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Big Buck Killed by Coyotes, Check Out These Photos!

by Todd Graf 13. December 2011 05:52
Todd Graf

These photos show us the gruesome truth that sometimes goes forgotten in the wild.  Many of us spend lots of time and money managing our property for deer by planting food plots, creating bedding areas, etc., but how many of us spend time managing the predators on our grounds?  Research shows that coyote populations can only be marginally controlled for short periods of time, as litter sizes and the number of females that enter heat increase as the population declines.  What are your thoughts on predators and predator control?

We are unsure as to the origin of these photos, but what we see is fairly clear.  At least two coyotes attack and kill this big buck.  Granted, we don't know if he was sick or injured (he appears healthy in the photos) but one thing is for sure, he lost his life to coyotes!  If you need a little help managing your predator population, check out the predator calls in the store by clicking HERE!!!


Are Morning Hunts More Harm than Good?

by Josh Fletcher 6. October 2011 11:05
Josh Fletcher

Every summer I’m asked if I am going to be hunting in the mornings of opening weekend of the Wisconsin archery season. I am never able to give a definitive answer because often I’m asking myself this same question. For clarification when we are talking about the early season we are talking about middle of September to the middle of October before the rut begins.
The reason that hunters ponder this question is that some believe that they are doing more harm than good to their hunting area by walking into their favorite spots in the morning during the early season. The theory is that by walking in to your stands in the morning you run a high risk of bumping deer that are still on their feet quickly feeding before they head back to bed at first light.

I just can't sleep knowing i'm missing the sun rise during the hunting season


My personal opinion is that the answer to this question depends on your particular piece of property. The property which I hunt here in central Wisconsin consists of marsh grass with willows, small oak and jack pine wood lots, and medium sized agricultural fields. I believe that I am causing more harm than good hunting the mornings on my properties because deer are found to be scattered throughout the property, as the majority of the deer are either on the agricultural fields or staging in the wood lots. It is very difficult to slip into a morning set when deer can spot me from out in the fields or I am bumping them in the wood lots traveling to my stands.

From prior years of hunting and post season scouting, I have learned that the majority of the deer that utilize my property bed back into the marsh grass. Also from game camera pictures, most of the mature bucks, three years old or older, are already traveling back to bed several hours before day light.

 By having prior knowledge of deer preferred bedding locations, I prefer to wait until the evening hunt, knowing that majority of the deer on the property are bedded down during the afternoon hours, I can now slip into my stands and use the wind in my favor.  Basically the deer are confined to one or two locations in the afternoon versus in the morning at first light they can be spread throughout the property from the fields, wood lots, to the marsh grass. Hunting in the evenings you run a less of a risk of bumping deer than you would in the morning if your property is similar.

Do you have more trail camera pictures in the morning or evening?

I will be the first to admit that even though I am afraid of bumping deer in the morning, I still hunt in the morning. Several reasons, the first being that you are limited to the amount of time you can hunt each year, and I’m going to try and hunt as much as I possibly can. The second reason is that I just can’t sleep in knowing that it is hunting season. Yes, I may be causing more harm than good to my hunting properties and strategically it may be better to wait until the evening to slip into my stands, however hunting is about fun and providing food for my family, and I will always keep it that way. After all we started hunting because we enjoy it and want to be out in the woods, watch the sun rise and hear the birds sing. Whether I am really doing more harm than good to my hunting area I may never know, but in the end it’s not always about shooting the biggest buck or even harvesting a deer, it’s about personal enjoyment of being in the woods.

These are my thoughts and my opinions on hunting in the mornings during the early season before the rut begins. I’m no expert on this topic and will never claim to be, so I am looking for your input. What do you think? Is hunting in the mornings doing more harm than good? Have you had any success hunting the early season in the mornings? If so what tactics did you use? Please let myself and the other readers know by leaving comments at the bottom of this blog, in the forums, or log on to our face book page and let us know what you think.

Gamehide Elimi Tick Clothing Review

by Cody Altizer 22. August 2011 05:10
Cody Altizer

As many serious bowhunters know, bowhunting for whitetails isn’t a sport that one can be consistently successful at by simply walking into the woods each fall and hoping for the best.  It takes a lot of time, effort and hard work.  This means spending time year round in the woods shed hunting, scouting, monitoring trail cameras, planting food plots and doing anything possible to gain an edge on a mature whitetail.  To do that, you need gear designed for the hunter who spends their entire year- in all weather conditions- in the field.  Enter the Elimi Tick Series of clothing by Gamehide Gear.

Hanging trail cameras along over grown field edges is a great place to intercept a traveling buck, but also pick up nasty ticks!  Fortunately, I didn't pick up and ticks, but did I catch any bucks on trail camera?  Only time will tell.

The entire Elimi Tick line of clothing is insect and tick repellent, making it a useful piece of gear during the late spring all the way into fall, or whenever ticks or other troublesome insects are a problem in your part of the country.  This comfortable and durable line of clothing is great for any project or adventure you may have planned in the woods that may lead you to cross paths with pesky insects.  Personally, I am a huge fan of the Five Pocket Pants.  I had an opportunity to put them to the test this past week while doing some last minute projects on my property prepping for the upcoming bow season.  I spent two straight days hanging treestands and cutting shooting lanes along overgrown field edges and checking trail cameras in super thick bedding areas and at the end of the weekend, not a tick one found its way onto my body.   Needless to say, I was pleased.  Not a deer hunter?  This line of clothing is perfect for any naturalist, hiker, turkey hunter, or anyone who simply enjoys spending time outdoors.  It’s a versatile piece of clothing.

