control, while others don't.  We're not trying to change your mind if you don't, but if you do and you aren't using these products you really should look into them.  They work, trust me!

Tried Out My Hooyman Saw

by John Mueller 14. October 2008 13:41
John Mueller

Tried Out My Hooyman Saw 

            I received my Hooyman Saw a few days ago, and put it through the paces last night. I gave it pretty good test in the backyard.


            I was really impressed with the way it cut through small limbs. The angle of the blade to the handle lets it cut easily without having to apply much downward force.  Just pulling the handle straight toward me made the teeth of the saw bite right into the limbs. And the teeth on this baby are scary sharp.



These teeth really cut.


 They slice through 2” limbs in just a few strokes.


            The neat thing about this saw is the way it folds down to only 13” long.



Folds down really compact.


 But can extend to 5’ in length.

Extends to a full 5'



Making it just the right tool to have when climbing a tree with my climber for the first time. I can clear out those limbs that would have been out of reach with only a hand pruner. And I don’t have to carry along my 10’ pole saw. I don’t use a back pack so I put mine in the little pouch I have on my API Climber.



A perfect fit in my carry pouch.


 A perfect fit and it only adds about a pound and a half in weight.


            The extendable handle is made of sturdy aluminum and seems to hold up very well to the sawing action. On the other hand the handle that holds the blade is made of plastic. Not sure why they didn’t go ahead and make it out of aluminum also. I’ll have to get back to you on how well that holds up. No problems so far.


             I’ll be carrying my Hooyman along with me on my climber the rest of the season. To get one for yourself, click here

Final Preparations For Bowhunting Season

by Justin Zarr 21. September 2008 16:38
Justin Zarr

It never seems to fail; no matter how good our intentions are for getting stands hung and trimmed out months before the season starts, life seems to find a way to deviate us from those plans.  In my particular case, I've been planning a wedding for the past 13 months which has taken a lot of time away from my normal routine of scouting, stand hanging, and general preparation for bowhunting season.  In fact, it's less than 10 days until the Illinois archery season opens and I haven't purchased my tags or even shot any broadheads yet!  Although I do plan on getting a few shooting sessions in this week if at all possible.  I'll be back in town on October 5th and plan to hit the ground running when I get return, so it's definitely time to start getting things in gear.

This past Saturday Mike and I spent some time hanging the last few stands, trimming the last few lanes, and making the last of our pre-season preparations at our local hunting spots.  It's amazing to me how grown up some of these stands can get after only one season.  Shooting lanes that were clear last year have grown over and needed a little bit of TLC before the season opens, which is just what we gave them.  I was able to give my Hooyman Extentible Tree Saw its first workout of the year and overall I was happy with it.  I'm a little hard on my saws and pretty critical of their performance, but overall it held up well.  It definitely works better as an extentible saw than a traditional hand saw as the handle was a little flimsy for my liking.  My Felco hand saw still can't be beat for standard duty, but for those pesky limbs and twigs that are out of arm's reach, the Hooyman works great.  I would definitely recommend this product to any bowhunter who does a lot of standing hanging both before and during their bowhunting seasons.  If you're interested in trying one out, we have them for sale in our shopping cart right here on for only $38.99.

We also happened on our first rubs of the year as well.  With the bucks having shed their velvet their testosterone levels are starting to pick up a bit so we should be seeing more and more rubs pop up over the next few weeks, and pretty soon a few scrapes as well.  I can't wait!

This is the kind of stuff that should get every bowhunter excited for the fall!  We found this fresh rub in a heavy fencerow between two standing corn fields that connects two small woodlots.  It's a great place to catch a buck traveling if they leave the corn up.  But once the corn comes down these bucks don't like being caught out in the open during daylight unless they're chasing a hot doe in November.

Speaking of hard horned bucks, I got my first trail camera pictures of bucks who had shed their velvet.  One is a tight-racked 10 pointer that I have several pictures of throughout the summer months.  I originally thought this buck was older than he really is, as he looks like a 2 1/2 year old buck to me.  He also exhibits the exact same characteristics of so many other bucks on this property over the past 6 years we've been hunting it.  Narrow rack, short brows, and G3's that are every so slightly longer than his G2's.    I don't think he has the genetics to blow into anything huge, but I guess we'll have to wait and see over the next few years if he makes it through.

This buck is a perfect representative of the type  of genetics we have on this particular farm.  Year after year, fresh crops of bucks pop up with racks that look identical to one another.

