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Bowhunt or Die! Episode 6 Recap

by Cody Altizer 15. November 2010 09:22
Cody Altizer

 Episode 6 of Bowhunt or Die marked the beginning of Sweet November in the whitetail woods and to hunters around the country it meant the beginning of the rut.  The Bowhunt or Die team continued their impressive streak of laying down quality whitetails on film in Episode 6 as two more Illinois bucks were harvested.  In case you missed our last installment of Bowhunt or Die, read on as we recap the action!

Follow this link to watch the exciting bowhunting action of Bowhunt or Die Episode 6.

 Richie Music continued his dream season as he harvested yet another Illinois buck.  For the second sit in a row from the exact same tree, Richie was able to harvest a bruiser Northern Illinois buck.  This buck followed the exact same script as his buck the week before, walking down the exact same trail and stopping at the same spot.  Richie’s shot was farther back than he would have liked, but knew that if he didn’t push the buck and gave him plenty of time to expire, he would recover his trophy.  A wise decision by Richie resulted in the recovery of Richie’s second buck.  Unfortunately for Richie, he is now tagged out in Illinois, but I am sure he is not complaining.  Two bucks and two does down is a great season for anyone.  Nicely done, Richie!

Look familiar?  This Illinois beauty of a buck stopped in the same place as the buck Richie harvested in last week's episode.  Richie made his shot count and harvested his second Illinois bruiser from the same stand.

This was Richie's second buck of the 2010 bowhunting season.  Richie has truly had a season to remember and we are grateful he shared his success on Bowhunt or Die with quality footage.

 We then followed Todd Graf on his quest for either his second Illinois giant, or a monster Wisconsin buck, whichever came first.  Todd hunted the end of October and early November hard and had some great, close encounters with some dandy Wisconsin bucks, but they just wouldn’t cooperate.  As Todd stated, as magical as the rut can be to bowhunters, it can turn into a game of cat and mouse.  With bucks tending and chasing does across open fields and through the timber, sometimes you just have to hope you are in the right tree at the right time.  With plenty of season left and knowing the hardcore hunter that Todd is, I know he will put in the time and effort and ultimately have an opportunity to bag one of those Wisconsin brutes that have given him the slip so far this season. 

This is one of the Wisconsin brutes Todd has been chasing this season.  A true giant for any state, I know Todd will do whatever it takes to give himself the best opportunity to harvest this giant by the season's end.

 Bowhunt or Die then introduces its newest and youngest team member, Brady Scheffler.  Brady’s first appearance on Bowhunt or Die was a memorable one has he filmed himself shooting a great Illinois buck.  Brady got up in his stand plenty early one morning and right at first light a buck that Brady had a lot of history with this season presented a shot.  Brady’s shot was true and, despite running farther than expected after the shot, the buck died along a creek bottom.  Big congratulations Brady on harvesting such a fine whitetail and welcome to the team!

This buck had given Brady the slip throughout the month of October, staying just out of range just as he did in this photo.  It was only a matter of time before Brady caught up with him.

Brady recapping the action of his self-filmed buck harvest.  As our newest staff member, Brady made his first appearance on Bowhunt or Die a memorable by taking this great buck. 

 We concluded Episode 6 of Bowhunt or Die by following Justin Zarr on a couple hunts on his property in Northern Illinois.  Justin’s determination to harvest a buck off this piece of property is admirable as he relentlessly tries to figure out these wary suburban bucks.  If you recall in previous episodes, Justin had hunted this piece of property numerous times without even seeing a deer.  Fortunately for Justin he was able to get on some good deer this go around.  While they were just does and smaller bucks, seeing deer is always a morale booster and proves that Justin is inching closer and closer to harvesting a buck in Lake County, Illinois.  Only time will tell if he will be able to do it, so be sure to tune into next week’s episode of Bowhunt or Die to see how he does.

