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A Buck Named Clyde: A Testament to Food Plots, QDM and Mock Scrapes

by Cody Altizer 3. December 2011 09:39
Cody Altizer

There are a bevy of emotions we as hunters are fortunate to experience throughout the course of a deer season.  There is the rush of seeing your arrow bury itself behind your prey’s shoulder.  Then there are the uncontrollable shakes that violently rock your body before, during and after the shot at that big buck.  And don’t forget, the most humbling of all, the feeling of thankfulness and gratefulness experienced when you kneel over your trophy, be it a buck or doe, be it big or small.  Finally, there is the camaraderie experienced between you and your hunting buddies.  A couple weeks ago, I got to share an extremely memorable time in the woods with my brother, Damin, as he shot a true giant Virginia whitetail, a buck named Clyde.  

One of the first pictures we got of Clyde.  This image was taken in early January in our clover food plot.

The story for this buck actually begins in 2007, ironically, the birth year of Clyde.  It was that year that my brother, my dad and I really decided to commit to Quality Deer Management (QDM) and try to improve the health of our deer herd and our property’s habitat.  We began planting food plots, established mineral stations and decided to take at least 5 does off our 260 acre property every year.  The mineral stations attracted deer to our property during the summer, and shooting does increased rut activity immediately.  However, I was still unhappy with the amount of food we had on our property during the hunting season.  I simply wasn’t content with the small, secluded food plots we had planted in the past.  Every year, I urged my dad to consider planting two one acre fields in clover.  I was convinced that having a consistent, centralized food source would make a world of difference in holding deer on our property during the hunting season.  During the rut, I was exicted about the amount of rubs and scrapes that would appear in the runways and funnels leading from the fields to bedding areas.

 

Clyde all but disappeared during the spring and summer, except for visiting one of my mineral stations in mid-June, when this photo was taken.

Fast forward to February, 2010, we had finally gained the resources to plant the two large fields, and I can still remember cruising along in my neighbor’s borrowed 40 horsepower tractor and plowing up the field.  By the time I had finished, it was well after dark and the headlights of the tractor were synonymous with a bright future on our hunting property, a future I was extremely excited about.  

This trail camera photo was captured on a frosty night in late September.  The long sweeping right main beam told me who this buck was.  It was this photo that earned him the nickname "Clyde."

That spring and summer I sprayed and tilled, sprayed and tilled, to keep the weeds and have a clean seed bed for the 2010 hunting season.  In August I planted some Imperial Whitetail Clover and oats into the food plots.  We have found that planting clover in the fall and allowing it establish a strong root system in the winter will allow it to explode the following spring.  Obviously, both forages would be attractive to the deer during the season, but the oats were more of a cover crop to keep the deer from overbrowsing the clover.  

Fast forward to this past January, I was in Huntley, IL preparing for the 2011 ATA Show at the Bowhunting.com office and my brother sent me a couple of trail camera images of a buck feeding in our food plot the night after the season went out.  The buck was a 3 year old, had several busted tines, but was clearly a shooter and had the potential to balloon into a true giant the following season.  Our winters in Western Virginia don’t pose serious threats to a whitetail’s life, even worn down bucks, so my primary concern keeping him on our property that following year.  With two acres of lush clover just waiting to explode with a little sunlight and warm weather, I was confident we would regularly catch him on camera feeding in our food plots during the summer.

By mid-October Clyde was convinced their was an intruder buck in his territory thanks to my mock scrapes.

As is often the case with deer hunting and habitat management, things don’t go as expected.  The food plots exploded all right, providing a nutritious, tasty food source to our local whitetails all spring and summer.  Unfortunately, however, we only captured the buck on camera just once during the entire summer, and it wasn’t even in our food plots.  On June 19th he made a brief stop at one of my Monster Raxx mineral stations.  I knew it was the buck from the previous winter, by a cluster of abnormal points on his right main beam.  While he didn’t spend as much time in our food plots, I wasn’t overly concerned.  I knew where he was bedding and knew that having several does feeding in our food plots during the actual hunting season would greatly benefit us.  

As hunting season quickly approached and the temperatures began dropping quickly, I was anxious to see if the buck had began visiting our food plots.  The two clover food plots were planted right in the center of our property, so to visit them, either to feed or check for does, he would have to walk right by several of my stand sites.  Nevertheless, when I checked my cameras on October 1st I was thrilled to find the buck feeding in our food plot just two nights before.  I sent a picture to my brother via cell phone with the text reading, “huge buck in upper field, 140+."  A long sweeping right main beam and the abnormal points on the same side made Clyde an easy choice for a nickname (See Clint Eastwood’s famous flick, “Every Which Way but Loose”).    Let the chess match begin.

This trail camera photo revealed to us Clyde's bedding area.  This photo was taken two nights before Halloween about 30 minutes before sunrise.  

I knew it would be unwise to dive right in after this buck after a handful of nighttime trail camera photos.  I knew where he was bedding, I knew how he accessing our food plots, I just had to be patient and not over hunt him.  I immediately made a series of mock scrapes along his access trails to and from the food plot using Tink’s Power Scrape.  The idea was to paint a picture of another big, old buck  moving into his territory.  He didn’t like the thought of that.  He began working over those scrapes within days, and the giant rubs and scrapes that dotted the edge of the food plots could only have been made by him.  This was his food plot, the clover belonged to him, the does belonged to him; no other bucks were welcome.

After seeing the massive rubs and watching the scrapes being freshened up nightly, I took extreme measures as to not pressure the buck.  The only problem with the location of our two food plots is location.  Yes, they were centrally located, but they were also right beside our hunting camp, which sees a lot of human activity.  During October, I likely only hunted 3 mornings so I didn’t push him off the food plot on my way to the stand.  My dad and brother would have liked to kill me because I was constantly reminding them to be quiet around the camp and to walk on the far side of the camp to hide our existence from deer feeding in the food plot. I probably took it too far in some cases, but there was a giant buck living very close by, and I was determined that one of use was going to kill him.

