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Humbling Beginning to My 2011 Bowhunting Season

by Cody Altizer 5. October 2011 07:17
Cody Altizer

It’s no secret that bowhunting teaches ones many lessons and can provide a hunter with as many emotions over the course of the season.  Obviously, before the season begins we are about to explode with excitement and anticipation about the season that lies ahead, and can’t wait to get up a tree.  This year was no different for me, however; I was quickly brought back down to earth after self-inflicted difficult first hunt.  If bowhunting hasn’t taught you about humility, allow the recollection of my opening weekend to be a brief introduction.

Bright red blood with bubbles staind the forest floor in Virginia early Saturday morning, but no deer were recovered.  I have only one choice now, learn from my mistakes and keep moving forward!

I had predicted that I would shoot a deer on opening day in my blog back during the spring due the success of my food plots.  When opening morning rolled around, I was as confident as ever that I would accomplish that goal.  My food plots were booming with as many as 15-20 deer feeding in them regularly each and every afternoon.  With temperatures in the upper 30s opening morning, I elected to go to my best stand site with the hopes of arrowing at least a mature doe.  I had turnips to my west, clover and oats to my Northwest, and acorns due north; I was downwind of all of it.  I had a good feeling.

My Mathews Z7 Xtreme waiting patiently...

I welcomed the early season tranquility like a long lost friend, and patiently waited for the deer to wander past my stand on their way to bed down for the day.  Around 8:00 I had two mature does and their little ones meander their way toward my stand before a deer about 100 yards to my North began to blow nervously before finally trotting off.  Even with my scent control regimen in full force, the deer must have crossed my entrance path and picked up my scent.  The two does and fawns trusted their sister’s warning blows and casually began feeding in the opposite direction.  No worries I thought, the morning is still young.  About 8:30 I happened to look directly behind me in the forest opening and saw two fawns chasing one another back and forth about 40 yards away, playing and enjoying the warm sunlight.  I looked even closer and there was their mother 20 yards downwind of me and closing quickly.  I grabbed my Mathews, but thought for sure she would wind before I could get a shot.  My Scent Blocker suit performed admirably in the situation, as she continued on.  In less than 30 seconds from the time I first saw her, she was underneath my stand and walking away on a mission.  I waited until she got 15 yards (I hope I never shoot straight down on a deer) from my stand, stopper her, and released my arrow.  She mule kicked and tore down into the steep creek bottom below me out of sight.  “Yes!” I thought to myself.  Mission accomplished; doe down on opening day.  The thick foliage kept me from watching her too far from the point of impact, but I was confident she was down close.  Then, my excitement turned to worry.  I glassed down to look at my arrow and saw no blood on it.  This made me nervous.  I waited a half hour, got down, retrieved my arrow and found only muscle on the arrow.  I immediately backed out, texted some friends, and decided to give her a couple of hours.  I had hit her forward, but was still confident I would find her.

There are few things better in this world than a Mathews bow and the beautiful fall colors!

After waiting a couple hours, I dressed down, grabbed my bow and camera and headed out to pick up the trail.  I found blood about 20 yards from the POI and it became easier and easier to follow as I headed down the steep ridge I was hunting.  My hope strengthened when I found bubbles complimenting the bright red blood trail.  “She can’t be far,” I thought.  The blood trail weakened as she started making her way up the steep ridge adjacent to my stand, but it was still consistent enough for me to follow without much difficulty.  I took my time; meticulously following the blood trail and marking my trail so I could better figure out which way she was headed and how badly she may have been hit.  I followed the trail some 500 yards over the course of 3 hours before it abruptly ended.  It wasn’t a great blood trail, but I could follow it easily enough and its consistency led me to believe me she may bleed out soon.  Each time I crested a knoll or entered some fallen trees, I thought for sure I would find her, but no luck.

Opening weekend wasn't a TOTAL bust, as I got a picture of this buck on my Stealth Cam.  This buck is the biggest buck that I have ever gotten on trail camera on my property, and would be the biggest buck ever harvested if I, my brother or dad can harvest him.

I decided to back out again and wait for my dad to get home, 2 hours later, and we would pick up the trail together.  Sure enough, roughly 200 yards from where I lost blood, my dad picked up the trail.  Again, decent blood with bubbles (they had dried by this point).  After I lost blood earlier, I wasn’t confident we would find her.  But she was bleeding badly enough and heading straight down into the steepest creek bottoms Millboro, Virginia, has to offer.  My dad and I followed the blood another 100 yards through the creek bottom, confident we would look up and find her dead trying to get out of the steep ridges.  Again, no such luck.  As we pressed on I told dad, “If she’s going to die, she’ll die in these bottoms.  Trying to get up and out of here would be enough to kill her.”  It didn’t.  We lost blood and scoured the ridge tops and bottoms looking for a dead deer another 2 hours, but we never found her.  I can only hope she made it out alive, but I am afraid that’s just wishful thinking.

Daytime photos of shooter bucks are always exciting!