After hours of trimming shooting lanes, I still could not find a tick one on my body.  Pretty impressive!

Similar to scent control clothing, one could easily refute the effectiveness of insect and tick repelling clothing.  Maybe there were just no ticks in the areas I was working this past weekend?  It was awfully hot and dry; not your ideal tick weather.  Maybe it’s just a coincidence that I made it through hours of work and came away tick-less.  Fortunately, there is some science backing these quality made products.  All Elimi Tick clothing utilizes Insect Shield Repellent Technology that bonds a man made version of tick repellent (naturally found in chrysanthemum flowers) so tightly to the fabrics inner most fibers, that it’s nearly impossible for a tick to latch on to your clothing.  Couple that with the fact that the repellent in Elimi Tick clothing is odorless and invisible and it makes you wonder why you wouldn’t be wearing Elimi Tick garments when scouting or working on land projects.

The Elimi Tick line of clothing is perfect for deer hunters, yes, but also for anyone who likes to get out and casually enjoy the great outdoors.

With the prevalence of Lyme disease growing rapidly, it would be foolish to not at least give Elimi Tick a try.  If you are interested in learning more about Elimi Tick clothing and the many quality products for sale by Gamehide gear, check out their website.  I do, however, insist you give Elimi Tick clothing a try, you will not be disappointed. 


Food Plot Strategies and Food Plot Maintenance

by Cody Altizer 29. May 2011 10:31
Cody Altizer

In Episode 4 of Bowhunt or Die last fall, Justin Zarr made a bold prediction concerning the success of the remainder of his hunting season.  He said, with confidence and certainty, that he was going to kill a mature buck off his hunting property in Lake County, Illinois.  His trust in his skills and strategy was admirable and I immediately knew that he was going to put his tag on a mature buck.

With summer just weeks away, and my mind slowly, but comfortingly, thinking of cool fall days spent in the tree stand, I am going to make a fearless forecast myself.  I WILL shoot a mature whitetail on October 1st, the opening day of the Virginia archery season.  I haven’t felt this confident in an opening day set up ever, and I am sure I can put the pieces together this offseason to accomplish my goal.  Here’s how.

My Imperial Whitetail Clover food plot measure 17 inches before I cut it with the bush hog.  It was a beautiful sight and I felt good knowing that I had supplied a constant, nutritious food source for the deer. 

This quest for an opening day whitetail actually began last August, when I planted a clover and oat food plot.  The oats were planted for fall attraction, and they performed extremely well last hunting season.  However, I was more excited about how the clover would take off this spring and it did not disappoint.  A little spot seeding in late March proved to be beneficial because by mid-May, my food plot had turned into a lush green carpet of delicious, nutritious deer food.  Couple that with the steady rainfall we have been receiving in Virginia and the clover had grown to be 17 inches tall!  This was turning out to be the most successful food plot I had ever planted.

It was bittersweet mowing my clover food plot, but it had to be done.  This simple step will ensure the health and attractiveness of this food plot throughout the summer and into fall.

In order to ensure that deer continue feeding in my food plot throughout the summer months and into the hunting season, an important task must be completed regularly, mowing.  Mowing a food plot is a step that can drastically increase the overall health of the food plot while making it more attractive to deer at the same time.  As a food plot matures and continues to grow, it will actually lose its nutritional value and attractiveness when it gets to a certain age, or more appropriately, length.  I must admit, it was a bittersweet experience mowing my food plot.  The white blooms were so prevalent that it looked as if a mid-May snowfall had blanketed the food plot and walking in clover 17 inches tall made me feel like I was doing something right.   Nevertheless, the mowing had to be done.  

This shot illustrates just how well the clover was doing.  I used the lens hood off my 24-105mm Wide Angle lens for a size reference.  

This cutting will likely be the first of 4-5 cuttings I will make this summer, depending on rainfall.  Mowing the clover will help make sure the protein level remains, not peaks, at 20-25% throughout the summer, which is needed for the antler growing bucks, lactating does and young fawns on my property.  Keeping the clover young and tender not only keeps it at its most nutritional and digestible state, but also helps with weed control as well.  Cutting back the weeds will allow the quickly regenerating clover to choke out the weeds and unwanted grasses that do their best to take over my food plot.  I do not substitute mowing for regular spraying, however.  

After I finished mowing the clover, I took a quick minute to hang my CamTrakker so I could monitor what deer are utilizing my food plot right now.  I honestly do not expect a whole of activity right away.  Spring green up is in full swing in Virginia so there is plenty of tender, nutritious natural browse available for the deer in the woods.  In fact, I will actually be thrilled if the deer aren’t feeding heavily on the clover right now, because that tells me that I’ve done a good job in recent years controlling the doe population and supplementing natural browse.   

A strategically placed CamTrakker will let me know what caliber deer are feeding in my food plot and when.  