Throughout October we captured Clyde on trail camera in the food plot, at mock scrapes, and on trails heading back to his bed in the late morning.  My brother had two weeks of vacation planned for early November and we were going to exhaust every opportunity we had to close the deal on the giant.  Unfortunately we got slammed by two weeks of bad weather.  Dumping rains, high winds and warm temperatures made hunting very difficult.  At the end of every unsuccessful day of hunting my brother would ask me, “Where in the world Clyde?”  My response was always the same, “Not far.”

Multiple rubs of this size began popping up in trails and runways from the food plot to bedding areas.  Clyde was becoming more and more vulnerable with each passing day.  We were onto him, we just had to play it smart.

Friday November 11th was again a terribly slow day of hunting.  A full moon and high winds and warm temperatures had shut down all deer movement, but there was hope in sight.  The first clear, cold night in several weeks was forecasted that night.  That night I remember my brother asking me yet again, “Where is Clyde?”  But this time I responded, “Not far.  He’s got to be covering some ground at night, if we can get a good, hard frost tonight, that should keep him on his feet longer into the morning on his way back to bed for the day.”  It wasn’t much to go on, but was it was a hopeful thought, and that was all we needed.

I had been bowhunting like a madman the first two weeks of November, so I elected to take my muzzleloader that morning for a change of pace.  We had got the hard frost we were hoping for and we had got into our stands over an hour before first light.  I had seen a couple does filtering back to bed right at first light, and was hopeful a buck would soon follow suit, but I never got the chance to find out.  At 7:14 I heard my brother’s muzzleloader ring out.  Since it was my brother’s last day of vacation, we both decided to try and shoot a couple does if the opportunity presented itself, so I just assumed he had shot a doe.  However, his “13 pointer down!!!!!” text eliminated that theory.  My mind began racing, “Did he really shoot a 13 pointer?  Maybe he did shoot a doe and is just joking around.  A 13 pointer?  Clyde was only a 10 in the trail camera photos.”   Anxious to see what he had shot I responded, “Can I come up?”  His response, “Clyde!!!!”  I gathered my gear, got down out of my stand and all but ran through the woods to see the fallen giant.

My brother and hunting partner, Damin, admiring the legendary buck known as Clyde.  Mission complete!

When I finally met up with my brother, he had his coat draped over Clyde’s rack.  As he unveiled him, I simply couldn’t believe the massive antlers coming off this buck’s head; a true giant.  I must have hugged and high fived Damin a good 20 times in a span of 5 minutes.  Damin relived the hunt for me, and I was happy as could be for him.  It turns out that cold, hard frost kept Clyde on his feet just long enough this morning, because my brother shot him working one of the mock scrape lines I had built back in early October.  My brother stopped him at 50 yards broadside, and made a perfect shot, and Clyde died within sight.  

Clyde is by far the biggest buck ever taken off our property.  The hard work we all put in over the past 4 years finally paid off with a dandy buck.

I offered to drag Clyde out of the woods for Damin, we met up with my dad and mom at camp and thus began the day of celebration.  We took well over 100 photos, put a tape to him, weighed him, caped him out and readied him for the taxidermist.  Clyde ended up scoring 148 6/8” as a mainframe 10 with 5 kickers.  He had three abnormal points sprouting at the base of his right G3 and had an inch and a half kicker at the base of each antler.  He was 220 pounds live weight and dressed 185, which makes for a giant bodied whitetail in Western Virginia.

The fallen giant and the lucky hunter who harvested him overlooking the mountains and food plot the massive buck once called home.

While Clyde scored well, and was the size of a small cow, his statistics do very little for this buck's legacy.  When I think of Clyde I will think of the countless hours spent running trail cameras, planting food plots, freshening mineral stations, and scouting since 2007, the year he was born and the year we started QDM.  I will think of the discussions I had with my dad and brother about when, and how we should go about trying to harvest this deer.  But ultimately, I will remember walking up to the fallen buck with my brother standing over him with a contagious smile and the brotherly emotions we shared in the woods November 12th.  That, I think, is what Clyde most represents and what an animal of his caliber should be remembered for.

The Rut Finally Comes To Illinois

by Justin Zarr 22. November 2011 15:16
Justin Zarr

First off, let me start by saying I wasn't complaining in my last Blog entry. By all accounts, had my season ended on the evening I wrote that very entry I would have been extremely pleased with the outcome. My Blog was more or less expressing my frustrations that the amount of rutting activity I had seen this year was very sub-par compared to years in the past. For me, the thrill of those classic rut hunts is really what defines my season. The cold mornings with bucks grunting and chasing does, seeing deer on a flat-out run across a field during the middle of the day, the tales of hunters having multiple big buck encounters in a single sit. Those are the things that had been lacking from my season so far.

That brings us to this past weekend here in Northern Illinois. With gun season open across much of the state many bowhunters had their archery gear put away temporarily. However, being a resident of the Chicago suburbs where many of our counties are bow-only, I was fortunate enough to be able to take to the woods with my Mathews in hand. Saturday morning found me perched in a tree where I shot a nice buck last fall, hoping for a November repeat. This time I had good friend, and cameraman, Mike Willand with me.

Over the course of the morning Mike and I saw a total of 8 deer, including two small bucks who were clearly out on the prowl looking for does. Now, I know this doesn't seem very substantial to a lot of people but keep in mind there's times when I don't see 8 deer in a MONTH of hunting on this farm. To see 8 in one sit is pretty incredible, and really helped fuel me for the rest of the weekend.

