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Day 2 ATA Show Updates

by Justin Zarr 11. January 2012 07:43
Justin Zarr

Day 2 of the 2012 ATA show is half over and so far today I've seen several more cool new products for this year. Once again, I'll let the photos tell the story. After all, the products are the real stars of this show.


Under Armour has really come on strong with some new hunting products that feature their own scent elimination technology.  As seen here, they also have a line of camo undergarments just in case you ever get the inclination to hunt in your undies.

 


The Bone Collector gang can always be seen at various booths, posing for photos with their fans.


One of the cooler products I've seen, this removable insert from Clean-Shot uses a small allen-head set screw to flare out the back of the insert and hold it in place.  This actually creates a stronger connection than glue, and allows you to easily index your broadheads to match with your fletching.
 


Here's Chipper Jones signing a few autographs as well.  Lots of autographing going on here!


There's always a crowd at the Firenock booth where people are anxious to see the new iBowsight.


Also available from Clean-Shot is this new bowfishing point with a built-in laser that allows for easier and more precise aiming.  It's activated by a magnet and only comes on when you get to full draw.


The folks at Muddy Outdoors are branching out with a bunch of new products, including this really cool Bloodsport string suppressor.  Instead of a traditional rubber stopper, the Bloodsport uses a series of brushes to cradle and silence your bow string on the shot.  I tested it out in the shooting lanes and the difference is pretty impressive.


S4 gear, known for innovative products like the Lockdown optics system, introduced the "Wingman".  This cool arm mounts in your tree and allows you to have a movable shelf where you can store you goodies like grunt calls, cell phones and even a drink.  Although it may not be practical for the run-and-gun type hunter, it may be a hit with the guy who likes to have the ultimate in comfort.  It even has a built-in arm rest!

Well, break time is over!  Time to get back to work.  More updates coming soon!

The End of a Bowhunting Season; Pope and Young Club and Treestand Safety

by Todd Graf 18. January 2011 04:36
Todd Graf

 One would think that since the hunting season officially ended this past weekend in Illinois that I would be able to catch up on a little rest and enjoy some down time.  Not so fast, my friend!  As many of you know I was in Indianapolis this past weekend for the annual ATA Show and as I write this I am packing my bags and getting ready to head to Las Vegas for Shot Show too.  In between all of all this, I was able to get my 2010 buck officially scored by my good freind Jim Carlson and became an official member of the Pope and Young Club.  Jim turned me on to the Pope and Young Club and inisisted I join, and after hearing Jim tell of all the good things the Pope and Young Club stands for and represents, I immediately joined.

    October 15th was easily the best day I had hunting for the 2010-2011 season as I was able to harvest a mature self-filming.  This is my third mature buck I've been able to harvest while self-filming in the last three years.  For those of you who are on the fence about self-filming and question whether or not it limits your chances, I am here to tell you it can be done!  If you have ever thought about filming I urge you to give it a try.  Bowhunting itself is fun, but when you add a camera into the mix it only adds to the enjoyment.  Plus, you get to relive all of your hunts whenever you want to.  Stay tuned because we are going to have some self-filming tutorials soon!  When I harvested this buck, I guessed the buck to score in the mid 150s.  Well, my intuition proved to be correct as my buck officially scored 154 7/8”.  In case you missed the footage of me harvesting this buck; check out Episode 3 of Bowhunt or Die by clicking here.  

My record book buck from the 2010 season.  He was just an all around gorgeous buck that ended up grossing 154 7/8".

 I am also proud to announce that I am finally an official member of the Pope and Young Club, and that I entered my buck into the P&Y record books.  I had always wanted to become a part of the Pope and Young Club, but never really had the time to sit down and join. The Pope and Young Club is an organization that every bowhunter should think about joining.  According to the P&Y website, the Pope and Young Club is a non-profit, charitable, membership-based organization whose mission is to ensure bowhunting existence for future generations by promoting and protecting our rich bowhunting heritage and values.   It offers bowhunters around the world a chance to partake in an organization that truly protects our bowhunting rights and ensures a bowhunting future.  I encourage all of to consider joining!

If you are serious about protecting our bowhunting heritage and promising a bowhunting future, I encourage you to join the Pope and Young Club.  I recently did and it's a great organization.


