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The Crab Claw Buck From Wisconsin

by Josh Fletcher 8. November 2009 23:57
Josh Fletcher

The story starts on October 25th 2009. Camera man Bryce Kish and myself were hunting central Wisconsin. We were in our stands waiting by 2:30pm. By 6:00pm Bryce calls out, “shooter buck!” As I turn around I notice a beautiful buck heading our way. As many big bucks do, he quickly changed course and walked approximately fifty yards out, too far for my effective range with a stick and string.

While Bryce was filming the buck, I noticed movement about thirty yards behind the first buck. It was a second buck and he too was a shooter. Bryce zoomed in on the second buck with the camera, he stated that the second buck was not as high as the first buck but definitely had more mass.

As both bucks walked away from our set up, my heart was pounding. I knew that there was going to be no shots taken that night, however we knew that the rut was just around the corner and good mature bucks were starting to become more daylight active. After the evenings hunt we headed back to my house to review the video of the bucks. While watching the video, I noticed the back buck had matching set of crab claws off of his front part of his main beams. Now I’m not good at scoring deer, so I wouldn’t even try, but what I can tell you is that he was definitely a mature deer and one that made my heart pound. That night I went to bed dreaming about another opportunity at the Crab Claw Buck.

Fast forwarding five days later, October 30th. I woke up at five in the morning. As I lay in bed I could hear rain hitting the roof and water dripping off the eves. I wanted to lie in bed where it was warm and dry, but I knew that the bucks were on the move, because the pre rut is in full swing. I met cameraman Chad Holdorf at the hunting property where he was standing with his hood synched tight around his head. Chad looks at me and asks, “Tell me again why we are doing this?” as rain was just pouring down on us. By looking at the radar it appeared that shortly after daylight the rain would stop.

For the second time in my hunting career I was also going to be using a buck decoy, so I wanted to be able to slip into our stands using the rain to cover up our noise and scent. When we reached to our stands, Chad was busy setting up the camera equipment while I was setting up the buck decoy. I was using the EZ-Buck by Carry Light Decoy Company. I took one antler off from the buck to make it less intimidating to the challenger. I had the decoy placed ten yards from my stand just incase a buck hangs up; he will still be well within bow range.

An hour went by and the rain stopped. All of a sudden Chad called out, “There’s a deer.” As I turned around I watched a wide, dark racked buck get up from his bed in some thick black berry brush a mere sixty yards away. The buck stretched, and soon started walking in our cardinal direction. After several steps the heavy horned buck stopped and locked eyes on the EZ-Buck. His deep eyes peered at his archrival, he immediately started rubbing his chocolate stained horns on a wrist-sized tree. After working the tree over and showing his dominance, he turned and came right on a b-line to the decoy. His ears tipped back, legs went stiff, and his back fur stood strait up. Staring at the decoy with every step, the big buck made it closer to the decoy. Only ten yards from my stand the big buck did a stiff leg side step looking over the decoy.

With his attention off from me and on his opponent I drew my bow and came to full draw. The buck circled to the back of the decoy and stuck his nose right into the decoy’s synthetic tail, immediately the buck caught a whiff of my scent from setting up the decoy and jumped about five to ten yards before he stopped broad side, staring back at the decoy. I settled my twenty-yard pin and released the string. I herd a loud “Crack” and the big bruiser did the best reaction, the mule kick.

I observed my tracer nock flashing from the shoulder blade as the buck was trying to break the land speed record to the thickest cover. As he reached the farthest point of which I could keep visual on him, it appeared that his legs were fighting to keep him up. Within nano-seconds he disappeared down into a deep draw. I turned to Chad with my knees shaking, saying, “I think we got him!” I knew I needed to check my arrow, due to the fact that it broke off several steps after I hit the buck. I told Chad that the shot was not perfect because I hit the shoulder blade. I needed to know how much penetration I got with my NAP Blood Runner, to know if I hit vitals.

I got down from the stand and recovered my arrow. You would have thought I found gold by my reaction when I observed that over half of my arrow blew threw his shoulder blade producing a bubbly blood coating my arrow. I looked at the leaves around my arrow and immediately there was a tremendous blood trail pointing the direction to the pot of gold. I marked where I found my arrow and returned up to the stand to talk with Chad.

As I got into the stand Chad delivered the bad news. He informed me that he hit the record button but the camera is not allowing us to review the shot to confirm our hit location. We were crossing our fingers that it was just the camera not playing it back instead of it not recording. We switched tapes in the camera and decided to try a new tape. After filming our post roll explaining what happened, it began to mist.