That same morning the coyotes were also out and about as we saw two of them, both within bow range of our stand. Fortunately for the 2nd coyote, my shooting was a bit off as he came by at 30 yards and I launched an arrow about an inch over his furry back.


My shot was a touch high as this big Illinois 'yote ducked my arrow and escaped unscathed.  These little buggers sure do move quick!

Saturday afternoon I was back in the same stand, this time self-filming as Mike had prior committments. Although I only saw one nice 2 1/2 year old that came by and offered a 10 yard shot, I heard the sounds of a good buck chasing a doe in the timber to my West. Branches cracking, leaves crunching, a buck grunting, roaring and snort-wheezing. Now THIS is what I was looking for! The buck and doe never showed themselves before darkness came, but I knew for a fact I had to get back in there the next morning.  If that does was hot there's bound to be one, if not several, good bucks competing for the right to breed her.


This busted up 2 1/2 year old paid me a visit on Saturday afternoon.  He worked a licking branch and urinated on his hocks just 7 yards from the base of my tree.

4:15 came awful early on Sunday morning, and despite my body telling me to stay in my nice warm bed, I got up and headed out. Knowing it could be my last good morning hunt before the rut was done for the year I was determined to get in a stand before daylight.

As the sun just began to peak over the horizon I spotted my first deer of the day, a young spike buck, making his way behind my stand. About an hour later I heard a deep grunt in the field behind me and turned around to see a doe flying across the field at break-neck speed. I knew a buck wasn't far away and kept my eyes peeled. A minute later I spotted the source of the grunt, a nice buck feeding in the cut corn. After looking him over with my binoculars for a minute or two I determined he was a shootable deer and tried to formulate a game plan for how I was going to get a shot at him. He was 100 yards away from me and straight down wind. Not a good sitaution.

The first thing I did was take out the bottle of Tink's 69 from my backpack and spray some into the air. Not only did I want him to get a whiff of doe estrus to try and attract him, but I wanted to cover up my scent and prevent him from spooking. During the peak of the rut a buck's desire to breed will often cause him to make mistakes he wouldn't normally make, and I was hoping that today this would be the case. So after a minute or two of letting the scent disperse, I broke out the grunt call and let out a series of short buck grunts. The minute he picked his head up and looked my direction I immediately stopped calling and grabbed my bow.

On queue the buck came in on a string, straight down the path I had walked into my stand that morning. With the camera rolling at my side the buck hung up at 18 yards and would not come a single step closer. With a steady North wind at 10 mph blowing both my scent and the Tink's straight into his nostrils the buck didn't know what to do. He looked and looked and looked some more, several times looking right up in the tree at me. I thought for sure I was busted, but thanks to my Lost Camo he never spotted me.

Eventually the buck turned and began to circle around my stand at about 22 yards. Unfortunately this particular piece of woods is extremely thick and wasn't trimmed out quite as well as it should have been so I never got a good shot opportunity at the buck. I had one very small window of opportunity, but when I grunted to stop him he took two steps before stopping and was directly behind a tree, effectively blocking any shot I had. After a second the buck continued on his way, out of bow range and eventually out of sight.


After I grunted in an attempt to stop this buck, he took two more steps before pausing behind some trees where I couldn't get a shot at him.

At this point I couldn't believe it! I had a shooter buck within 20 yards for well over 5 minutes and could never get a shot at him. How does that happen? So as I'm feeling sorry for myself, I do a quick interview and talk about what just happened before sending a text to Mike to let him know what's going on. Just as I put my phone away I hear something and look up to see the buck headed back my direction. So I quickly grab the camera, turn it on and get it positioned, grab my bow and get ready.

The buck steps out in the wide open at 30 yards when I grunt to stop him, settle my pin, and touch off the shot. With a "SMACK" that echoed throughout the woods the big bodied whitetail turned and ran only 5 yards before stopping and looking back to see what just happened, acting like nothing was wrong.  I could see my arrow protruding from his side with what looked like only 2-3 inches of penetration and my heart sank. A direct hit to the shoulder, forward and low, is rarely a good sign.


My buck just milliseconds before the arrow impacted him directly in the shoulder.

Over the course of the next 20 minutes I watched the buck slowly hobble his way through the woods before finally losing sight of him. Although I could see his tail twitching rapidly and see him stagger from time to time, I was very unsure of the hit and decided to back out.  An hour later I climbed down from my Lone Wolf stand and slowly made my way back to the truck. After talking it over with Mike we decided to wait 4-5 hours just to be safe before returning.  In my experience is always better to wait it on on a questionable hit, regardless of whether or not it's too far forward, or too far back.  The way this buck was acting I had a feeling he wouldn't travel far before laying down, and I hoped to find him nearby upon our return.


Not the type of reaction we all hope for after shooting a nice buck.  Making a questionable shot on a deer, buck or doe, leaves a sick pit in the stomach of any bowhunter.

Over 5 hours later at 1 pm we returned to the woods and immediately found good blood. In fact, the blood trail was much better than I thought it was going to be, which was encouraging. Roughly 30 yards up the trail we found my busted Gold Tip arrow and confirmed that penetration was only around 4 inches. My optimism faded a bit. However, as we continued on the blood trail was very easy to follow and at times very good. Then, right where I had last seen him, I spotted rack sticking up over a fallen log. My buck was down!


Finding blood like this is always an ecouraging sign when trailing a wounded deer.


Moments after spotting my buck laying just feet from where I last saw him hours earlier.  What a relief!

The feeling of relief was like a huge weight being lifted off my shoulders. There is nothing worse in the deer hunting woods than shooting and not recovering an animal, and I was honestly sick to my stomach thinking about not finding this deer. Knowing that he went down within 100 yards from the shot is a great feeling.