The second buck was the first antlered deer photo I've gotten all summer on what we call the "main farm" property.  It's hard to be totally sure, but I believe that we got a few photos of this particular buck last year during the late season.  At the time he had what looked like a fresh wound on his left side and we wondered if he would make it through the season.  Well, if this photo is indeed the same buck (and I think it is) it looks like he's doing just fine.  He appears to be either a 2 1/2 or 3 1/2 year old buck with either very small or no brow tines.  I'm sure I'll get a few more looks at him this fall once I get my cameras over some scrapes, so I'm looking forward to getting to see his rack a little better.  This is also the 2nd group of photos from my Cuddeback Capture and so far I've been very happy with it's performance.  Flash range is good, batteries are holding strong after nearly a month, and I haven't had any motion-blur problems like I did with my Cuddeback Excite.  For a $200 you can't beat it right now.  Check them out over at, we have them in stock and ready to ship!

It's a little hard to tell from this small photo, but this buck appears to have some healed-over scars on his left side just behind his shoulder as well as right in front of his hind leg.  I think this is the same buck we got two photos of last year during the late season.

This will probably be my last update until October as I've got a busy week ahead of me followed by my wedding next Saturday (GULP) and then a week-long trip to Mexico.  I should be nice and rested when I get back and ready to get in a tree and shoot something!  Good luck to everyone who is hunting - be safe and shoot straight!

Summer wouldn't be complete without at least one trespasser randomly walking through the woods that are clearly posted with "NO TRESPASSING" signs on all 4 sides.  I just wish the photo was a little bit more clear so I could make out who this jackrod is, and what we's got in his hand.  Kinda looks like a camcorder to me??

Introduction of the Hooyman Saw!

by Todd Graf 6. September 2008 18:11
Todd Graf

No doubt about it, this is one product that I could not wait to get my hands on this year. I first saw this product at the ATA show down in Indianapolis and I was pumped right away.  How many times have we all been up in our treestands during hunting season, wishing we had cut that one extra branch out of the way?  I know it's happened to me more than a few times and I always thought about making a saw like this.  But the guys at Hooyman beat me to the punch, and they really outdid themselves with this saw.  In fact, we ordered a bunch of them since we knew that all of our hunting buddies are going to want one for their fanny packs this year.

The saw's strong features are:

Positive locking I-beam extension system - each section of the telescopic extension arm locks down individually, creating an incredibly sturdy saw that can extend up to 5 feet.  Even with my regular pole saw the locking/tightening mechanisms have always been a problem for me.  I've had them pull apart or push into each other more than a few times.  With the locking system on the Hooyman saw, this won't happen.  The extension arms on the Hooyman saw are constructed of aircraft grade aluminum in a super strong I-beam configuration. They are lightweight, sturdy and strong.

In-line design - the folding saw slides and locks into the extension arm with a clever in-line channel groove for a remarkably tight connection. This means the folding saw that does the cutting isn't attached to the side of the extension arm, it's actually a part of it.  And since it's removable, you can take it off the saw and get those limbs that are too close for comfort, eliminating the hassle of having to carry two saws.

Premium blade - Made of high carbon stainless steel, Hooyman's MegaBite™ blade features a special four-edge tooth design which cuts better than any folding saw you've ever used.  I've tested it on several limbs and the saw blade cut through them quickly and easily.  The blade on the Hooyman also locks back and easily folds down with the touch of a finger which makes it easy to use and fold up to go back in your pack when you're done.

The saw's weaknesses are:

The locking mechanism that holds the saw blade in the locked position is made out of plastic - in my opinion metal would be way better. The first Browning hand saws that came out on the market were plastic and I broke a lot of them before they switched over to metal. I think this will be an easy future addition that will probably be needed after a few guys like me who are hard on equipment get a full season's use out of them.

Overall -

This product is a must-have for all bowhunters. Whether you keep this in your car, fanny pack or just use it when you're hanging stands it is very valuable. I am giving this product a thumbs up! Great job on making it, I wish Hooyman the best of luck!

Justin opened the box of saws that were stocking in our warehouse, as if it was Christmas morning. The box did not have a chance.

Close-up of the saw, as you can see the saw attaches to the side of the folding part to keep it concise.

Easy latches allows you to extend the saw.

Here is a picture of the saw taken off the extendable housing.

Here the saw is open and ready to be attached. "I wish the conneting pieces were make out of metal. Us bowhunters can be hard on products. Time will tell if this is a problem or not.

This photo shows how the saw connects to the rail system. Again, I wish it was metal!

The saw is now atttached and ready to go.

My first test was a oak branch - it came down without a problem.

For my 2nd branch test I extended the saw as far as it would go - the branch fell without a fight.

Here is a photo of the Browning saw I mentioned earlier where the key contact points are made out of metal. I am betting next year the Hooyman saw will be metal as well.

This is really a great product and I look forward to it being in my pack.   If you would like to pick one up for your bowhunting pack, we have them available in the online store for $38.99.  Click here to purchase the Hooyman Extentible Tree Saw.

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