As an hour went by, it felt like days. Soon we took up on the blood trail. As soon as we began following the blood trail it was clear that the NAP Blood Runners did their job. It looked like some one tripped while carrying a five-gallon bucket of red paint. Approximately seventy yards later, I noticed a white belly down at the bottom of a big draw. With both of my arms in the air and some shouts of joy, my feet never touched the ground as I walked up on the heavy horned brute!

For the first time in my life I was honestly speechless as I picked up the head of this beautiful creature. I am not a guy who judges his hunt by the size of horn rather the sound of my heart pounding, and I was in shock that both were happening at the same time! As I admired the heavy horned ten point, it struck me like a bolt of lightning. I just harvested the crab claw buck. His duel front crab claws appeared to me like diamonds in the sand. Not only did I just harvest a truly magnificent buck, but also it was the buck that I dreamed about every night since I laid eyes on him five days earlier. This was the perfect ending to my fairy tale hunting adventure, and for as long as I live I will always remember the day that I met the crab claw buck.

After we took photos, rehearsed the hunt, we brought him home. Chad and I were excited to watch the video. As we tried to play the video we realized that the camera did not agree with the high moisture, as the video did record the buck coming in but it was extremely distorted and almost unable to view. However the recovery with a new tape did record.

Our hearts sank, I felt so bad for Chad, because I got my dream buck, however all the hours and hard work that Chad had spent all season long to bring us great video documenting our hunts did not record at the moment of truth. However Chad did say it best, “Even if we didn’t get the shot on video, it will always be in my mind and that made it worth the work.” He couldn’t have been more accurate, and a special thanks to Bryce and Chad for all their hard work behind the camera to bring our hunting season to your TV and computer screens.

Second trip of the season to Illinois-Developing a hit list

by Dan Schafer 8. November 2009 08:06
Dan Schafer

On Sunday October 25th Johnny and I packed the truck again and headed back to Knox County Illinois to hunt with good frineds Carl and Polly.  Our intent was to stay until both of us filled our tags, but good old Mother Nature had different plans.  Just before leaving, we checked the forecast, which looked to only have a few showers in the week to come. 

 Our first and second nights were spent in the 5th wheel listening to the pouring rain pounding the roof.  Only a few showers for the week?  We should have known not to trust the weather man!  During one six hour stretch, Carl's gauge measured 2.5" of rain.  I hardly call that a shower. 


This creek was ankle deep when we first arrived and came up around 7' overnight.

 When the rains finally settled we hung a couple more stands, checked out some sign and put out two Moultrie I40s and two Moultrie D40 trail cameras.


 Over the couse of the next 8 days we spent many long hours on stand with little to show for it.  The combination of the full moon and fields of standing corn really put a damper on the deer movement.  This past Wednesday, November 4th, Johnny and I decided that we would throw in the towel for a few days and head back to WI to get a bit of work done and come back down closer to the new moon.  All was not lost though, as the trail cameras started to take an inventory of the bucks cruising the property at night. 

 Check out a few of the bucks below that have made it to the "hit list" and a couple others that look to be good up and comers for the next couple years. 



Jack (and the Beam Stalk)



These last two pics are hard to tell if this is the same buck or not.  What say you? 



Bill Brasky


Once again, the truck is packed and we're ready to head back south in the morning for our final trip of the year.  It'll be interesting to see if anyone new showed up on the cameras while we were gone!  With any luck, we'll let the air out of a couple of these boys!

 Good luck to all still out there and shoot straight!'s - 200 Point Club

by Dustin DeCroo 6. November 2009 01:05
Dustin DeCroo

The 2009 bowhunting season is entering that time of year every hunters awaits, the rut. has created a 200 point club for those members that do what it takes to put down a slammer buck and or a doe.  In the contest a doe is worth 50 points and a buck is worth it's score in inches.  The members that reach the 200 point mark, and enter their kills in the "200 Point Club Entry" thread, will receive a gift from  Not to mention bragging rights and something prestigious to add to your signature!

How it works:

Each hunter may enter either a buck and doe or just a buck that meets or exceeds 200 points.  The deer must be killed with a bow during the 2009 season, photo proof is required.  The top scorer will have his/her package sweetened as well.

Congratulations to a few members that have already accomplished this feat... shown below!


"Wiaxle" - 200 Points

"ILL BUCK" - 200 Points

"Bloodcrick" - 203 Points

"Buckeye" - 210 Points

An Illinois doe for Polly

by Dan Schafer 5. November 2009 22:47
Dan Schafer

Is it really November 6th?  Seriously?  Wow, time actually does fly!

Way back on October 9th Johnny and I loaded up the Rock Star trailer and made our way south to the Land of Lincoln to hunt with good friends and lease partners Justin Zarr and Mike Willand.  The drive was full of talk about all the bucks we had seen last year and daydreams of what they would look like this year.  Nine hours later, we pulled into Siloam Springs State Park, parked the 5th wheel and headed to bed.  Justin and Mike arrived in the middle of the night and laid down to catch a few hours of sleep themselves.