As it turns out, I believe that I may have hit one of the major veins or arteries that runs up the deer's neck, because on inspection my arrow never actually penetrated the chest cavity. The lack of penetration was caused because I did hit the front shoulder, but luckily I had enough power behind my arrow to push in far enough to get the job done. I give all the credit to the NAP Hellrazor broadhead I was shooting. In this particular case the solid one-piece stainless steel broadhead was the difference between my success and failure on this hunt. Proving yet again why I favor a durable, tough-as-nails fixed blade head over a massive expandable head any day of the week.


After not having any good bucks on trail camera all summer and fall, it was nice to catch up with this guy.  A solid 3 1/2 year old buck, he may not score much but he's a great trophy and a wonderful way to end my 2011 bowhunting season here in Illinois.

With all of this said, my 2011 season is officially in the books and it's time to start thinking 2012 already. I plan on continuing to run several Stealth Cams on my various hunting properties to inventory the bucks that are still around, and of course shed season will be here before we know it! In between those two we've got several trade shows to attend so I'll certainly stay busy.

Look for the full video of this hunt on an upcoming episode of Bowhunt or Die. We still have 6 more exciting buck hunts to bring you over the next several weeks, including mine. To those of you still hunting out there remember to be safe, shoot straight and most importantly have fun!

Mid-October Bowhunting Update and Trail Camera Scrape Tips

by Todd Graf 14. October 2011 11:21
Todd Graf

Well everyone, it’s mid October which means a couple things for us bowhunters. First, we are likely still stuck in that dreaded mid-October lull.  Although some people don't believe in the October Lull, my deer sightings and Stealth Cam photos have sure been way down over the last 10 days.  However, on the good side it also means that the rut is just around the corner and the best hunting is still ahead of us.  With the recent cold front that moved through the Midwest and the full moon finally behind us, it won’t be long until we're seeing bucks chase does across the open fields and through the timbered ridges. I don't know about you but I can’t wait!


This view of my Lone Wolf treestand is a one that I will be seeing more and more of as the season progresses. For those of you with the new 2011 model stands, I hope you're finding the new in-cast bow holder helpful.  I've been using it quite a bit and it works great.  A definite improvement over the previous model stands.

Through the first half of October I have been hunting pretty hard but just haven’t had the caliber of buck I am looking to shoot come into range.  As you saw in Episode 11 of Bowhunt or Die I had a great buck come in front of me opening day in Illinois, but I elected to pass him up.  I know he's a nice deer, but I'm after a couple of giants that have been spotted in the area and my heart is set on one of them.   You can see the footage of me passing on that buck by clicking here.

Although I haven't seen a shooter buck from stand yet, I have seen deer just about every time in stand so I can't really complain too much.   I believe the key to getting in close to deer is the ability to adapt to the changing conditions of the fall.  As the weather and time of year change, so do the deer's patterns.  So when it was hot, I hunted near water and saw several small bucks coming in for a drink.  When the winds were blowing hard I got down in a hollow where I was out of the wind, and saw some good deer movement.  By analyzing what's happening around me and hunting different stands accordingly I'm able to get close to deer just about every time out.   Remember, if you're hunting the same couple of stands every day regardless of the time of year or weather, you're probably hurting your chances for success.


This young buck decided it was too hot to move, so he found a cool shady spot to spend his afternoon. He and I shared a warm 4 hours in the woods together one afternoon this past week.


Filming yourself is tough business!  Here my Sony AX2000 from Campbell Cameras is all set up and ready to record some footage for Bowhunt or Die! If you aren't already, I highly suggest filming your own hunts. It's fun, rewarding and you can relive your adventures for the rest of your life.

This time of year is also a great time to fire up your mock scrapes, or freshen up natural scrapes. I’ve had tremendous success using the Tink’s Power Scrape on my mock scrapes and in the natural scrapes on my hunting properties.  Remember, the key when applying scents to deer scrapes, whether they are natural or man-made, is to reduce the amount of human scent left behind while you're applying the lure.  Always wear rubber boots and if possible rubber gloves as well. The less human scent you leave behind the more successful your scrapes will become.

Also, I strongly recommend you shifting your trail camera strategies to scrapes this time of year as well.  Over the next couple of weeks the bucks will be scraping quite a bit, and there's no better way to get an inventory of the bucks in your area.  Additionally, this increases your chances of getting daytime photos of the bucks using the scrapes and will thus help you put the pieces of the puzzle together more quickly.  Once you start seeing your mature bucks checking and working scrapes during the day you know it's time to get out there and really start hunting.  For those of you with limited time off work, this can really come in handy.  So if your trail cameras aren't on scrapes already, get out and move them as soon as possible.  Just make sure your memory cards are big enough to hold all of the pictures you're going to get!

I also suggest using video mode on your trail cameras (if they are capable) because you are able to collect more data from each shot. You can get a better look at the buck’s rack, and have a better idea of how old he is. Plus, you can get the precise location where he came from and is going to after working over the scrape. Simply put, you can gather far more intelligence from video mode than you can a couple pictures. 


My Stealth Cam set up on a scrape and ready to reveal the patterns of a monster buck!

Well, that is all I have time for now. I wish each and every one of you safety and success while out hunting this weekend. And don’t forget, if you do get a deer we would love to see it and your trophy may be featured on an upcoming episode of Bowhunt or Die. Follow this link to send us your trophy! Happy hunting everyone!

Using Deer Lures: An Interview with Terry Rohm of Tink’s Hunting Products

by Justin Zarr 12. October 2011 15:40
Justin Zarr

I’ve explored many different roads when it comes to hunting techniques over the years, but one that has eluded me so far is the use of scents. Sure, in my younger days I would drag some doe estrus lure around behind me and maybe hang up a film canister full of stinky cotton balls, but there was never any real technique put into it. Like a lot of young hunters I was simply throwing stuff against the proverbial wall to see what would stick. With little to no success using these scents I gave up on them and moved on to other tactics.