Very rarely do plans come together as perfectly as they did opening morning on my hunting property, and it truly sickens me that I made a bad shot on the deer.  She came in quickly and I rushed the shot, no excuses.  However, given the opportunity, I would likely handle the situation the same.  In fact, in 2009 I harvested a doe in the exact same scenario from the exact same stand at the exact same spot I shot this doe.  She came in quickly; I grabbed my bow, stopped her at 14 yards and put an arrow through both lungs.  She died within 50 yards.  Bowhunting is a game of inches and I missed my spot by just inches.  

I now have two photos of the same buck (pictured above), at two very different locations.  I now have a general idea of where he is spending his time and luckily, I can hunt travel routes that he'll likely use once the rut approaches.

I am sure that a blog dedicated to the wounding of a deer and not recovering it is about as unexciting and buzz killing as it can get for a deer hunter this time of year, but I felt the need to tell the story, because it is real.  Refusing to do so would be unfair to you, the reader, who will follow my blog throughout the fall.  I feel it would also be criminally disrespectful to the deer and nature to neglect sharing my unfortunate experiences due to pride or arrogance.  When it comes to hunting whitetails, I want to be held accountable and responsible for all the decisions and experiences I have in the woods.

Losing a deer is tough, but it’s real, and I must move on.  Fortunately, there is a lot of season ahead of me and I have a lot to look forward to.  My trail cameras captured photos of two different bucks that I will spend a lot of time trying to kill this fall.  What’s even more encouraging is that the bucks in the photos were feeding in my clover food plot, close to a handful of my stands.  Granted, the photos were at night, but it’s still early and those bucks are getting more and more restless by the day.  I encourage you to follow my blog throughout the season to see how my fall progresses.  Sure, I hit a small bump in the road early on, but I plan on making this a season to remember, so you’ll want to keep checking back for more updates!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

ATA Manufacturers Turning Their Attention to Women

by John Mueller 8. January 2011 13:30
John Mueller

One trend that I defanitely noticed at this years ATA Show was all of the products aimed at the women hunters. Everything from two booths of clothing designed exclusively for women to all of the pink accents for bows and other products. Women have made it known that they are tired of having to make due with wearing oversized mens hunting clothes. And it appears the manufacturing industry has heard them. I'll give a quick rundown of some of the highlights here and get more specific in later blogs.

Prois has a complete line up of womens hunting apparel. From camaflauge to stylish shooters jackets. I was told these are the clothes Sarah Palin is wearing on her TV show Sarah Palins Alaska on TLC.

Scent Blocker now has a complete line of womens hunting clothes including insulating under layers designed to fit women.

And now as modeled by the Scent  Blocker Girls wearing their stylish Bowhunting.com Badge Holders. 

Realtree has an extensive line of womens casual clothing and shoes in their RealtreeGirl (RG) line up.

 

A clever play on words.

 

Buckwear has a number of T-Shirt designs for women also.

Alpine has added the Blush bow to their stable.

 

30.06 Gear has a number of accessories designed with the women in mind.

 

Hunter Safety Systems has a new model of safety vest accented to suit women.

Haley Vines has hunting clothing as well as accessories made to suit a womans taste.

Strother Bows has the sexy Allure bow in black dressed up with pink accents.

And of course we have the pink Crush bag target from Morrell in honor of Miss Tiffany Lakowski

So all you ladies out there, your day has come. At least as far as the ATA is concerned. This is the most products designed specifically for women I have seen at an ATA Show. I also noticed a lot more women working in the booths as well walking the isles of the show checking out the new products.

ScentBlocker Dream Season Wooly Mammoth Boot. Forget the Cold, Just Hunt!

by Bow Staff 25. July 2010 16:33
Bow Staff

ScentBlocker Dream Season Wooly Mammoth. Forget the Cold, Just Hunt!

CANNON FALLS, MN - Since the inception of ScentBlocker boots, ScentBlocker has provided hunters with the most comfortable, lightweight boots available while still utilizing scent-control technology. Well, ScentBlocker® has done it again with the NEW Dream Season® Wooly Mammoth.
 
This extreme boot is great for those late season hunts when the temperatures are below what anyone can sit in comfortably.  With 13mm of thick removable wool liner insulation and heat reflecting film, these boots are sure to keep your feet warm. The Wooly Mammoth is the first scent-control hunting pac boot combining the most innovative scent-control materials available with trusted, removable wool liner insulation technology. 
 
The boot is constructed with a rubberized camo fabric upper frame, S3® antimicrobial lining and a carbon fabric filter that work in harmony to limit odors. A quiet, nylon lace system secures your foot to limit heel lift.  A removable, cork-infused EVA comfort insole reduces shock and provides an additional insulation layer under your foot. The construction of this boot provides hunters with comforting warmth and protection from extreme frigid temperatures, all in an extremely lightweight package.     
 
ScentBlocker Dream Season Wooly Mammoth will be available this summer. Please visit their website for more information. 