At 4 am the next morning Justin and Mike were up and chomping at the bit to get down to the lease.  Johnny and I decided to get a couple of hours more sleep and head out around mid morning to hang a couple stands.  Much to our surprise, the door opened back up at 6 am and there stood Justin and Mike with that "someone just kicked my dog" look.  With all the recent rains, the creek we had to cross to reach the lease was swollen and impossible to cross.  After a quick discussion, Justin and Mike decided to make the 5 hour trek back north and hunt another piece of property they have access to.  To read more about their adventure, click here

Now that Johnny and I had made the 9 hour trip south, what were we to do?  Just then, I recalled a conversation I had with a gentleman back in June and his invitation to us to hunt his property 2 hours north in Knox County.  After a quick call, to be sure the invitation was still open, we were on our way to check it out. 

 Upon arrival, good friends Carl and Polly met us in the driveway with big smiles and open arms.  After a short discussion, Carl put on his boots and took us for a tour around the property.  Needless to say, we were pretty jacked up with what we had seen.  (Unfortunately, in all the rushing, I had forgotten my camera in the 5th wheel and was unable to take pictures.)  We got back to the house, thanked Carl and headed back to get the 5th wheel and move it to our new home for the next couple days. 

 The next day (third of our trip already) we hooked up the 5th wheel, headed back north to Knox County.  After parking the big rig in their yard, Polly preceded to tell us that if we were able to, we were to shoot a couple does for them for the freezer.  Of course, this was music to our ears.  We quick loaded up a couple stands, and headed out for an evening sit.  Johnny's evening was pretty uneventful and just before dark I had 5 does stroll by, but no shots were presented.  The next two days were about the same, doe sightings, but no shots. 

When we woke up Wednesday morning we decided we would give it a try that day and then head back home for a week of work, before coming back down to hunt more.  That evening, Johnny was able to spot a couple good bucks in the tall CRP grass get the blood flowing a bit.  After they disappeared with no shots presented, a mature doe made her way to him and offered a great shot.  The NAP Thunderhead found its mark and made for an easy track job. 



When we delivered the news to Carl and Polly that Johnny had put down a doe for them, they were very excited.  Being the kind and generous people they are, they offered to let us hunt there when we come back down and to leave the 5th wheel parked in their yard.  Floored with the offer, Johnny and I graciously accepted and dreamed of our return trip in just over a week. 

In this day and age, people so generous and kind are getting harder to come by.  Thank you Carl and Polly for opening your home and provinding us with such a wonderful opportunity.  I hope I can return the favor in the future and put a Canadian black bear in front of you.  Once again, Thank You!

LaCrosse Burly Boots - Product Review

by Dustin DeCroo 3. November 2009 09:20
Dustin DeCroo

The majority of bowhunters understand the importance of quality footwear.  We've all crossed a creek on a cold November morning only to find out our boots were far from waterpoof, at least I have.  It's nearly impossible to find a boot that excels in every situation in each part of our season, and for the majority of whitetail enthusiasts a knee-high waterproof boot is a must.  Over the years I've owned this style of boot made by Rocky, Muck Boot, Red Head, Scent Blocker, Columbia and LaCrosse.  In Oklahoma I wear rubber/neoprene boots on about 70 percent of my hunts, so it's important to have a boot that I actually enjoy wearing, this boot fits the bill.

It's been a few weeks since I received my first pair of LaCrosse Burly Classic boots from and I've had some time to give them an honest shot at my footwear starting lineup.  If there is a motto to my 2009 Archery season, it's "Simplicity," these boots are just that.  They have the essentials... everything you need and nothing you don't.  

First success with LaCrosse Burly Classics!

In the past my complaints with rubber (or neoprene) boots was their weight, the noise they make with each step and the over molded soles that always seem to come off halfway through the useful life of the boot.  To this point (somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 hunts) these boots have been excellent in all categories.  They're very light weight compared to similar models of other brands and they sport a single material for everything thing from the shank to the sole, I feel this sole will hold up much better than other styles.  As noted in the description of these boots, they do run slightly larger than standard shoe sizes which (in my opinion) is okay for a rubber boot.  When temperatures get cooler it gives me the ability to wear an additional wool sock without constricting my feet.  So far, I haven't had the opportunity to test out the insulationas we haven't had temperatures cool enough to need it.  I was very pleased with how soft the boots were brand new out of the box and that they required zero break-in.

They've obviously been put to use and they'll stay in my closet for years to come.

Overall I would rate these boots a 9 of 10.  The only thing that I would change is to offer this boot in camo as opposed to only offering the O.D. Green.  I guess when the only thing you can find to complain about with a boot is the color, you're doing alright.