Now as I enter in my 30’s and feel that I have a decent grasp on some semi-advanced techniques I’ve began to come full circle with scents. This renewed interested started several years ago with the rising popularity of mock scrapes. I’ve learned quite a bit from talking with people who have successfully used them to harvest deer, including my friend and hunting partner Mike Willand. You can read Mike’s blog entries about mock scrapes by clicking here.

Outside of mock scrapes my interest has been peaked regarding the use of both curiosity scents and as well as rut scents such as buck urine and doe estrus. My thought process here is that we spend much of our time trying to lure in a whitetail buck using the sight of a decoy or the sound of a grunt call, why not attack his sense of smell as well?

To help me answer a few of the questions on how to most effectively use scents to my advantage I turned to an industry expert, Terry Rohm of Tink’s Hunting Products. Terry has been with Tink’s for over 20 years and undoubtedly has a wealth of knowledge on how to, and just as importantly how not to, use scents to your advantage. Below is a short series of questions and answers that I hope will help lead me in the right direction this fall. Hopefully you can learn a thing or two as well.


Terry Rohm of Tink's Hunting Products is no stranger to using deer scents to help him tag trophy whitetails like this.

Q: What do you believe is the biggest mistake that hunters make when using scents while deer hunting?

A: I think there are two mistakes hunters make. 1st they depend too much on the lure to shoot a deer. Deer lure is another tool for a hunter to use just like your bow or treestand. Hunters need to keep in mind they still have to do their home work and also realize deer lures are not magic. 2nd mistake, and this is going to sound like a sales pitch, but some hunters do not use enough lure. A deer has to smell it to work. This is why we say to put out 3 scent bombs or so. If the wind is not going in the right direction the deer will never smell it.

Q: What time of year do you feel that using scents is most effective?

A: The rut, when those ole bucks are up on their feet chasing does. Lure can also help stop a buck to get a shot with a bow. This is a great time to use a drag line or boot pad with lure on it going to your stand. You have seen buck with their nose to the ground just trying to pick up any scent of a doe, bang he hits your drag trail and here he comes!

Q: Can you describe what you feel is the perfect situation in which to use deer scents as an attractant?

A: I think one of the best examples I give is where I’m hunting thick areas where viability is poor and I know bucks travel that area. I want my lure to drift into that thick cover to pull a buck out for a shot. I used our Tink’s #69 Buck Bomb on a hunt in Montana that worked great. We set up next to some thick willows we knew deer were going through. I would spray the Bomb every now and then and it was bringing deer out of the willows to locate the lure.

Q: How do synthetic scents differ from natural scents, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of both?

A: I don’t know if there is really any advantages or disadvantages to either type of lure. As a company we work hard at controlling the formulas of both our synthetics and natural urine formulas to make them both effective. Most synthetics have an indefinite shelf life, however with natural urines air will break it down over time, which is called bacterial decomposition.

I think the #1 question I often get is “Will my Tink’s 69 be good next year?” and the answer is Yes, as long as the cap it tight and no air gets to it. It will be good for years, just like a fine wine!

Q: What do you feel is the most effective way to disperse scents?

A: I really like two different methods. The first is our orange Scent Bombs. It is very easy to put 3 or more out and unlike the old film canisters they are not messy. Since we put a reflective strip on the outside they are very easy to find with a flashlight after you climb down from an evening hunt. Hunters can also use them as a yardage marker.

The next would be our Tink’s Buck Bomb. I love this thing when I’ve got deer headed down wind of me and I know they will be going through my scent stream. I just take it out and spurt it a few times like a spray paint can. You have to do this before they hit your scent stream. Most of the time the deer will lock up and stop smell a bit and then move on. The thing I’m really trying to avoid by doing this is to keep them from blowing and running. Of course if they smell it and come in for a shot, even better!

Q: What is the most effective way to create and hunt over a drag line?

A: A huge mistake when using a drag line or boot pads is that when they go right to the bottom of their stand and stop. As a bow hunter this doesn’t offer a good shot. The deer will follow it with his nose to the ground and coming right at you, no shot! You need to think about the approach to your stand. I like to drag it if front of my stand or where ever my best shot is and then go a little farther to get a good quartering away shot and stop. Then I want to hang it up.


When using a drag rag in conjunction with deer lure, make sure not to end the scent trail at the bottom of your treestand.  Instead, drag the lure through your best shooting lane and then hang it up in a tree.  This will offer you a much better shot opportunity if a buck comes in to investigate.

Q: Is there any time when a hunter should avoid using scents?

A: The only time I don’t is when I’m hunting in an oak tree with acorns falling and I know deer are feeding under it. In this case I want the area to be as natural as it can be.

Q: Will curiosity scents work on a mature buck during the early season?

A: Yes, a curiosity lure is a great choice early in the season. Bucks are concentrating on feeding and some may be rubbing a bit. Things are changing fast in their world so when a buck smells something they can’t identify they search for the source and see if it’s something they can eat or see what the new smell is. Tink’s Magnetics is a great scent for early season buck hunting as it’s both a curiosity scent but also appeals to a buck’s sex drive as well.

Q: How important is controlling the amount of human scent around your stand site while you are placing out and using deer scents?

A: Human scent left behind can and will ruin your hunt, period!!! Hunters need to wear rubber boots, rubber gloves and try not to rub up against any brush. I have heard several stories from hunters that say deer lure spooked the deer. After listing to their stories I’ve come to find out the deer went straight to the Scent Bomb and stuck his nose on it and then spooked. My first question is usually “Why did you not shoot the buck before he got there?” Most likely when he stuck his nose on it he smelled the scent from the hunter’s fingers, which caused him to spook. So always make sure you’re wearing rubber gloves when using any type of scent or deer lure.