Just a doe?  Not hardly.  Justin was finally able to see some deer from his Lake County property during Episode 6.  During the rut if you find the does, you'll find the bucks.  It's only a matter of time for Justin.

 The 2010 bowhunting season has been very good to the Bowhunt or Die and the first week of November was no different.  Every week I say it will be tough to top the previous week’s episode, but somehow our guys manage to do it.  With the rut now in full swing, I fully expect this week’s episode of Bowhunt or Die to be one of the best ones yet.  Of course, there will only be one way for you to find out.  So, tune in next week to see if the Bowhunt or Die team can continue its impressive inaugural season. 

Bowhunt or Die! Episode 5 Recap

by Cody Altizer 8. November 2010 08:43
Cody Altizer

 The fifth episode of Bowhunt or Die was our best episode so far this season, hands down.  Halloween Weekend was good to the team as 4 bucks hit the ground totaling over 540 inches of bone.  Episode 5 is full of big buck action from Central Illinois and Wisconsin so read on and let’s recap Halloween Weekend on Bowhunt or Die!

Click this link to watch the footage from Episode 5 of Bowhunt or Die!

 Josh Fletcher got things started off for us with an exciting hunt in Wisconsin.  Josh was in the tree October 28th for the first day of what was a planned two week vacation to bowhunt the rut.  Fortunately, (or unfortunately, depending how you look at it) Josh filled his buck tag on his first trip out.  Josh had a nice buck chasing a doe right underneath his stand and, just as he was recapping what he saw with an interview, he hears the crunching of leaves, spots a shooter buck, quickly turns the camera around and prepares for the shot.  With the buck in frame, Josh releases an arrow tipped with the NAP Bloodrunner towards the giant Wisconsin buck.  All in a matter of seconds, Josh had successfully filmed himself shooting the biggest buck of his life!  To top it off, the big bodied whitetail died within just 40 yards of his truck making for an easy drag.  Well done, Josh!

Josh Fletcher posing happily with the biggest buck of his life, a monster Wisconsin 12 pointer.

 We then climb up the tree with Richie Music on a suburban hunt in Northern Illinois.  Despite the annoyances of hunting suburbia, Richie was determined and optimistic about seeing deer and shooting a good buck.  Richie didn’t have to wait long, because around 4 o’clock a monster Illinois 11 pointer walked right into Richie’s shooting lane.  Richie quietly drew his bow, released and let his NAP Bloodunner do its job.  A perfect double lung shot resulted in a dead deer, a happy bowhunter and the biggest buck of Richie’s life on the ground.  Richie’s reaction after he shot the buck is what deer hunting is all about.  Just watching Richie’s excitement and enthusiasm is enough to make me get back in the woods right now!  Kudos to Richie for self-filming the biggest buck harvest of his life with bow and arrow, good job Richie!

The monster 11 pointer just before Richie's arrow strikes true.  The bright red streak you see above and to the right of the buck's rack is Richie's arrow.


Richie with the biggest buck of his life.  A mainframe 10 with a split left G2, long main beams and a super wide spread make Richie's buck a buck of a lifetime.

 Bowhunt or Die then makes the trip south to Central Illinois and Pike County as I continue my quest for not only my first Illinois buck, but my first buck with a bow period.  After filming Justin Zarr for three days, I set out on my own and my first afternoon out I had some action.  About 5:45 I catch movement out of my left eye and see a shooter buck making his towards me.  I immediately take a deep breath, grab my bow, situate the camera and stand up to get ready for the shot.  The buck cooperates beautifully and walks right in an opening just 20 yards from my stand and when he stops, I shoot.  My arrow hit its mark as I watched my Thunderhead Edge pass quickly through the buck’s heart.  I was pumped!  I was able to film myself shooting my first Illinois buck as well as my first buck with a bow.  There is no better feeling!

My first buck with a bow, my first Illinois buck and my biggest buck to date.  I was able to self-film myself harvesting this buck and am extremely proud of him!