Check out these boots here at along with other LaCrosse products by clicking the photo below!

Categories: Pro Staff

The Truth Behind the Hunt

by Josh Fletcher 28. October 2009 22:46
Josh Fletcher

On a recent hunting trip out west I was reminded as to why I love deer hunting. Myself along with four close friends found ourselves on a high mountaintop with two wall tents and a mouth-watering supper on the grill. As supper was heating up on the grill beneath the soft subtle light of a lantern, and a falling star shooting across the western sky was the official start of deer camp storytelling and reminiscing. I don’t care if you are a rifle hunter, a bow hunter or both. We all share the same passion; we are all hunters no matter what weapon we choose to carry.

For me the truth behind the hunt started at an early age. When I was twelve years old, my dad took me to deer camp located on the Upper Michigan boarder in northern Wisconsin. From that trip on I experienced the small things that the general public doesn’t understand about hunting. It’s the things that Hollywood doesn’t portray in the movies and even Bambi can’t deny. The truth behind the hunt is more than the kill; it’s about traditions, good friends and the stories of past hunts.

As each hunter would arrive in camp, the fellow hunters in camp would walk out on the porch and greet the new arrival with a big smile and a firm handshake. For most of us, deer season was the only time that our busy schedules would allow for us to sit down and reminisce about the past and plans for the future.

After everyone was unpacked and settled in our old rickety cabin, that was home for the hunters (as well as the mice), supper would soon be sizzling over the stove. What I find the most interesting about deer camp is that for most of our busy home lives it’s a challenge to have a good old fashion sit down supper, but at deer camp it’s a daily event.

After a gut busting supper that would make Paul Bunyan himself loosen up his belt, we would all gather around the old oil stove and talk over a torn and well weathered topo map like an army strategically planning our next move about the mornings hunt. These are the truths behind the hunt.

Fast forwarding to the present, I was introduced to two guys that I had never met before, to head out west on a mule deer hunt with. It didn’t take long and soon I had so much in common with these two guys that the eighteen-hour drive wouldn’t be long enough to share stories.

As we arrived at our camp location, five guys worked together like a well oiled machine and it wasn’t long an our two wall tents where set up and what would be our home for the next two weeks was ready to become a tradition. After supper we started a nice warm fire in the old barrel stove. Soon we rested our aching feet and backs on old tethered cots and closed our eyes. Even though our eyes were closed, our ears were open. Intensely listening to the music of the mountains, which was singing in harmony with the crackling fire. It’s the sights, sounds, and smells that provide the scripts to our songs. Soon with the sound of the wind against the mountainside was singing, then the crackling fire joined in and last the howls of distant coyotes joined into play the mountain music that we all drifted off to sleep dreaming about.

It wasn’t long and the silver morning light started to break the mountaintops. A warm cup of coffee that was brewed on a wood stove finished the picture that most artists dream to capture in the morning. Wall tents warmed by the suns beams that were projecting like a spot light from the mountain tops was a picture that was meant for hunting magazines. Its sights like these that aren’t in the travel brochures.

These are the truths behind the hunt. You have to hunt to be able to kill but you don’t have to kill to have hunted. Far too often we get captured up in the kill or how big of a buck we got, that it takes away from the enjoyment of why we got into the sport in the first place. It becomes a competition and not a moment to cherish. So the next time you’re out on a hunting trip with friends and family, don’t forget to take the time to breathe in the fresh air, relax and enjoy the small things that draw all hunters alike to the great outdoors. It’s not all about the kill or the biggest buck. It’s about friends, families, and the memories made as well as shared that is the real truth behind the hunt. 

Moultrie I45 Trail Camera Videos

by John Mueller 26. October 2009 23:54
John Mueller

Moultrie I45 Movie Mode


            Over the last week I had my Moultrie I45 set up on a mock scrape I made along the edge of my food plot. I chose this area because last year the bucks had scrapes under every branch that overhung the field edge.


            I got quite a few video clips over the week period, but not of any good bucks working the scrape. Most were at night too, so the IR mode got a good test. I had it set for a 15 second video clip. You can choose 5, 15 or 30 second clips I believe. If I had to do over again I would aim it a little higher. The IR bulbs illuminated the area right in front of the camera, but anything at a slight distance was out of the effective range of the camera.


            The doe in the first video was right at the scrape and the video of her turned out pretty good. You can make out good details of her in the clip. Pretty good quality for a trail camera.


            The next video is of a decent buck that was in the food plot behind the scrape. You can barely make him out in the background, and he is maybe 15 yards from the camera. I believe if I had the camera tilted up more it would have taken a much brighter clip of the buck.