When using deer lures it's imperative that you wear rubber gloves in order to minimize the amount of human scent you leave behind.  Remember, when a buck smells the lure he will be on full alert, analyzing every smell that hits his nostrils.  If he smells human scent mixed with your lure he may bolt before you can get a shot.

Q: What is the best tip you can give to a hunter who is looking to use scents in order to help him harvest a mature whitetail?

A: Wind is #1. You have got to have the right wind to hunt a stand if you want to be successful.  Even when using deer lures, if a buck smells you the game is over.

Aside from that, there are several things that will affect how well scents and lures work. Hunters must evaluate their hunting area before deciding if and when to use scents. Factors like hunting pressure, the age structure of your deer herd, the amount of big bucks in your area and the buck to doe ratio will all determine how effective the use of deer scents will be. If you have way too many does in your area then tools like lures, grunt calls and rattling horns may not work well because a buck does not have to compete for breeding rights.

My best tip to shoot a big buck using lures is that you’ve got to hunt big bucks where big bucks are! Do that, and everything else will fall in place.


With a wall full of bucks like this, there's no doubt that Terry knows what he's talking about.  You can be sure that I'll be putting some of his advice to work over the next several weeks.

Well, there you have it folks. Some of the best information you’re going to get about hunting whitetails using deer scents, straight from the horse’s mouth. Terry Rohm has killed a pile of great bucks in his life, many of which fell victim to his use of scents and attractants to lure them in range. I know I’ll be experimenting with the use of deer scents this fall and I’ll be sure to report back on both my successes as well as failures.

Good luck out there! And of course if you have any comments or questions please feel free to post them at the end of this Blog and I’ll do my best to get them answered for you.

Hunting Deer Scrapes Part 2 - Creating a Mock Scrape

by Mike Willand 27. September 2011 13:07
Mike Willand

As you may remember from reading my last entry “Hunting Deer Scrapes Part 1 – The planning of a Mock Scrape”, I am undoubtedly a scrape hunter. Although it seems to be a somewhat lost art in today’s modern bowhunting society I still believe it’s a tactic worth utilizing, and once used properly, can help put the odds in one’s favor. 

With the 2011 Illinois deer season just days away, I’m going to commence the second portion of this five-part blog dedicated to the scrape. If you’ve already read part one of this series then you should have already planned the location of your set-up.  Let’s begin.

Essential Scrape Building Tools:


Because scent control is my highest priority when creating a scrape I rely on the following list to help eliminate as much human scent as possible from an area already being used exclusively by the whitetail’s nose. Whenever possible, utilize the natural scent masking abilities of the rain and wet weather. While I don’t believe anyone can beat a whitetail’s nose all the time, you can fool it some of the time.

-Box of latex gloves.
-Rubber boots.
-A scent eliminating field spray.
-Scrape dripper.
-Small gardening hand rake.
-Trailcamera.
-Scrape scent.

Creating Your Mock Scrape:

Most of my mock scrapes are what I would refer to as community scrapes. They concentrate heavily on the building of long-term relations between the local deer in general. I am not a deer expert, but what I am saying is they are my attempt to make as many deer attracted to the area of the scrape as possible, thus bringing in as much of the community as achievable. This way when a buck is moving through the area, whether he’s a local or not, he should hopefully take notice of the scrape due to the already high frequency of visits by other deer to that location. To do this, I rely heavily on the licking branches. They are the key to a successful community mock scrape.

Adult does are typically the first to begin working many of my scrapes over-hanging branches when I begin these community scrapes in late summer.

I spray the overhanging branches of all my scrapes about once every seven to twelve days, beginning six to eight weeks before the season opens. The idea here is to get the local adult does interested in the scrape. Although beginning a scrape this early is not always possible due to time constraints, it’s what I try to do from the very start.

I do not even begin to work the actual scrape itself until sometime in late September or very early October. It’s at this time I believe that many of the surrounding area bucks begin to branch out - settling into smaller autumn core areas which are often nearer doe groups as they await the first signs of does coming into estrus. This is also the timeframe when testosterone levels are soaring, causing once-friendly bachelor groups to break out into conflict, resulting in a greater frequency of rubs and scrapes that literally seem to appear overnight.

When I do begin to paw out the dirt for my scrape, I use an old gardening rake that fits right in the palm of my hand. I typically spray the rakes with the synthetic formula made by Tink’s Power Scrape and begin to rake two or three small diameter semi-circles within inches or feet of each other. It’s important that each one of these scrapes is directly below the licking branch or branches.

Using a small gardening rake I begin to start the actual scrape just after I believe the majority of bucks to be out of velvet.

Because two of my three scrapes cannot be accessed from a water source (something I discussed in my last blog “Hunting Deer Scrapes Part 1 – The planning of a Mock Scrape”) I am using for the first time ever the NEW Tink’s Scrape Bomb Scrape Dripper. This Scrape Dripper is designed to respond to temperature and barometric pressure so it only releases scent during daylight hours. It’s also supposed to work very efficiently, sometimes lasting two to three weeks between visits, which allows the hunter to set out multiple mock scrapes without excessive visiting maintenance. This is important when trying to manipulate deer movement. Nothing will lessen your mock scrape’s success more than too much human scent at the actual site of the scrape.

As part of a suggestion from another hunter I look to for advice on all things scrape related, this season I am implementing the use of a scrape dripper like the one showed above made by the good peaople at Tink's.