So there you have it, a hunting prediction made in late May.  You’re probably thinking, “He must be crazy, he can’t honestly believe he can make a guarantee that leaves so much to chance like hunting does!”  Well you’re right; I am crazy, but also confident.   If the conditions are right in Virginia on October 1st, then I should harvest a whitetail in the morning on its way to bed after feeding in the clover, or on its way for dinner in the afternoon.  A crazy prediction it is, but I bet you’ll be checking back in October to see if I was right.  

Armchair Whitetail Scouting

by Steve Flores 21. March 2011 13:16
Steve Flores

Flying under the whitetail radar, while effectively locating your next trophy from the comfort of your own home, is actually easier than it sounds using these three steps.

Record Books
They may not have the glitz and glamour compared to other methods used to uncover whitetail hotspots, but don’t kid yourself regarding their value.  If properly utilized, record books are the next best thing to someone actually telling you where the whitetail hotspots are located.  You see, most individuals are reluctant to reveal their exact whereabouts when they experience any type of consistent success; especially when hunting on public land, and without a doubt if the animal is of Pope and Young caliber.  However, upon entering their trophy into the record books, they must at least divulge the general area of the harvest.  And that is where this entire process begins. 

Another good source of information is your local taxidermist. They are witness to a large variety of bucks and usually know the exact details of the kill. (i.e. harvest data: time, date, location)

Searching through the most recent edition of P&Y records will ultimately tell you (among other things), where the best bucks is being taken.  Finding a hotspot is as easy as calculating the total number of entries for any given county within the state you are researching.  Obviously, when you find a county that is consistently producing a high number of record class bucks, then that is where you will most likely want to concentrate your efforts.

Topo Maps
When using the lay of the land as a guide for stand placement, whether you’re in an entirely new spot or on very familiar hunting ground, the first thing you need to do is realize there are 2 types of terrain features….Positive and Negative.  Both will influence deer movement.  Your job is to utilize the clues found on your topo map to determine which types your area holds and how the deer are going to respond to them.  Then, act accordingly.


Don’t dismiss the amount of information contained in a topo map. Take your time and study one of your area before actually walking in on foot to further investigate.

When looking at your map, try to find negative terrain features that funnel deer movement into a pinch point.  For example, a small drain possessing steep side-hills that eventually turn into gradual slopes near the top is an excellent illustration of how negative terrain can funnel and influence deer movement.  Ideally, any deer moving through the area will most likely cross near the top, where the slope is not as radical.  An actual observation of the land should reveal heavy trails at the top which will coincide with the “widely spaced” contour lines from your topo map. For the most part deer are lazy and will often take the path of least resistance; as long as it provides them with the safety needed to get from point A to point B. Use this behavior to your advantage when thinking about possible stand locations.

Positive terrain features on the other hand will include, but not limit themselves to: ridge-top saddles, shallow creek crossings, overgrown logging roads, bench flats, and/or gradually sloping hollows.  In the past, I have set up in saddles discovered using only a topo map and long range observation, and struck pay-dirt my first time in the stand; mainly due to a bucks tendency to use a low lying saddle when crossing over a ridge in order to prevent sky-lining himself. 

Scouting Cameras
You should already have a good idea about where you are going to hang your camera based on the info (lay of the land) gathered from your maps.  Within that chosen area, consider setting up your camera near recently discovered “pinch points”.  Ideally, you’ll want to be set up in high traffic areas; somewhere near bedding/feeding locations or along the transition routes in between. However, if you are unfamiliar with the locale, it may take a little more investigating to discover such places.


Scouting cameras are your eyes when you are not there. Set them up in the right locations and they can pay off in a big way.

  Not only can game cameras reveal travel patterns of target bucks known to frequent your area, they can also provide evidence of NEW bucks that have moved in for any number of reasons. 

While conducting your search, look for heavily used trails leading to pinch points that choke deer movement into a confined area; increasing the likelihood that you will capture useful images.  Remember though, that the overall goal is to remain under the whitetails radar, so try to conduct your camera hanging/scouting before the season starts.  Also, do your best to get the camera location right the first time in order to avoid disturbing the area any more than what is absolutely necessary.  If you have thoroughly studied your maps, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Finding a good location to hang your treestand will be much easier having followed these three tips......

and the rewards will be well worth it!

Locating your next trophy without tipping your hand can be difficult to say the least.  However, with a little more homework, and a lot less footwork, you can accomplish far more than you thought possible.  Remember to utilize the information found in record books and harvest reports to get you headed in the right direction.  Then, obtain a topographic map of the area and study it as if your life depended on it. Lastly, go in and hang a scouting camera based on positive and negative terrain features and see if your hunch was right.  My bet is you will be going back very soon to hang a stand. Good luck and God Bless!











Mapping Your Way To Hunting Success

by Josh Fletcher 18. March 2011 12:23
Josh Fletcher

Through my years of hunting I was always looking for a secret to consistently harvesting a trophy every fall. I have learned through time that one tactic to consistently filling your tag every year is by scouting and wearing some rubber off of your shoes.  It’s not easy, and it takes time, but it works.