            Over all the video quality was ok, I think some of it was my fault for not aiming the IR bulbs up a little higher on the night time shots. The daylight clips are really pretty high quality.


            One complaint I have on this camera is the battery life. I had the camera out for 3 weeks in the still picture mode and had gotten about 275 pictures. The battery was down to 59%. The one week of video, which I had 58 video clips, and it also adds a still for each clip completely drained the battery life. I’m not sure how much more battery life the video mode uses but this seemed too fast to me. I’m used to getting 5-6 months out of the batteries in my I40.


            Overall I’d give the I45 a 7 out of 10. It has some good points like taking color pictures much later than the I40 and the improved placement of the SD card  but there is room for improvement. Mainly the battery life and some grainy effects in the still picture mode.


If you’d like to try one for yourself, you can order one right here at


"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.

Hunter Safety System's Rope Style Tree Strap

by John Mueller 6. October 2009 06:38
John Mueller

            My HSS Rope Style Tree Strap is one of my favorite purchases this year so far. It’s much easier to use than the old strap that came with the vest and allows me to get the right distance away from the tree.


            The rope attachment system is much easier to use than the strap. You simply throw the loop end of the rope around the tree and slide the prussic knot with the carabineer attached through the loop. Slide the prussic knot to your desired position on the rope and connect the carabineer to the strap on your vest. It is much easier to do in the dark, instead of messing around with the strap and threading it through the roller clamp. This system is much quieter too.



Fast, simple, and quiet attachment to the tree.


Carabineer attaches to your HSS Vest

            My favorite advantage of the rope system is its adjustability. I always had a problem of not being able to get far enough away from the tree to suit my 30” draw length. The strap just wasn’t long enough. Now with the rope attachment all I have to do is slide the prussic knot down the rope and I can move as far away from the tree as I need to. This also helps out when the deer comes in from your off side and you have to spin around and draw over or under your strap. Now just slide the knot down and the rope hangs out of the way.


            The design of the prussic knot allows it slide on the rope when moved by hand, but in case of a fall it grips the rope and will not slide, catching the falling hunter.

The prussic knot is what makes the system so adjustable.


            I don’t see this item in the shopping area, but I’m sure if you contact Justin he can get you one. Check out the rest of HSS products here.

The damage of NAP’s new Blood Runners

by Bryce Kish 6. October 2009 04:13
Bryce Kish

With the best of both worlds screwed on the end of my Carbon express arrows it was time to put these things to the test!

With almost a month in on the Wisconsin archery season and passing on a couple opportunities I was not going to pass on testing my new broadheads any longer. It was a cool evening and a good mature doe presented me a 15 yard quartering away shot so I settled my pin and released. With the mighty mule kick presenting herself I knew I hit my spot.

After watching her crash threw the brush to where I couldn’t see or hear her any more I picked up my binoculars to see if I could find my arrow from atop my stand. With no luck I went down and with my arrow not present a little knot formed in my stomach but I had good blood right away. Dark red blood upon observation I figured I caught the liver but that’s all I could come up with without my arrow.

So giving her time I packed up, went home, changed and gathered a little tracking crew. After 2 hours we were on the blood trail.

With good blood for roughly 40 feet it went to pin drops. After 20 yards of that it was everywhere, blood on trees I mean you could see where it was spraying out of her but still no arrow. Heavier blood upon heavier blood, my confidence was building on my shot. While snapping pictures of the blood trail my Father in law and cousin who were ahead of me on the trail gave me the best words a bowhunter can hear “Here she lays”.

The shot was perfect, my arrow hit and busted her opposite shoulder which prevented a pass through so after a 50yd tracking adventure I could finally see the damage of the new BloodRunners. The blood trail with only one open wound and the arrow still in her was pretty impressive!

Upon field dressing I confirmed I hit the liver, lung and on top the heart one the main arteries was sliced. Now I don’t know if the shot caught the heart or with the arrow in her and her bumping trees would have done the damage there?

The liver was slit wide open and I apologize, the lung and heart picture did not show up clear enough to show damage.

The entry wound was an impressive 2 inch opening on the quartering away angle and the full 1.5 inch on the up and down cut.

Upon cleaning the arrow there was no damage to the broad head itself. After hitting the lower part of the opposite shoulder the tip was in good shape and the blades were all in tact with no nicks in them so overall to me this is a tough and very reliable broadhead!

It is clear to me that the decision I made this year, switching from Rage to the BloodRunner was an absolutely good decision. And more importantly, guys if you want the best of both worlds, it's still not too late to get a set and tune your bow up and be ready to go before the rut hits.

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.

North Dakota 203" Buck

by Bow Staff 24. September 2009 02:23
Bow Staff

Check out this buck taken on Monday near Mayville, North Dakota. This kid is only 18 years old. If you have any more information about this buck, send it our way!