I am placing the Tink’s Scrape Drippers just high enough for a man to reach and hopefully too high for a deer. I’m doing this for two reasons. The first and foremost is scent. The dripping bottle will get the brunt of my scent each time I refresh the dripper even while wearing latex gloves; keeping it at eight or nine feet only lessens the chance the deer’s nose will ever get close enough to really examine it. The second reason is the higher container will hopefully let the scent from the dripper reach further distances if a nomadic buck looking for love wanders through some time during the season. While it’s a long shot I know, I believe in always stacking the odds in my favor as much as possible. If nothing else, a higher dripper placed above the licking branches will eventually also drip on those limbs, thus creating the further effect of a whitetail hitting both the branches and the scrape on a regular basis.

Justin showing us just how high I am placing the scrape dripper, and noticeably directly above the licking branches.

Choosing a Scent:

The scent you choose for your scrape should be decided by the season’s timing. It would make no sense to begin dashing in doe estrus urine in August just as it would make no sense using dominant buck urine in January. Utilize common sense. Most every manufacturer lists the best times to use their product throughout the year. I choose the Tink’s products on the actual scrape itself because they are simple, easy to purchase and use, and effective.

For the licking branches I have tried several different manufacturers over the years and not generally noticed all that much of a difference between specific brands. I will let you know as I do when a specific manufacturer produces a specific licking branch (forehead gland) scent that I believe is a must-have for any mock scrape hunter. I will be testing between two different brands again this season.

Setting up a Trailcamera:

I am always weary when setting a trailcamera on a scrape of any kind unless it’s on an open field I know won’t be visited except at night. The reason being, trailcameras just add too much scent and commotion to an area, bringing too much attention to the hunter. I typically place them on a trail leading into the scrape rather than over the scrape itself, but if you must, make sure the utmost scent control is followed, don’t check your camera as often, and spray down even when using gloves. There is no sense going to all this trouble if all you’re going to do is let the deer know you’re there.

Stay tuned for Part 3 of my Mock Scrape blog when I will be dissecting the trailcam pictures, or lack thereof, from each of my scrape set-ups. Hopefully explaining what I believe to be the reasons they did or did not have success. Who knows, with the season just days away, I may even have a buck down before then. Wish me luck!

Bowhunting Get Together a Huge Success

by Justin Zarr 24. June 2011 05:51
Justin Zarr

Building on the tradition of the past 2 years, the staff here at Bowhunting.com was extremely excited about our 3rd annual Get Together. Much like deer camp, this event has become an annual tradition that we all look forward to. Each year we dedicate quite a bit of our time and energy to making the event bigger and better than the year before and this was no exception.

As you may have read on Cody Altizer's blog, the event started for us on Friday June 10th with our Hunting Network staff meeting. Seeing as though many of our team members are located all over the country this is a great opportunity for everyone to get together and go over a few of the finer points that help make Bowhunting.com the finest bow hunting website in the world. We were also fortunate enough to have several of our Sponsors pay us a visit to inform everyone about their companies and their products.

The following day, June 11th, the official Get Together was held at Coon Creek Hunt Club in Garden Prairie, IL. This even is open to anyone who wants to come out and enjoy a day of good old fashioned fun. Which means if you haven't been to an event yet, you better be there next year!

We started the day off with getting everyone signed up and assigned to a team, then it was time to start shooting. As always we had numerous shooting events set up for everyone to participate in.


A group of shooters getting signed up the the day's events.


Yours truly giving some basic safety instructions before beginning the shoot.


The gang from Pine Ridge Archery making their way out to the course.

Thanks to our friends at Rinehart Targets, our 3-D course was better than ever! We had a dozen new archery targets that were in tip-top shape which made both scoring and arrow removal inifinitely better than in previous years. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of shooting a course with Rinehart targets I highly recommend you do so as soon as possible. Having shot at just about every 3-D target on the market I can unquestionably say these targets are the best. In fact, we threw awal all of our non-Rinehart targets simply because they had fallen apart to the point they were unusable.


And you thought a wounded bear was dangerous?  Here Steve Flores finds out what happens when you don't put a Velociraptor down on the first shot!


A great shot of an arrow in flight, courtesy of Jason McKee.


Clinton Fawcett taking aim with his Z7 Xtreme Tactical on the practice range.


Jared Schlipf from Lone Wolf Treestands showing off his perfect shot on the elk from 60 yards.  Luck, or is he just that good?


A group of shooters tallying up their scores after shooting at the 30 point buck.

When all of the scores were tallied up it was 1st time attendee Tony Platt who went home with the 1st place trophy. Pro Staff members Dean Krueger and Dustin DeCroo came in 2nd and 3rd place respectibly.

Our long distance shoot for this year was set at roughly 70 yards, which made it pretty challenging for a lot of our shooters. Personally speaking I only have pins out to 50 yards for my bowhunting needs so it was an "aim high and pray" moment! Although my long range skills weren't very impressive, some of our shooters were remarkably accurate. In the end it was none other than Jared Schlipf, President of Lone Wolf Treestands, who went home with the RhinoBlock target for this long range accuracy. Nice shooting Jared!


John Mueller taking aim at the Rinehart RhinoBlock.  How far is that again?


Jared showing us how long distance shooting should be done.

In the Iron Buck Challenge we had quite the competition this year. In the end, after some fancy one-foot shooting and quite a few busted arrows it was Forum member Steve Renner (Dawg007) who went home with the $100 cash prize. Congrats Steve!


"Rusty" certainly claimed his fair share of arrows over the course of his two days spent in Illinois.


Todd with the lucky winner of the Iron Buck Challenge.

We also had the 5 target pop-up 3D Challenge back again as well. Although Dustin and I both turned in scores of 56 out of 60 on multiple occassions, it was the shoot operator Mark Wagner who turned in a perfect score of 60/60 to take top honors. I'm calling an unfair home-field advantage on this one, but it was good shooting regardless!