We’ve all scouted in one way or the other, and we’ve scouted both public and private property.  What I’m going to cover in this article, is how to take all the information that you gain throughout the year and how to compile it into an easy to understand portfolio, so that when you step back and look at the particular property that you are hunting, potential stand locations with a high percentage of success will literally jump out at you. The items that you use to scout your property can be as high tech or as simple as you choose. What I will explain is not the only way to scout, but hopefully gives you some new ideas that you can use where you hunt.  I will discuss the use of GPS, aerial maps, topographical maps, game cameras, and mapping software. Again this tactic can be as simple as using a pencil and note pad or as high tech as I will discuss in this article.

By using a GPS, you can organize the information gained from scouting

The important thing is that hopefully you can gain some ideas to use where you hunt. I like to intimately scout the property I’m hunting several times a year. The reason behind this is that you want to know what the deer are doing on your property not only in the fall during hunting season, but also during the winter and other times of the year. Your intimate scouting should start right after the gun season is over. The reason is that here in Wisconsin, after the gun season there is snow on the ground and snow shows deer sign much better. This is an important time for you to scout because you want to learn where the deer go and hide under heavy hunting pressure. Often this time of year you will find a mature buck’s safety zone. This is where he beds and feels comfortable, and since the hunting season is over don't be afraid to bump him out of his bed. Also be looking for escape routes or heavy trails leading to thick cover that the deer are using to head to safety. Finding these trails will help you decide potential stand locations during the heavily hunted seasons such as gun hunting.

The next time I like to scout is during late winter, when much of the snow is starting to thaw and melt. Not only am I looking for antler sheds, this time of year, but I’m also seeing if deer are utilizing my property through the winter. If deer sign is at a minimal, I would then need to plan on possible wildlife management on the property to attract and keep deer in the area year round. Spring time is also a great time of year to be out scouting your property. I like scouting in the spring because with the leaves off, it resembles what your hunting locations will look like late in the fall. This is also the time of year that you should get your stands trimmed out and ready for the upcoming fall. By getting your stands ready now, you won’t have to be in disturbing the property come fall. Majority of these stands that I get ready in the spring are what I call “funnel stands”. These funnel stands are in locations that have high potential for deer movement through the fall. These stands are often located at wood edges, saddles and funnels. The stands that I utilize when I’m targeting a particular buck or have a buck pattern will be adjusted during the fall when that information is discovered.

The last time during the year you should be scouting is during early fall and throughout the hunting season. These scouting trips are not as in-depth, and don't be intrusive into bedding areas, however you should be making notes about what you see during the season and routes that deer are traveling.

By now I’m sure that you have basically caught on to the fact that I scout almost all year round. The main point I can make is that scouting and knowing your piece of property as thorough as the deer themselves do is the key to success, however one has to be smart about scouting and when you scout. You have to be careful not push the deer off of your property by too much human traffic. This is why I do my most in-depth scouting late fall, just after hunting season closes.

During my scouting trips I carry a GPS (global positioning system) with me. I also carry topographical and aerial maps (I will cover these later).  While I’m walking my property I section it off in a grid. By breaking it down and looking at one particular area at a time so I don’t miss any important sign. I mark every bed, rub, scrape and follow every trail I can find in that given section of the grid. If you don’t own a GPS you can make notes and approximate locations on your maps. I also plot on my GPS trail camera and tree stand locations, as well as carry a note pad to make any special notes about what I may have discovered.

Once I have the property thoroughly scouted and plotted, I head back to the comforts at home. Once back at home I use mapping software to organize all my data that I plotted. The particular software that I use is Topo USA by Delrome. However you can use any mapping software that you are familiar with and that you are able to transfer the data from your GPS to the actual map. (You can get these programs either at sporting goods stores or via internet.) I mark all my deer beds with one color, rubs another, and scrapes another. I also plot out all the deer trails that I followed with my GPS and transfer them to my computer. I like to keep the deer sign on one map and my hunting stand locations and game camera locations on another map. Again this is the high tech version, if you don’t have a GPS or mapping software you can mark this information down on maps that you may have, or even draw your own maps.

 Computer mapping software allows an easy to see map of your property showing high deer travel route

By compiling all this data into an easy to read map, deer travel routes, bedding areas, and feeding areas will literally stand out at you. When hunting farm country, I like to use aerial photos for my mapping back ground, because it shows willow patches, marsh grass, timber, and fields much better. When mapping large tracts of public land such as the big woods of northern Wisconsin, I like to use topographical map as my back ground because it allows me to see ridge lines, benches, saddles, and other terrain features.  If you have time on your hands you can log the data by using both aerial and topographical. Depending on your type of mapping software you can link pictures to particular waypoints that you marked by your GPS. This is particularly handy for organizing all your photos taken from different game cameras on the property and the locations that they were taken from. All these features of aerial photos, topographical maps, and compatibility with your GPS is dependent on your software, so be sure that you research a program before you buy it to make sure it will do what you need for your property.

Since we are on the topic of maps, don’t just look into your own property, study possible bedding, feeding, and watering locations on adjacent properties. Most people don’t own enough property to hold deer all year long without deer crossing the property line. So knowing what is on your neighbor’s property is just as important. (Please don’t trespass to gain this information.) By finding this information may just be the last piece of the puzzle needed to complete your property picture.