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!

Opening Day Bowhunting Whitetails, Recharging of the Batteries

by Josh Fletcher 21. September 2009 04:58
Josh Fletcher

With a slight southeast wind blowing at our face, and the gentle humming of Wisconsin’s unofficial state bird, the mosquito, in my ear and temperatures in the eighties could only mean one thing…the opening day of the Wisconsin archery season was upon us. Chad and I were set up in our stands hours before sunset. Sitting patiently, listing to the music of falling acorns and safely in our trees with the help of the Hunters Safety System, it was just a matter of waiting till closer to dark before the woods would come alive with deer.

Through extensive scouting in the off-season we knew that we were going to have a great acorn crop this year on this particular property. Acorns to deer are like Chocolate to a kid. With the right wind to hunt our “acorn” stand, I knew that it was a no questions asked sit. It was just a matter of time until the deer came out to feed.

Approximately 45 minutes before dark we had our first deer movement of the 2009 season. Two fawns came running up the trail and stopped rite under our stands. Soon the woods came alive. We could hear deer moving through the thick leafy foliage, and one by one they came filtering past our stands, making a four-hour sit feel like a half hour. Though we didn’t see any bucks the first night, it was far beyond a successful night, it was a cleansing of the mind, stress reduction, and recharging of the batteries.

The next morning didn’t disappoint us either. Sunday morning brought us cooler temperatures in the 60’s. We keyed in on deer feeding on acorns and moving back to bed down in the buckthorn thickets shortly after daylight. With a large amount of acorns falling we knew the deer would be feeding on the fresh crop well before daylight. We didn’t want to bump the deer, so we had a pre-hung set of stands knocking on the deer’s bedroom door.

Shortly I spotted a doe and two fawns crossing the logging road that we were sitting on. Less than an hour latter I heard the tell tale sound of a twig breaking (I’m still amazed to this day how one breaking of a twig can get the heart pounding). Soon several does and a small buck came into view. At fifteen yards away I opted to pass on harvesting any of the deer and just became a mere observer of nature’s story.

With the opening weekend under our belts it was definitely a successful one. You don’t have to draw your bow or see a buck for it to be a successful day in the woods, just merely sitting back and watching natures story book unfold a true story for me was more than enough for me to walk out of the woods with a grin stretching from ear to ear.

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.


Make Sense of Scent

by Josh Fletcher 15. September 2009 18:14
Josh Fletcher

We all know that a trophy class buck’s greatest defense is his nose, and each year we all spend our hard earned money on scent eliminations products. But what works, what doesn’t… or is it all just a marketing scheme to sell sportsman and women water in a bottle? To better understand what marketing calls “scent elimination systems”, we first must understand what scent is and how the human body creates it.

First, as a hunter we leave two types of scent while heading into our stands and sitting in our stands. There is liquid particles (scent oil) which is individual scent track of a person walking through the woods and on objects that we touch. The other is scent that is dispersed as a gas. This affects hunters the most when sitting in a stand.

The scientific reasoning is that the human body consists of approximately 60 trillion cells, which are constantly dying and being shed off at the rate of approximately 50 million cells a second. These cells are acted on by bacteria and will give off a gas.  The human body has a layer of air, which is warmer, less dense than ambient air. This layer creates a current next to the body, which starts at the feet, rising until it peaks just above the head. That body air picks up speed, as the outside air gets colder because warm air rises. As this current rises, it picks up rafts, consisting of dead cells carrying along bacteria and a layer of body secretions, both are ingredients of scent, which are carried up the body and released plume-like from over the hunter's head.  These rafts are microscopic in size however they will be deposited down wind of the hunter. The growth of bacteria on the cells produces a gas that makes scent. So what does all this mean to a hunter?

While sitting in your stand your raft of scent molecules rises to the top of your body before being dispersed downwind.  The more you stink, the larger your scent cone will be.

Basically, we as humans are stinky critters and that we are always producing scent. Which gets me thinking, if we are always producing scent, how can we be scent free? I feel that the sent elimination system is mislabeled. I do believe it works, but we need to have a better understanding and expectations. I feel that it should be labeled as a scent reduction system. Scent “reduction” is important and worth a hunters time. If you are out mowing the lawn or doing house work and become sweated up, you will be giving off more scent, versus washing and showering, and reducing the amount of bacteria, which would create a much smaller scent cone.

Now a scent cone is just that, a cone. Its smallest point is near your body, mostly at the top of your head. Then it widens out, as it gets further down wind. We’ve all seen a scent cone. While sitting next to a campfire we’ve watched the smoke rise into the air. The smoke starts at the top of the fire, then as it rises high into the air, it widens out into a large cloud.  The more bacteria you are emitting the bigger the scent cone. The bigger the scent cone, the wider the area down wind the deer can pick up your scent.