   The Pope and Young Club also supports the National Bowhunter Education Foundation and the two have recently teamed up to unleash an all out attack on tree stand accidents and tree stand safety.  This campaign will be called Project STAND (Stop Treestand Accidents ‘N Deaths).  The goal is to significantly reduce the number of injuries and related deaths associated with tree stand accidents..  Studies show that 50% of tree stand hunters never wear a safety harness.  Studies also show that between 10-30% of all tree stand hunters will experience a fall or near miss during the hunting career.  By 2012, the Pope and Young Club and STAND are hoping to drastically reduce these numbers.  According to the Pope and Young Club, 83% of all P&Y Record Book whitetail entries were taken from a tree stand.  Also, tree stand accidents kill and injure more hunters than firearms.  Those really are sobering statistics and should be an eye opener for everyone.
  Unfortunately, I became a statistic this past fall as I nearly fell from a tree stand while out filming with my cameraman, Cody Altizer.  I was wearing my safety harness while hanging a new stand, and removed it before my descent.  One of the straps on my Lone Wolf climbing stick snapped and I nearly fell.  I was able to grab onto the platform of my stand to prevent a painful landing, but I did injure my right bicep pretty badly.  Thankfully, that was the only injury I had to endure.  I know my wife and little boy, Craig, are thankful too.  I am now taking a serious stand (pun intended) on tree stand safety.  I've been particularly impressed by Scent Blocker's new safety products for 2011, the Tree Spider Safety harness and vest, as well as the Livewire Descent system.  The harness itself is very light, fast and easy to put on and but more importantly safe.  The Speed Vest offers all the same features but in a vest style harness which can be worn into Scent Blocker clothing.  The Livewire Descent System allows for safe, quick, hands free descent from your tree stand.  To learn more about the Tree Spider Safety System from Scent Blocker click here.  I certainly learned my lesson after the fall and immediately ordered the Lifeline System from Muddy Outdoors for all of my treestands.  It is a literal life saver in the deer woods, because you are safe and secure from the moment you start climbing your treestand, to the moment you get down at the end of the hunt.  All you have to do is attach it to the tree when you first hang the stand and you are promised safety henceforth.  I really do encourage all of you to look into the Lifeline System for all of your treestands; the cost certainly outweighs the potential risk. 

The Pope and Young Club and the National Bowhunter Education Foundation have recently joined forces to create an educational campaign called STAND designed to educate bowhunters on treestand safety.  The above image is the logo for this new movement and both parties encourage bowhunters to help promote the cause.


   It is hard to believe that another hunting season has come and gone and quite frankly, I don’t even want to think about bowhunting right now.  I am one burnt out bowhunter.  I worked extremely hard this year and was able to harvest a beautiful 154” buck and two does with my bow, all on film, so I really can’t complain.  Before I know it spring will be here and I will be working tirelessly on my food plots and habitat management program on my property.  Shed hunting season has already begun too.  There truly is no offseason for the serious bowhunter!  If you love bowhunting as much as I do, I urge you to become a member of the Pope and Young Club to protect our bowhunting rights and the future of the sport we all love. However, I most encourage you to hunt smart and hunt safely!

2011 ATA Show Day 1 - Cool Bowhunting Products

by Justin Zarr 6. January 2011 11:47
Justin Zarr

 Day 1 of the 2010 ATA show went extremely fast as it seems to do every year.  It's amazing how quickly an 8 hour day can pass when you're enjoying yourself, checking out new bowhunting products and meeting with friends you only get to see once or twice a year.  I didn't have a chance to walk the entire show today but I did manage to scope out a few cool new products.

I started my day off at the New Archery Products booth when I was able to get ahold of the new Apache Stabilizer.  There may not be any revolutionary technology here, but this is another solid product that is well built, functional and very reasonably priced.  For a projected retail of $39.99 (black version) and $49.99 (Realtree camo) this stabilizer features NAP's proprietary sound dampening material and includes a 3" carbon fiber extension arm.  This will allow archers to customize the size of their stabilizer based on their wants and needs.


The Apache Stabilizer in Realtree shown with 3" carbon fiber extension (not attached).


They sure look good on all those Mathews bows!

WHile at the NAP booth I got to visit briefly with the Whitetail Freaks Don & Kandi Kisky, who are always extremely nice, and country music star Craig Morgan.  To me this is half the fun of these shows, being able to talk with people you don't get a chance to see very often.


Craig Morgan chatting with the Kisky's and Brady Arview from NAP.

Another product that caught my eye, and a lot of other eyes as well, is the new Tree Spider harness from Robinson Outdoors.  This new safety harness is lightweight and easy to adjust, which is what demanding bowhunters want.  Judging from the buzz around this product I have a feeling it will be a huge seller in 2011.  Check out more at treespidersafety.com.


I'll get a better photo of the Tree Spider harness tomorrow, I promise!

New from Muddy Outdoors for this year is their Bloodsport treestand.  This all-black stand is based on the Hunter Pro platform so it's very lightweight and it now features the same rope cam system as Muddy's climbing sticks.  Using this stand along with a set of their climbing sticks should be a great combination for mobile hunters who demand their equipment be quiet and light weight.


The Bloodsport, Muddy Outdoors' first stand using their rope cam technology.  Super light and ultra quiet.

Tink's is expanding on their deer decoy lineup with the new Mister October decoy.  This self-inflatable decoy is very lightweight and when deflated can be fit easily into your pack.  No more wrestling with noisey hard-plastic decoys!  Combine Mister October and Miss November and you have a very deadly combination.


Mister October and Miss November - inflatable deer decoys from Tink's.


My buddies Mike and Shawn from Heartland Bowhunter, signing autographs at the Muzzy booth today.