Game cameras are also very helpful tools to utilize to complete your whitetail portfolio. I don’t use game cameras as much to pattern deer, as I do to perform deer counts and what caliber of bucks that are on the property. I like to also observe what times of day are they traveling through that particular area.  I label each camera as 1, 2, 3 etc., and plot their locations on my map that contains cameras and stand locations.

I also use my mapping software to plot out future food plot and tree planting locations. By doing this, allows you to better understand and explain wildlife management plans with land owners and friends that would help you with the establishment of these plans.

Now that we have are hunting property plotted out its time to compile all this information into an easy to understand portfolio of your property. I print out all the maps that I compiled along with field notes and observations that I noted during the hunting season. I also plot out wind directions on my property. To do this, I walk around my property with wind checkers and make notes of how scent currents travel down particular draws, ridges, and bottoms for a given wind direction. For example you may have a west wind, however in a particular draw the wind may swirl causing your scent to blow to the north. (Again you can be as simple or as in-depth with your maps as you would like). Once I have all these maps printed off I compile them into a binder and label the binder for that year. This gives you a permanent record of your hunting property to look at and study through the years, and also it allows you to see the progress of your wildlife management over the years.

Easy to read colored plots showing locations for this spring food plot location based on scouting observations

By organizing all the data that you have learned from scouting trips on your hunting property allows organized and permanent records of deer habits and travel routes on your property. If you are like me I often forget what I ate for breakfast and I’m the type of person that I learn best by being able to see what is going on with the property that I am hunting. By establishing a portfolio of your property, potential stand locations will stand out like a beacon. The key to consistent success is spending your hunting season in high percentage stands. You can hunt all year in a low percentage stand and not fill your tag. After all, time is precious now days with our busy lives and by mapping out your hunting properties will allow you to narrow down stand locations, putting you in stands that yield a higher percent of success, giving you more bang for your buck.





Closure on a Whitetail Buck

by Steve Flores 6. February 2011 15:46
Steve Flores

I felt it on the very last play of my high school football career. I could feel it as I walked across the stage to receive my college degree. It was a sense that an important part of my life had ended, and a new chapter was about to begin. It was finality… was closure. Thankfully, I have been blessed to experience closure in many different areas of life. Closure is good. It adds conclusiveness to the situation at hand and allows us to move on with other areas of our life. However, it is like a thorn under our skin when we don’t have it. And that thorn, it seems, never goes away.

So what does all of this have to do with bowhunting? Well, a close friend recently brought closure to a story that began several months ago. Actually, it all started in the fall of 2006 when a scouting camera revealed that a very nice buck was occupying the area my friend was hunting in. However, four long years would pass before the two would meet on a cold November day in 2010.

On that fateful day, while others were gathering around the table to partake in Thanksgiving Day festivities, Mark was busy trying to stay warm in his favorite treestand. With plans made to celebrate the day after Thanksgiving, he opted to head to the timber for a chance at the one buck who had eluded him for so long. Although, after several hours in the lonely stand, bitter cold finally forced my friend to the ground in hopes that a little still-hunting might warm him up as well as offer a shooting opportunity at one of the resident bucks.

Walking along an abandoned logging road, Mark happened to catch a glimpse of movement just 20 yards above him on an adjacent flat that ran parallel to his position. After a closer look, he realized it was a doe. Pondering the situation, he decided to fill his freezer and balance the herd at the same time. Coming to full draw, Mark was about to release his arrow when again, something caught his eye.

Looking beyond the unaware doe, he quickly spotted a set of antlers. Situated further back on the flat than her, it was unclear just how good this buck was, but Mark knew it was a good one. Quickly letting down his bow, he waited for a better look at the buck that was shadowing his initial target.

When the bruiser finally did reveal itself, it was obvious he was a trophy. And so the chess match began. It wasn’t until my friend had stalked along with the rutting pair for a good 100 yards or so that a shot opportunity presented itself. And then….the unthinkable happened. Mark missed! Fearing the buck was about to bolt just as he came to full draw, the shot was rushed and his razor tipped arrow found nothing but dirt. Immediately the pair scampered away.

Discouraged, but determined not to give up, he quickly followed behind. It took a while, but my friend finally managed to work himself into position for a second shot! This time the range was a bit further, 40 yards or so. Upon releasing the bow string, Mark watched as his arrow struck the buck farther back behind the ribs than he would have preferred. To this day he is still unsure what went wrong. “The first time I missed him I just plain choked” he said. “But the second shot felt good from start to finish. I’m not really sure what caused that arrow to impact where it did”.

Nonetheless, he had just shot the biggest buck of his life and it wasn’t the best shot either. But, spirits were lifted after a short search revealed some good blood on the ground. Continuing to look for a brief time, Mark held hope that something good was going to happen. However, the rollercoaster that is bowhunting quickly threw a major decent into the ride as the heartbroken hunter bumped the trophy buck from his bed; watching him bound away for the last time.

Days passed by, Holidays came and left, friends joined in the search, but still there was no trace of Mark’s buck-of-a-lifetime. To make matters worse, it always seemed that when a spare moment was found during his busy workweek, snow was always on the ground; making recovery efforts even more difficult. Then, after weeks of horrible conditions, the weather finally broke, snow melted away, and the forest floor was revealed.