Now we have all heard ads that basically say you can forget about wind direction and just concentrate on hunting. For me that is a misconception, because as a hunter you always need to pay attention to the wind direction because we are always giving off scent. As far as carbon suits I believe they work, and they do absorb scent molecules, but not all; scent is escaping from anywhere that the carbon is not covering. However, instead of all of your scent floating into the air, you can  capture a big part of it by the carbon suit. Also make sure that a quality company makes your carbon suit, I recommend using Sent Blocker. 

With a combination of showering in scent “reduction” soap, washing your hunting clothes in a scent “reduction” detergent, spraying down yourself and gear with a scent “reduction” spray, and a high quality carbon suit, you can greatly reduce the amount of scent that you give off into the environment, leaving a much smaller scent cone.

Reducing human scent will definitely help your odds at harvesting a nice buck this fall, but you should never rely on this method alone.  Always check the wind and only hunt your best stands when the situation is right.

I’ve used many different types of scent eliminators, and the one brand that I prefer is the Primos Silver XP Products. The reason is that Primos targets bacteria in this product. They do this by using silver to attack the bacteria since this is what human odor is caused by. Also, it is designed to attack non-bacterial odors, such as smoke or gasoline so you get a total scent “reduction”.

I first heard about this product at a local deer classic. Then one day I was at a department store with my wife and she asked me to try on some cologne. After I did so, I quickly learned that I wasn’t too fond of that cologne. After doing the woman version of shopping, off to my style, the sports shop! I was getting sick of smelling the cologne as I walked through the isle of scent elimination products. So I gave the new Primos Silver XP a test run. I sprayed a small amount over the cologne and almost instantly the smell was gone. I walked out of that sports shop with two bottles. A short time latter my child had an accident on the couch. My wife shampooed and sprayed carpet cleaner on the couch to get rid of the smell. After trying everything but burning the couch I sprayed my new bottle of Primos Silver XP on the pee spot, and instantly the odor was gone. That instance sold me on this product. The only problem is that my wife now wants to use my bottles for cleaning the house!

I personally prefer the Primos Silver XP brand of scent reduction products.  You can check them out in the cart by clicking here.

I’ve told numerous people about this product and the only way I can prove it to them and you is to take two cotton balls. Put several drops of doe pee on each cotton ball. Now spray your favorite brand on one cotton ball, and then spray the Primos Brand on the other cotton ball. This way you can be the judge and see for yourself. Even though I believe in the Primos Silver XP products and wear carbon suits, I still watch the wind and only hunt my favorite stands when the wind is right. I don’t believe that it is possible to be sent free but I do believe that you can be scent reduced. If you can make your scent less noticeable to a big buck that is the well needed edge that could make the difference on your next hunt.

The Bear Hunting Necessities

by Dan Schafer 13. September 2009 13:03
Dan Schafer

Like a ghost in the darkness, they appear from nowhere.    You look left, look right, then look left again and bam, there one stands.  I’m talking about none other than the magnificent black bear.  It’s amazing that an animal so powerful and strong can be so quiet and nimble. 


Chasing these docile misunderstood creatures is a major passion of mine in the late summer and early falls.  With bear seasons underway across much of the country, hopefully some of my experiences can help you bag the bruin you’re after.


Choosing a Location   


When searching for a new set up or bait station, there are quite a few things to keep in mind.  Food sources, travel corridors and cover are few of the main ones I’m always on the look out for.


The first two things I always look for are travel routes/edges and cover.  I like to find areas that are on the edge of a major terrain change.  My favorite spots are those that have a large spruce swamp, or similar area that is cool and shaded where the bears can rest during the day near thicker cover for the actual bait site itself.  Mature bears feel more comfortable moving during daylight hours where there is more cover. 


Third, I always consider what major food sources they may be on during that time of year.  In my area, it’s all about the berries.  Huge rock flats covered in blueberries, stands of choke cherries and wild plums are just a few of them.  This year, with the massive blueberry crop, I made found and made a few sets very close to both the blueberries and the spruce swamps.  I know my best bet is not to try to pull the animals away from their main diet, but to be where they are and supplement with the best bait I can offer. 


The Set Up


I like to keep all of my stands 13-18 yards from the baits.  Once I select a tree for the stand, I find another tree within these distances for the bait itself.  I then use a chain saw to cut logs and stack them in a “V” shape around the bait tree.  I stack the logs this way, so when a bear comes to the bait, they will always provide a broadside or quartering away shot, not facing straight on or quartering to. 


Once I have the stand set up and the bait logs cut, its time to trim the shooting lanes.  This year I purchased a Hooyman 10’ saw to trim branches between the stand and the bait itself.  The detachable hand saw is great for trimming the branches around the stand itself and small saplings in the shooting path.