 
New Dream Season Wooly Mammoth Extreme Pac Boot:
  
• Removable SPF 60 activated carbon fabric filter with BodyLock technology gaiter
• Gaiter features durable Nylon Webbing CamLock Closure & External Big EZ Nylon Pull on Loops
• Removable 13mm wool liner with heat reflection technology
• Removable cork-infused EVA insole provides shock mitigating layer
• 100% waterproof membrane construction
• 2-layer camo fabric, lightweight EVA cushioned midsole
• Camo rubber outsole with dual density Rock Shock Stabilizer Lugs for multi-terrain traction
• Reinforced rubber toe and heel
• Climb right heel design
• Sizes: Men's 8-13 Whole Sizes
• Color: Mossy Oak Treestand
 
SCENTBLOCKER.........CLOSE ENOUGH TO KILL.

 

ATA Show Day 1 Impressions

by Justin Zarr 8. January 2009 15:30
Justin Zarr

The first day of the 2009 ATA show once again brought a lot of anticipation to see what new products would be hitting the market for this year.  The entire Bowhunting.com staff is here in attendance, checking in on the latest gear and bringing you the most up to date info on what's happening in the archery world.

One of the first products that caught my eye is the Universal Bow Rope Holder from Pine Ridge Archery.  As simple as this product is, I personally think it's a great it.  Basically, the holder screws onto your treestand, either a lock-on or a climber, and includes a hoist rope that can be used to pull up your bow, pack, or other gear you may have in th field with you.  As someone who hangs and hunts from quite a few treestands during the season I think this is a great product.  I fully intend on putting one of these on every stand I have, just to make sure I always have a bow rope handy when I need one.  There's nothing worse, or more unsafe, than trying to climb up into your stand with your bow in your hand.

The new Fusion vane from Norway Industries also caught my eye today.  One of the hottest new products of this year's show, this vane features a stiff, durable material in a shield cut vane for optimal broadhead flight, fused with a softer, more pliable base for better adhesion to your shafts and more flexibility in case your fletchings do contact anything on the way towards your target.  I picked up a sample of these vanes and plan on fletching up a few arrows next week in preparation for our indoor shooting leagues which start soon.

I forgot to snap photos at the Duravanes booth, but did find this video on YouTube the other day.  It gives a pretty good explanation of what these vanes are all about. 

 

Another cool product Todd and I saw was the Timber Tread.  Essentially, this rugged step slips over and attaches to your screw-in treestep to offer a larger and more stable platform when climbing and/or decending your tree.  This step accessory helps grip your boot sole more securely and prevent slipping in wet or cold weather.  The Timber Tread is 3.5 inches wide and 4.5 inches long and works great for both lock-on type stands as well as tree saddles.

New for 2009, Lone Wolf now offers a wider version of their popular Sit & Climb stand, which is 3 inches wider than the standard version.  This larger version is more accomodating for larger hunters, or for those cold weather hunts when you've got a few extra inches of clothing on.

New Archery Products released several new broadheads this year, one of which is the Bloodrunner.  This rearward-opening expandable broadhead features a 1" cutting diameter when in flight, and opens to a full 1.5" cutting diameter on impact without losing any kinetic energy or penetrating power.  This looks like a super durable head that can withstand just about anything, and will penetrate extremely well.  I'm personally looking forward to testing them out soon!

Muddy Outdoors has released a new set of climbing sticks that feature a buckle-less fastening system that is completely silent both in transport and when attaching to your tree.  Simply slide the climbing-grade rope into the cam locks, pull it tight, and tie it off and you're up your tree in seconds.  These new climbing sticks also feature dual steps that work in tandem to support your weight while climbing, and offer a greater range of flexibility when climbing those crooked trees, or ones with a lot of limbs.  The new climbing sticks also pack down tightly and attach to the Muddy Outdoors treestands for lightweight, easy transportation.

New from Scent Blocker for this year is the Bone Collector line of apparel and boots.  Based around the new TV show of the same name staring noted personality Michael Waddel, the Freak Nasty Jacket features both activated carbon and S3 technology to eliminate and prevent odors, along with a neat silent wrist fastening system for securing the cuffs.  Thank you for not using velcro!!!  The jacket also has 6 roomy front pockets, 2 rear pockets, and accepts a fleece zip-in vest for colder days.  This is a great looking jacket that I'm eager to test out come next fall.

 

To wrap up Day 1, the Huntmore 360* stool is finally ready for production and will be available in stores shortly.  This compact stool weighs a mere 9 pounds, folds down quickly and quietly and stores in the included bag, and is perfect for ground blind hunting.  The feet have been enlarged for this year to make it more stable even on wet ground, and the patented cast aluminum hub system makes this stool extremely strong and deadly quiet.  When it comes to hunting out of a ground blind, or from the ground in general, there is no better stool than the Huntmore 360.  As soon as they're available to the public, you can bet I'll have one!

I'll make sure to update the site tomorrow night with more products and I learn about them, so check back tomorrow night!  




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