Of course I saw a ton of other products and people today, but I'll have to bring you the update on those tomorrow!  Be sure to check our Facebook and Twitter pages as I update them throughout the day (and night) with cool photos and info from the show!

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Bowhunting Success Requires Adaptability

by Cody Altizer 27. September 2010 10:24
Cody Altizer

   For the second straight weekend, Todd Graf and I headed north to Wisconsin in hopes of connecting on an early season whitetail on film.  For the second straight weekend, we worked our tails off to tip the odds in our favor of doing so.  Unlike last weekend, however, we came back to Illinois with a mature doe to our credit.  The harvest of Todd’s early season doe is a testament to two things: less than ideal hunting conditions, but more importantly, our ability to adapt.
    Success in hunting, like success in life in general, is directly correlated between one’s ability to adapt to adverse conditions.  Before the season begins, we as bowhunters have grand plans of tagging an unsuspecting buck that we feel we have patterned all summer.  As opening day approaches, we think to ourselves, “I just need that typical early season wind, a cool afternoon, and that buck is mine!”  While this may be this case for some hunters across the land, this does not describe me and Todd’s first two weekends of the season.  We were faced with problematic Northeast winds and a true ignorance to the deer’s early season patterns.  Nevertheless, we adjusted to the circumstances by being mobile and willing to put in a little extra time and effort.  Here is a quick rundown of techniques that helped put Todd and I on some early season deer.

Click here to see the footage of Todd's Wisconsin Doe Harvest

Trail Cameras

By now most hunters know trail cameras can be an important scouting tool when used correctly.  They key word is, correctly.  By quickly accessing and monitoring trail cameras you can gain a better understanding of the deer movement. Todd and I relied on his Reconyx, Bushnell and Cam Trakker trail cameras to better determine which areas were void of deer, and which were worthy of a hunt.  When deploying or checking trail cameras, it is critical to be as scent free as possible and leave the area completely unmolested as possible.  This means wearing rubber boots and/or rubber gloves and avoid touching any trees or lower level vegetation.  The slightest foreign odor in a deer’s home range can tip them off to your presence thus drastically decreasing your chances.   Keep unfamiliar noise to a minimum as well.  Treat trail camera trips just as you would an actual hunting trip.  Whisper if you are hunting with a partner, walk on matted leaves or grass if possible and don’t make any unnecessary noise.  Be as quiet as possible.  Conversely, when Todd and I checked our trail cameras we left the pickup truck running because the areas we were hunting were close to major roadways.  The deer in these areas are accustomed to traffic noise and paid little attention to a running automobile.  Remember, it is important to recognize your hunting scenarios and adapt accordingly.

Monitoring trail cameras revealed to Todd which areas we should focus our efforts on.  Trail cameras are a great scouting tool when used correctly.

Mobility

    Being flexible when it comes to our hunting spots played a key role in Todd harvesting his doe.  During our 4 combined days in Wisconsin we hung multiple stand locations for various winds giving ourselves the most options possible depending on several hunting related factors including weather, food availability (both agricultural natural crops), wind direction and trail camera intel.  We cashed in on food availability by finding a nice pinch point loaded with acorns.   Being a mobile hunter is not a style that is appealing or suitable for everyone.  It requires a lot of extra time and energy taking down and hanging new sets.  Portable, lightweight tree stands, like those from Lone Wolf, Muddy Outdoors or Gorilla are ideal as are the sticks provided by those manufacturers.  These stands are extremely light weight, portable and easy to carry in and out of the woods.  Being mobile also requires the use of a good pruning saw, like the Hooyman, to quickly trim shooting lanes and clean out the trees you want to hunt.  Again, being a mobile hunter requires extra effort; this may mean getting up an hour earlier in the morning to hang a stand in the dark or hanging a set at lunch and hunting that area the rest of the afternoon.  It can be tiring, but it can definitely be worth it.

Hanging new stands requires diligence and extra effort, but it can also be a deadly tactic when bowhunting whitetails.

Intuition


    Last and certainly not least, Todd and I relied on our intuition in harvesting a mature doe on film.  Preparing for our fifth hunt together, we were really unsure which stand we were going to hunt.  We settled down, looked at the wind, discussed food sources and quickly decided that acorns were our best bet for an afternoon hunt.  By developing a sound game plan based on our hunting intuition we felt confident and hopeful heading to the stand Sunday afternoon.  Trust your instincts, like Todd and I did, develop a sound game plan and you will find yourself feeling more confident in your hunting spots.

Conclusion


    Sure, Todd didn’t harvest a “Booner” this past weekend in Wisconsin, but we did come back with some cool footage and meat in the freezer.  We were faced with a little early season struggle but we adapted and succeeded.  Hopefully, our success this past weekend provided you with a blueprint of how to adapt and make the most of your given hunting scenario.  With October right around the corner, we are all sure to be experiencing some great hunting soon!

Todd and I with his 2010 early season Wisconsin doe.




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