Quickly, Mark headed out to find his buck. Within 10 minutes of his search, there lying peacefully among a blanket of dead leaves and twigs, my friend found what he was looking for. He found his closure. Weeks of sleepless nights and days and days of “what ifs” had finally come to an end. Congratulations Mark on harvesting a tremendous, Southern WV buck. God knows you earned it.

Day 6 PlotWatcher Pro- NEW for 2011!

by Bow Staff 3. February 2011 01:58
Bow Staff

2011 Day 6 PlotWatcher Pro

The original Day 6 PlotWatcher time-lapse video camera was a game changer no doubt, but the new PlotWatcher Pro hits it out of the park. With four times the battery life and a 2.5" LCD for on-board camera set-up, video aiming and camera status messages, the PlotWatcher Pro will put you that much closer to getting that trophy buck you so desire.

The PlotWatcher Pro is not a traditional trail camera. In fact, traditional trail cameras with time-lapse features pail in comparison to the PlotWatcher Pro. There are three very important design criteria for a time-lapse camera -- long battery life, the ability to support tens or hundreds of thousands of images and good picture quality in low light conditions without a flash. This is because some of the most important scenery for a timelapse camera is happening right at dawn or dusk, out of reach of a flash.
Traditional trail cameras are optimized for large megapixel counts, continuous motion detection and energy-efficient flashes. The design choices to make a good quality trail camera are simply not the same design choices to make a high quality time-lapse camera such as the PlotWatcher Pro.

Like the original PlotWatcher, the PlotWatcher Pro uses time-lapse video technology to record high-definition images taking a picture every 5 or 10 seconds and saving these individual pictures as an HD video. So whether the animal is 30 feet away or 330 feet away, you'll see them on the video. Essentially, the PlotWatcher Pro records what you would have seen if you'd been scouting that same spot for all of that time.

In addition, the PlotWacher Pro accepts add-on zoom lenses, features temperature and moon-phase info on each image, uses an SD card storage, is security cable ready and saves video files in ½ of the memory space. It also features defined time-of-day for video start and stop.

The GameFinder video player software, free with the PlotWatcher Pro, gives you the ability to watch an entire 12-hour day's worth of video in just a few minutes.

To learn more about this new PlotWatcher Pro take a look for them on the web.


Categories: Current News

Bushnell Improves The Trophy Cam

by John Mueller 24. January 2011 14:22
John Mueller

For 2011 Bushnell has made some significant improvements to their already awesome Trophy Cam Trail Cameras. Black LEDs, video with sound, field scan mode, 32GB SD card capable, and zoom viewer are all new features added this year.

The list of features is impressive:

8 MP high quality full color resolution

Day/night auto sensor

External power compatible

Adjustable PIR (Low/Med./High)

1 second trigger speed

Programmable trigger interval-1 sec to 60 min.

Multi image mode: 1-3 images per trigger

Video Length: 1-60 seconds/programmable

Field Scan time lapse mode takes images at pre-set intervals, 1 min to 60 min.

Temp. Range -5*F to 140*F

PIR sensor is motion activated out to 45 ft.

Runs up to one year on one set of batteries.

Adjustable web strap and 1/4" x 20 threaded hole for mounting.

SD Card Slot

Runs on AA batteries

The most impressive new features as far as I am concerned is the added sound to the video and the Field Scan mode. I used mine in video mode at mock scrapes last fall and got some amazing video of bucks working the scrape as well as 2 sparring matches at the scrape. I would have loved to have had sound with some of those videos. And the field scan mode can tell you exactly when and where the deer enter your food plot and how they travel through it. The camera doesn't have to activated by movement. You simply set the camera to take a picture at intervals from 1 minute to 60 minutes. So you get the animals no matter how far they are from the camera.

Some other interesting new additions are the Black Leds. Virtually invisible to game as well as human passers by. This makes the new camera especially well suited for scrapes and feeders since there is no visible light to spook game. 32 GB SD cards can now be used to gather your video or still images. You can hold over 20,000 images on a single card. No more disturbing the area every week to pull cards. The built in image viewer now has added zoom feature to check out the pictures in the field. And all of these features are packed into the small 3-1/2" x 5-1/2" case. I think this is one of the best trail camera options for your money. I had mine set on video mode all season and had zero problems with it along with excellent battery life.

Check out the complete lineup of Bushnell Trail Cameras at the link below.






Predator Trail Cameras Designed to Perform

by Bow Staff 8. December 2010 05:03
Bow Staff

Predator Trail Cameras new line of scouting cameras puts Predator in the top tier of today's modern game cameras. 

Predator Trailcams is the forerunner when it comes to customer service and innovative design, knowing that hunters like ourselves need a superior product to get the job done when in pursuit of a once in a lifetime trophy.  Predator Trailcams has forged the way over the past three years with the first “True Infrared” lighting system, USB storage, 3.5” color touch screen interface, and a revolutionary case design.
   Predator Trailcams introduces a whole new line of products with the same great features and quality you have come to expect from the industry leader.  Trailcams like the TrailEye and the TrailEye IR offer NEW Dragon infrared and flash technology along with an easy “One Touch Setup” that will definitely put you on the path to hunting glory.
 If you’re looking for the ultimate in performance look no further than the Informer and Informer XP.  They offer the best combination of NEW Dragon IR Technology, trigger speed, megapixels, mounting options, and settings.  Combined together these features create a deadly combination that will surely have you bragging to your hunting buddies about which one is bigger.