Chow Time


When it comes to bait, I’m a firm believer that less is more.  I generally never bait with more than 4 gallons at any one time per bait station.  In my opinion, using smaller amounts of bait creates competition and brings the more mature bears out during daylight hours.  I’m also not a fan of using large pastries or anything large that a bear can remove from the bait site.  I want them to come in, eat and be comfortable. 


Some of my favorite baits are sugar cones, cereal, pie fillings, cookies, gummy life savers and other various sweets.  I could probably write a whole page of the different foods I have tried!  I’ll mix a few of the drier foods together in a pail and then cover it with a runny pie filling, making it heavy and wet.  Each of these 4-gallon pails will weigh around 30 pounds when the mix is complete. 


Also, one of the main things I like to do is bait every day.  I try to run the same stands at nearly the same time each day.  This creates a routine that the bears get used to and when they hear the atv coming and going, its like a dinner bell for them.  This is also the best time to place a hunter in the stand, as the bears believe it’s the normal routine.


For attractants, there are a whole variety of different scents.   I like to spray the trees with liquid smoke, maple flavor, vanilla, cherry juice, anise or anything else that will leave a lasting aroma.  One of my other favorite products is from Deer Scents and is a stick that is placed in the ground and lit.  It burns for a few hours and gives off a great aroma.  The last thing I use is used cooking oil.  I’ll pour the oil on the ground around the bait and when the bears step in it, they leave a trail wherever they walk.  The perfect scent trail for other bears to find and lead them to the bait.



NOTE:  Be sure to check your states regulations as to what’s legal for bait.  No two states have the same regulations and some things are illegal to bait with in some areas. 


Its Go Time!


After all the hard work you put into your baits, setting them up, mixing the bait and running them every day, its time to jump in the stand and reap the benefits. 


As I mentioned before, if possible, have a hunting partner drop you off and bait while you get in the stand.  The bears are used to your routine, no need to change it now. 


One last thing I’ll mention, that can be a near lifesaver, is to be sure you pick up a ThermaCell.  I’ve sat many a nights without one, nearly chewed to death, not to have one in my pack at all times.  They can make the difference between an enjoyable hunt and a miserable one. 


Good luck and shoot straight!!!!


Here’s a few links to purchase some of the great products I’ve used right here at


Deer Sense Bear Scents


Hooyman 10’ Saw





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 New Moultrie Gamespy i45 Trail Camera

by John Mueller 2. September 2009 08:33
John Mueller

I decided I needed one more trail camera for this season so I ordered the new Moultrie Game Spy i45 from the store. It was waiting on my front porch for me when I got home this evening. It’s so nice to find things like this on the front porch after a hard day at work!

The new Game Spy i45 by Moultrie.

One reason I chose the i45 is it has the option of sending my photos directly from the camera (with an added option) to a website for viewing over the internet. I haven’t purchased the necessary equipment yet, but it’s a neat idea. One I may consider in the future.

Some of the features on the i45 are:

  • Infrared sensor for immediate game capture
  • Imprinted photo strip with temperature, moon phase, time, date, and camera ID
  • Color day pictures/IR(black and white) nighttime pictures
  • 5/15/30 second video clips
  • Multi shot trigger up to 3 shots per trigger
  • 4 picture resolution settings/2 video resolution settings
  • Port for optional power panel
  • 4.0 MegaPixel camera
  • This camera looks to be very well put together. The housing is very sturdy and seals up weather tight. I like the way the top opens up to the controls and the SD card is very easy to reach unlike my older Moultrie cams.  It looks like Moultrie really listened to their customer feedback when designing this new unit.

    The case is well built and more compact than my older Moultrie cameras.

    I really like the easy access to the SD card, much better than on my other Moultrie models.

    A couple of things I found that I didn’t care for are the color of the case and that I cannot read the SD card in my digital camera. The case is almost glossy black which seems to make it stand out more. It does have a nice bark finish to it, but I think a gray color would make it much less noticeable to deer and other hunters. I really liked the fact that I could view the pics from my other Moultrie cams on my hand held digital camera. I guess this one uses a different format, so I can no longer look at my pics in the field.

    The included strap makes for an easy attachment to the tree, but a grey color would blend in much better in my opinion.

    Now I just need to get the unit out in the woods. I’ll do another review after I get a week or two of pics on it and let you all know what I think.

    In the meantime if you'd like to try out one of these new cameras you can purchase them here in the online store by clicking this link.  I think these are going to be a big seller for this fall so get yours before they're all sold out!

    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.

    Improving the Cutting Ability of Your Hooyman Saw

    by John Mueller 27. August 2009 05:29
    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.  

    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

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