The big winner of the day was long-time Bowhunting.com friend, supporter and target-builder Dan Richardson (aka bloodcrik) who went home with a brand new Mathews z7 Xtreme. Congrats to Dan, he definitely deserved it! Dan already has his new bow set up and shooting great - check out his Forum post here.

Our friends at Lone Wolf donated a new Alpha Hang-On II treestand to our raffle, which was won by our friend Ryan Culvey. I know he's extremely excited to get that stand hung before October rolls around. I have to admit that I'm a little jealous of Ryan. Even I don't have a new Lone Wolf stand yet!

A big extended THANK YOU goes to all of our Sponsors who attended the event and donated prizes for the raffle! That includes Mathews, Lone Wolf, New Archery Products, Tink's, Monster Raxx, Pine Ridge Archery, Rinehart Targets and Rut Junkie Apparel.

All in all, the day was a huge success with over 90 of our best bowhunting friends in attendance. Everyone had a great day of shooting, hanging out with good friends, and enjoying the great outdoors. We can't thank you all enough for coming out and we're hoping to see you all again next year!

 
We'll be ready for next year.  Will you?

 

2011 Hunting Network Sponsor's Meeting

by Cody Altizer 10. June 2011 17:07
Cody Altizer

It’s the eve of the 3rd Annual Bowhunting.com Get Together and Fun Shoot, and the Bowhunting.com team wasted little time in kicking off the festivities.  We started what is sure to be a fun weekend with a meeting with 5 of our finest sponsors, Lone Wolf Portable Treestands, New Archery Products, Pine Ridge Archery, Monster Raxx and Tink’s .  We spent a great afternoon reviewing some of the great new products our sponsors have brought to the market for 2011, while catching up with our fellow teammates and telling lies over a delicious dinner.  
Terry Rohm from Tink's started the meeting off by discussing the power of their new attraction lure, Magnetics Buck Attractant.  This synthetic blend was formulated to play on a buck's seasonal senses and exploit his weaknesses.  This product is sure to help a lot of hunters dupe old, mature bucks this fall.  

Terry Rohm of Tink's got the meeting started off by discussing the attractiveness of their new buck lure, Magnetics.  

Jason McKee of New Archery Products (NAP) was up next and he introduced the new Apache bow sling.  Like the other Apache products from NAP, the Apache bow sling is quiet, lightweight and aids in hunter effeciency.  

Jason McKee from NAP going over the features of the new Apache Bow Sling.  

Tom Lester then took the stage to highlight the benefits your deer herd can gain from feeding them Monster Raxx deer minerals.  

Tom Lester going over the benefits of Monster Raxx deer minerals.  

Jim Broberg from Pine Ridge Archery then took the time to highlight the many deer hunting accessories provided by Pine Ridge Archery that make hunters more successful in the field. 

Jim Broberg from Pine Ridge Archery discussing some Pine Ridge Archery accessories that promise to make you a better hunter.

Jared Schlipf rounded out the meeting by highlighting the new features on the Lone Wold Assault II from Lone Wolf Portable Treestands.  The Assault II is proudly made in the USA and sports all of the same lightweight, stealthy construction that hunters have come to expect from Lone Wolf.  

Jared Schlipf talking over the new Assault II from Lone Wolf Portable Treestands.

Tink's NEW Scrape Bomb and Scrape Dripper.

by Bow Staff 11. February 2011 13:25
Bow Staff

Mock Scrape enthusiasts may just want to take a closer look at what the good people at Tinks have recently developed and released. Think of it as a more economical way to draw those BIG bucks to your stand.

Keep your scrape fresh and active with Tink's battery-free Scrape Bomb™ Scrape Dripper. The Scrape Bomb works with the changes in temperature and barometric pressure, which cause it to drip only during the daylight hours. This scheduling conditions bucks to visit the scrape during the day making them easier to pattern and eventually harvest.

The Scrape Bomb lasts four to five days dropping just the right amount of buck lure so none goes to waste making it economical as well as effective. Use the Scrape Dripper over natural or mock scrapes to condition deer to frequently return to your stand location.

The Scrape Dripper is available in a Power Scrape combo or a two pack, so you can set up a number of mock scrapes at one time. To see our full line-up of Tink's products just click here!

Categories: Current News

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!

www.twitter.com/bowhunting1
www.facebook.com/bowhunting

Tink's Products Increases Archery Success

by Bow Staff 6. October 2010 09:18
Bow Staff

 When it comes to trusted and recognized names in the hunting industry, few can compete with Tink's reputation of quality products.  With over 40 years experience, Tink's remains the American hunter's choice for hunting scents and lures.  Tink's #69 Doe-in-Rut® Buck Lure is a legend among hunters and Tink's continually strives for new and innovative ideas.  Tink's Power Scrape mock scrape starter is the perfect way to condition bucks to your stand locations by capitalizing on a buck's territorial aggression. In 2010, they launched the Vanish Odor Elimination System, a series of scent eliminator products utilizing proven scientific technology designed to kill odors on contact and prevent them from reforming. Also new in 2010, the Miss November Inflatable Deer Decoy delivers life like realism with lightweight, packable convenience. Tink's products are developed by hunters for hunters, and help improve skills for greater success.  Click here to view or purchase any of our Tink's products on bowhunting.com.

Tink's introduced their first ever line of odor eliminating products for 2010.  Complete with field spray, hair and body wash and laundry detergent.  This line of products has everything you need to vanish from the whitetail's senses. 

Tink's Power Scrape is the ideal scent to condition mature bucks to your stand.  Capitalize on a mature buck's rising testosterone levels in early fall by creating a sense of intrusion in his home range with Power Scrape.

Also, new for 2010 from Tink's is Miss November.  An inflatable doe decoy sure to bring those monster bucks during the rut.  It inflates quickly and silently in the field making it easy to transport from location to location. 

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