 The big buck action continues as we follow Justin Zarr on the same piece of property as he looks for a big buck.  If you have watched the previous episodes of Bowhunt or Die, you’ve watched Justin pass on several nice bucks looking for a mature, Illinois whitetail.  Justin hunted hard for two straight days and despite numerous encounters with younger bucks and a couple close calls with two shooters, Justin headed into Halloween morning without a deer.  Justin is living proof, however, that persistence pays because Halloween morning Justin’s patience was rewarded.  An old, battle tested buck made the mistake of stopping in Justin’s shooting lane and Justin made a perfect shot on him.  Justin’s NAP Nitron made a quick, clean kill on a bruiser Illinois buck.  Justin’s buck actually had three tines broken off which adds character to his rack and proves this old buck was a warrior!  Congrats Justin!

Justin's reaction right after he shot his buck.  This is what bowhunting is all about!

Justin proudly poses with his Halloween buck.  The buck had three broken tines, but he was still a great trophy nonetheless.

 Episode 5 was packed full of exciting buck action, and the hunts shared were similar and unique in several ways.  Josh, Richie, and I all shot the biggest bucks of our lives.  We were all able to successfully self-film the buck harvests featured in Episode 5 and we all relied on NAP broadheads to harvest our bucks.  Combine this with the fact that Josh shot his buck on October 28th, Richie on the 29th, mine on the 30th and Justin’s on the 31st and it all adds up to make for a pretty cool show!  While it may seem as if Episode 5 will be impossible to top, I would put nothing past the Pro Staff with the rut now in full swing.  Tune in this Friday for a new episode of Bowhunt or Die to find out!

Bowhunt or Die! Episode 3 Recap

by Cody Altizer 25. October 2010 09:49
Cody Altizer

Episode 3 of “Bowhunt or Die!” was easily our best one yet!  Over 300 inches of antler hit the ground during this past week’s episode, and that’s just from two bucks!  If you are looking for blood pumping, monster buck hunts, and a couple doe harvests along the way, then look no further than Episode 3 of “Bowhunt or Die!”

  Staff member John Hermann got things started off with a thrilling bowhunt for a giant Wisconsin 8 pointer.  John had been hunting this particular buck for the first four weeks of the season and despite several close encounters, wasn’t able to close to the deal.  However, on October 12th during his fifth encounter with this giant buck, the bruiser 8 pointer finally made a mistake and John was able to put a lethal shot on him.  The big bodied Wisconsin buck went less than 100 yards before dying and the chess match between John Hermann and “The West Gate 8” was over, advantage Johnny Hermann!  John’s dedication and discipline was put the test, but he stayed persistent and was rewarded with a genuine once in a lifetime buck.

John Hermann and the fallen "West Gate 8."  John was finally able to outsmart this 6 year old, Wisconsin brute and came away with a once in a lifetime trophy.

  “Bowhunt or Die!” then makes the trip south to West Central Illinois to the big buck capitals of the world, Pike and Brown County.  Justin Zarr and Jeremy Enders, along with cameraman/video editor Brian McAllister and myself, made the 5 hour trip south and were excited to lay down some exciting bowhunts on film.  It didn’t take long for things to heat up as Justin was forced to make the brutal decision of “to shoot or not to shoot?”  A 3 year old 8 pointer made his way by Justin’s stand at 22 yards, but Justin elected to pass.  It was a tough decision for Justin, but one he felt better about making after reviewing the footage.  Less than an hour later a mature doe made her way by the stand Jeremy and I were in and Jeremy made a perfect double lung shot on her using the NAP Nitron.  This was Jeremy’s first deer and it was truly exciting to share that moment with him and capture it all on film.  A big congrats to Jeremy on a perfect shot on your first deer!   Less than an hour later Justin followed suit by making a perfect 27 yards shot on a doe himself, also with the NAP Nitron.  The unique thing about these two hunts is that Justin and Brian were no more than 120 yards from Jeremy and I across an open CRP field, so we were literally watching each other’s hunts unfold!  Talk about an exciting morning!