Informer XP- 3.2 Megapixels Daytime/ 1.3 Nighttime
Video Length: 5-30 seconds (5 second increments)
Adjustable Infrared Range: High, Medium and Low (75ft, 50ft, 25ft)
Burst Images- 1-5 Burst Images per Trigger
Case Design: Guaranteed for Life against Bear Attacks
Battery Life: Up to 3 months




Informer- 3.2 Megapixels Daytime/ 1.3 Nighttime

Video Length: 5-30 seconds (5 second increments)
Adjustable Infrared Range: High, Medium and Low ( 50ft, 35ft, 20ft)
Burst Images: 1-5 Burst Images per Trigger
Case Design: Guaranteed for Life against Bear Attacks
Battery Life: Up to 3 months




TrailEye IR- 5.0 Megapixels Daytime/ 1.3 Nighttime

Video Length: 5 or 15 seconds
Activation Delay: 10 seconds to 5 minutes
Burst Images: 1-5 Burst Images per Trigger
Case Design: Guaranteed for Life against Bear Attacks
Battery Life: Up to 6 Months



TrailEye- 5.0 Megapixels/ 1.3 Nighttime

Video Length: 5 or 15 seconds
Activation Delay: 10 seconds to 5 minutes
Burst Images: 1-5 Burst Images per Trigger
Case Design: Guaranteed for Life against Bear Attacks
Battery Life: Up to 6 Months


Full Moon Makes for Slow Bowhunting

by Justin Zarr 25. October 2010 05:36
Justin Zarr

This past weekend I decided to stay close to home and try to connect with one of the suburban bucks I've got on my trail cameras.  Unfortunately warm temps combined with a full moon and some on and off rain made for one slow weekend!  In three sits for a combined total of about 10 hours on stand I saw exactly ZERO whitetails, which now makes me 0 for 5 on my suburban hunts.  The only wildlife I managed to see was a lone coyote, a few squirrels, and a lonely raccoon who decided to take a nap ontop of my bow sling which I left at the bottom of my tree. 

Although it is a little discouraging not seeing any deer from stand, I know it's only a matter of time before one of the bucks I'm after shows up.  I'm not necessarily concerned with seeing a lot of deer, I want to see the right deer!  Having trail cam photos like this certainly does help keep me on my toes though.

This is a new buck that just showed up on my camera earlier this month.  He' s not a monster, but he's definitely a shooter for me.  Since he's sporting the same crab claw on his left side like two bucks I've chased in years previous (Mr. Buck and Mr. Buck Jr.) he has earned the name Mr. Buck the 3rd aka MB3.

A side profile of MB3 shows off his crab claw a little better.  Over the past 8 or 9 years we've gotten photos of probably 6 or 7 bucks with this exact same characteristic, all 9 pointers with virtually identical racks.  No matter how old they get their frame never gets much bigger than this.  They put on some mass and maybe spring a few kickers but by and large they don't get much bigger than 135 to 140 inches no matter how old they are.

Check out this little guy that was hanging out with MB3.  He has what looks like an old injury on his right side and some sort of growth/abscess on his left side.  It looks like a possible arrow injury from last season, but it's hard to be 100% sure.

Here's a close up.  Sure looks like an arrow hole to me.

Another interesting photo, this buck appears to have a busted antler on his right side that's hanging down over the side of his face.  Not sure if it grew like that or if he broke it in a fight.

And what trail cam photo montage would be complete without a photo of my #1 target buck "Little Mac" as he walked by my stand about 20 minutes before I arrived on Saturday morning.  Sooner or later this guy is going to make a mistake and when he does I hope I'm ready!

With the full moon now past us and a cold front set to move through the Midwest later this week primetime is right around the corner!  If you can be in the woods this Thursday or Friday after the front moves through I have a feeling you'll see a lot of buck movement.  Calling should work well as the bucks are getting pretty aggressive before the does start to pop.  So whatever you've gotta do to get in the woods, do it this weekend!


Wildgame Innovations Offers 5 Trail Cameras Under 100 Bucks

by Bow Staff 19. October 2010 04:37
Bow Staff

The hard working hunters from Wildgame Innovations believe that bowhunters should scout more for less.  That’s why they now offer 5 compact trail cameras for under $100, with all models offering technology and performance you’d expect from cameras that cost 5 times what a Wildgame camera costs!  Wildgame Cameras are easy to operate, economical and practical for hunters who want to maximize their scouting time while getting the most out of their money.  If you would like to purchase a Wildgame camera, click on the red links below, or click here to view the entire selection of trail cameras has to offer!

S1.3: This 1.3MP camera features 16MB onboard memory, a powerful strobe flash-20 feet-and a large LCD programming screen. Accommodates up to a 2GB SD Card (not included) for photo storage. Takes still photos. USB Cable and Bungee Cords for mounting (included). Operates on 4Pcs. C-Cell Batteries (not included)

IR2:  The IR2 is Wildgame Innovations easiest to set camera to date!  All you have to do is set the time and date and you are ready to go. It is a 2 mega pixel (MP) with 64 MB of on board memory and takes up to a 2 GB SD Card (not included).  Runs effeciently on 4 PCS Cell batteries (not included).