Jeremy just as he was about to harvest his first deer ever.

Justin before he came to full draw on his doe.  Just seconds later, he made a perfect double lung shot on her at 27 yards.

Pictured above is the buck Justin chose to pass on.  Hunting is purely a personal sport and you should only shoot a buck that makes you happy.  I think Justin is happy with his decision to pass on this buck!

  We certainly saved our best hunt for last for Episode 3, as we followed Todd Graf on a hunt for a Northern Illinois bruiser.  Last week, Todd had a nice encounter with a beautiful mid 150s white racked monster, but the buck was just too far away for a shot.  This week, Todd was presented with another opportunity at this buck, and this time the buck made the mistake of walking in front of the big buck killer that is Todd Graf.  Todd made a perfect shot and his NAP Spitfire Maxx made a quick, clean kill and the buck fell over dead within 40 yards.  The excitement and thrill on Todd’s face was priceless; I’m not sure if there is anyone else who gets the shakes like Todd Graf does when he arrows a big buck.  Watching Todd get excited about hunting big bucks is contagious, and hopefully it gets you ready to get out there and harvest a monster buck yourself!

Words cannot fully describe Todd's buck harvest, so I feel it best to simply enjoy the following series of photos.

  Without a doubt, Episode 3 of “Bowhunt or Die!” will be tough to top, but our dedicated Pro Staffers are out there every day putting their gear to the test, trying to lay down the best possible footage to share with everyone.  It’s late October which means two things: Episode 3 should have you pumped up and ready to rock and roll for the rut and you should make every concerted effort to get in the woods during the next two weeks.  Good luck to all the hunters out there, stay safe and check back every Friday for the latest episode of “Bowhunt or Die!”

Bowhunt or Die! Episode 2 Recap

by Cody Altizer 25. October 2010 07:57
Cody Altizer

 The second installment of “Bowhunt or Die!” provided just as much excitement and big buck action as the first.  The warm temperatures did their best to stall the efforts of our Pro Staffers, but they battled through the heat and came away with some great footage and exciting hunts.  Episode 2 featured doe harvests from Illinois and Wyoming and some great encounters with bucks in Illinois and Wisconsin despite the sweltering heat.  Click here to watch the exciting footage of Bowhunt or Die! Episode 2!
 Bowhunt or Die! Host Todd Graf was back at it in Illinois and Wisconsin and continued his string of buck encounters.  In Wisconsin, Todd shared a couple hunts with his friend Dr. Ali Shaibani and, while he didn’t see a buck he wanted to shoot, still had some cool encounters with younger bucks.  In Illinois Todd saw his third shooter of the year, but like the others, this buck was just too far away to attempt an ethical shot.  Todd resisted the temptation of calling to this deer, because it was just too early in the season to get aggressive with a mature buck.  Knowing when to be passive and when to be aggressive is key when hunting older deer.  Fortunately, Todd was able to capture some awesome footage of this buck and gained valuable information that will help Todd score on him later in the season.  Through just two episodes, Todd has quickly gained priceless information that will help him score on these bucks later in the season.  It’s only a matter of time now for Todd!

A giant of a whitetail!  Todd was able to capture some excellent footage of this buck as he was just out of bow range.

Todd had a close encounter with this younger buck on a hunt in Wisconsin.  While this may be considered a shooter for the majority of us bowhunters, Todd has super nice bucks on his hit list this year that he is holding out for. 

 Bowhunt or Die! makes the trip west to Wyoming to follow Pro Staffer Dustin DeCroo and his dad, Jerry, on a couple mule deer doe hunts.  For many of us, it was our dad who introduced us to the outdoors in general and ultimately hunting, and any time spent in the woods with your dad is enjoyable.  Harvesting a deer together on film is just icing on the cake, and Dustin and Jerry were able to do just that as Jerry harvested a Mule deer doe with Dustin behind the camera.  Talk about a father/son moment!  A couple weeks later, after some time in Canada bear hunting, it was Dustin’s turn as he took another mule deer doe out of the same tree stand with the NAP Bloodrunner.  Keep up the good work, Dustin!

Little did this mule deer doe know, that Dustin DeCroo was up high in a tree waiting to send the NAP Bloodrunner towards her vitals!

 In Episode 1 you saw Richie Music make a great shot and harvest a whitetail doe on film.  For Episode 2, Richie turned his focus to the bucks.  A close encounter with a 2 year old 8 point buck certainly got Richie’s blood pumping, but it just wasn’t the caliber buck he was looking for.  Richie is a diehard when it comes to hunting giant whitetails, and I can certainly understand why he passed on an immature deer.  I have a feeling Richie will connect on a much larger buck later on in the season so stay tuned!

While this is certainly a handsome 2 year old 8 pointer, it is just not the caliber buck Richie is looking to harvest this year.  He showed great restraint in passing on this buck, and hopefully he'll be rewarded with a bigger buck later this season.

 John Mueller wrapped up Episode 2 by harvesting a whitetail doe fawn.  John was presented with a tough quartering away shot, but he placed his Rage 2 Blade broadhead beautifully behind the shoulder and the doe expired within 60 yards.  John always posts informative and knowledgeable blogs on habitat and whitetail management, so it was enjoyable to watch John successfully contribute to the efforts of Quality Deer Management, a practice in which he invests a lot of time and effort.

John Mueller made an awesome quartering away shot on this doe fawn with the Rage Broadhead in Episode 2 of Bowhunt or Die!

 Warm mid-October temperatures didn’t keep the team from laying down some great footage and harvesting a couple does along the way for Episode 2.  Each passing week finds us inching closer and closer to the rut, so stay tuned to “Bowhunt or Die!”  as our staff members gear up for the most exciting time of the year for bowhunters: the rut!

Bowhunt or Die! Episode 1 Recap

by Cody Altizer 25. October 2010 04:54
Cody Altizer

 The premiere episode of our new web show “Bowhunt or Die!” could not have gone any better.  Our Pro Staffers were anxious to get in the woods with bow in one hand and camera in the other, eager to test out the best gear while sharing our hunting experiences with you.  Our first episode followed the Illinois opener as we had 5 Pro Staffers hitting the woods looking to arrow an Illinois giant.

In case you missed Episode 1, click here to watch all the action! President Todd Graf introducing Bowhunt or Die!

 After a slow start to the season in Wisconsin, Illinois native Mike Willand was excited to hunt his resident state of Illinois and chase those familiar whitetails.  Mike had hunted hard in Wisconsin the previous two weeks and, without seeing a deer, was keyed up for the Illinois opener.   Sunday October 3rd found Mike sitting in a tree on his new lease in Northwestern Illinois watching a nice buck and a few does feed just out of bow range for the majority of the evening.  The potential shooter never got closer than 36 yards and opening weekend in Illinois left Mike with no deer down, but a good encounter with a nice buck nonetheless.

Mike Willand played cat and mouse with this low 130s buck the afternoon of October 3, but was never presented with a shot. 

 Justin Zarr experienced the exact opposite on his first outing of the 2010 deer season, as he hunted hard opening weekend and never saw a deer.  The particular area Justin was hunting doesn’t have a high concentration of deer; however, Justin worked hard and put in the time and effort.  It can be discouraging to wait all year for opening weekend and then not see a deer, but Justin knew that the season was young and that better hunting days would certainly come along soon.
  The Illinois opener was literally a dream come for me, as I was fortunate enough to hunt Illinois for the first time ever.  Growing up as a kid I dreamed of bowhunting Illinois whitetails, and on the afternoon of October 1st, I was doing just that.  After slow afternoon hunts on Friday and Saturday, I went to my best stand site Sunday afternoon hoping for better luck.  Around 6 o’clock, I was surprised by a mature doe just 30 yards away and closing.  With little time to get nervous, I turned on my camera, grabbed my bow and prepared myself for my first chance at an Illinois whitetail.  I came to full draw on the doe when she was at 8 yards, released an arrow tipped with the NAP Thunderhead Edge and watched her tear out of sight all in less than 10 seconds.  After a short tracking job, I recovered my first Illinois whitetail, a big mature doe captured all on film!

I was fortunate enough to harvest a mature doe on film during the Illinois opener.  It was a dream come true! President Todd Graf experienced what he described as the best Illinois opener of his life.  While he didn’t harvest a deer, Todd had great deer activity all weekend and had close encounters with two shooter bucks. Despite not being able to close the deal on either of those bucks, Todd learned a great deal of information about their patterns and habits which will help him put the pieces of the puzzle together and help harvest a mature buck later on.  As most bowhunters know, hunting mature bucks is a chess match with each move requiring careful calculation.  I trust in Todd’s ability to hunt big bucks with a bow, so I know he can get the job done.

This shooter buck slipped past Todd Graf just out of bow range opening weekend.  Nevertheless, seeing a buck on his feet during daylight hours this early in the season is definitely a good sign.

 Richie Music concluded our series premiere by making a great shot on a mature doe as well.  Richie and his camera man had just gotten in the stand and had deer all around them, literally within minutes!  Richie remained calm and collected and waited for the best shot opportunity to present itself and when it did, he made it count.  His Diamond bow tipped with the NAP Bloodrunner made a quick, clean kill and the doe ran less than 100 yards before expiring.   Richie’s opening weekend went beautifully; harvesting a beautiful doe and capturing awesome footage of the entire hunt is what bowhunters dream about.  Congrats again Richie!

Richie Music pumped after making a lethal shot on a doe just minutes after getting settled in his treestand.

 The 2010 deer season started off with a bang (or should I say THWACK?) for the team.  Two whitetails fell victim to the hard work and dedication of our Pro Staffers and with the best hunting yet to come, we’ll be sure to lay down some more great footage for you to see on Bowhunt or Die!


Bowhunt or Die: Bowhunting.Com's New Semi-Live Hunting Show

by Cody Altizer 15. October 2010 04:06
Cody Altizer

 If you are a serious bowhunter you probably already know that is the ultimate online resource for everything bowhunting.  Top notch gear review videos, information packed Pro Staff blogs, and of course the best bowhunting products for sale are what make the premiere bowhunting website in the world.  For the 2010 fall hunting season we have created another monster to share with our loyal bowhunting customers and followers: our very own, semi-live hunting show; Bowhunt or Die!

 Our second episode just went up live, and you can view it by following this link!  Todd Graff experiences some awesome early season buck encounters and Dustin DeCroo and John Mueller both harvest does.

 Bowhunt or Die will be posted live every Friday, just below the Pro Staff blogs and will feature hunts from our Pro Staffers from the previous week.  It’s as close to sitting in tree with us as you can get!  Throughout the course of the season you can expect to see exciting hunts from Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Wyoming and Virginia.  Our Pro Staffers are just regular guys who enjoy filming hunts and testing out the best bowhunting gear available and sharing our experiences with you. 

 In case you missed our premiere show, you can check it out here.  Our debut episode includes Todd's continued early season mature buck sightings, my first chance at an Illinois whitetail, and Richie Music's doe harvest.

The team looks forward to sharing our experiences with you this fall and wishes you a safe and successful hunting season!

About the Authors

The staff is made up of "Average Joe" bowhunters from around the country who are serious about one thing - BOWHUNTING.  Keep up to date with them as they work year-round at persuing their passion and bring you the most up-to-date information on bowhunting gear and archery equipment.

» Click here to learn more about the Staff.

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