IR4:  The ir4 camera features 64MB of on board memory, an infrared flash and a large programming screen. Can accommodate up to a 8GB SD card (Not included) to store images on. Take 30 second videos and still images. Uses 4 PCS. C-cell batteries.

S2: This 2.0MP camera features 16MB onboard memory, a powerful strobe flash-20 feet-and a large LCD programming screen. Accommodates up to a 2GB SD Card (not included) for photo storage. Takes still photos. USB Cable and Bungee Cords for mounting (included). Operates on 4Pcs.

S4: This 4.0MP camera features 16MB onboard memory, a powerful strobe flash and a large LCD programming screen. USB Cable and Bungee Cords for mounting (included). Photos and video.

• External power port
• Bungee cords
• USBV cable
• Driver
• Instructional CD
• Instructional booklet

Velvet Whitetails & Native Grasses - Late Summer Bowhunting Update

by Todd Graf 24. August 2010 10:52
Todd Graf

With September looming just around the corner my mind is really starting to wonder off to thoughts of treestands, falling leaves, and hard antlered whitetails!  The bowhunting season can't come quick enough for this deer hunter, that's for sure!

As part of the habitat management program on my Illinois hunting land I've been planting a lot of trees and other native plants.  The 3 acre native grass field I planted this spring is really starting to look great!  Despite the fact that its only the first year for this planting the  warm temperatures and consistant rain has given it a huge kick start. I've had to mow the field  twice to help control unwanted species and I also sprayed it once with a product called Banvel to control unwanted broadleaf plants. I can only imagine how this is going to increase the security cover on the property when it reaches maturity at 5 feet tall. I will most likely be complaining then I am not seeing any deer because they are all hiding in it!

Jim Carlson, thanks again for helping me out and doing such a great job planting!

I have attached some close-up photos for those of you who are interested in seeing the various types of grasses that I've planted and how they are coming along.

The head of some Indian Grass.

Sideoats Grama

Indian Grass stems

Little Blue Stem

It seems the area that I am hunting in Wisconsin does not have Earn-a-Buck regulations this year, which must mean that the DNR is happy with the overall population. I hope that some of the management practices that we have been doing such as letting the smaller bucks walk, taking does for meat & not shooting button bucks will hopefully make a difference in the long haul.  So far it seems to be showing some positive results.

Good looking buck from Wisconsin, I just might have to release an arrow on if he gets too close!

Non-typical Buck – wow will this buck look cool if he makes it a few more years.

Back home in Illinois I haven't had a sighting of Flyer the buck that I am after.  Hopefully he shows up once the velvet starts peeling off and the bucks begin roamin a little more.  In the meantime, I have a few other nice bucks that have showed up my trail cameras.

I want to give a bit congrats to Justin Hillman who looked like he has a great time in Africa. From the looks of these photos he had one heck of a bowhunting adventure.

Two more days until Justin and I are off to Wyoming for an Antelope hunt with our friends at Table Mountain Outfitters.  Wish us luck, we're pretty excited!

BuckScore Download will take the Guessing Game Away!

by Bow Staff 29. July 2010 16:08
Bow Staff

Expect BuckScore to score points with deer hunters!

Ever sit on your PC late at night studying the images of countless bucks you captured on camera? Ever wonder what each buck scores? Sure you can guess. Sure you could have a friend guess. But wouldn’t it be great to really know? Read below and STOP the guessing game.

Introducing BuckScore, a downloadable program developed by two professors from the Mississippi State University’s Deer Ecology and Management Lab, along with a graduate-researcher, over a three year period. Using known measurements for average deer ear widths, eyeball widths, and measurable facial features such as the eye-to-eye distance, these researchers developed equations to assess the antlers in inches using the Boone and Crockett scoring system.

BuckScore can even estimate the antlers' inside spread, main beam lengths and gross score simply from photographs. And is accurate whether the antlers are in their summer "velvet" or hard-horned.

Simply upload a buck’s digital image into your PC and use the tracing tool to outline the antlers. Within moments hunters will get an accurate estimate of the antlers total score!!

Without BuckScore this hunters estimate was off by less than one-inch! With it, he decided the buck was big enough to take after all! Thanks BuckScore!

BuckScore Pro is expected to be available as a $10 download at their website before the Labor Day holiday. It is expected that a percentage of the sales will go to Mississippi State University, and 25% of that will go specifically to its deer research lab. BuckScore is also teaming up with Bushnell scouting cameras to allow a free download with purchase of some of their products.

While the software will first be offered for Windows-based computers only, a Mac version will shortly follow. A BuckScore application is even in the works for both iPhones and iPads and is expected to be available this January.

So take the guessing game out of your favorite trailcamera photos, or just bust the chops of your co-workers and friends. Look for the BuckScore download and start telling the truth about what you really saw!


Categories: Bowhunting Blogs

Trail Cameras Off To A Slow Start

by Justin Zarr 14. July 2010 16:19
Justin Zarr

For some reason when it comes to trail cameras and summertime, I feel like I'm cursed.  I've been running trail cameras staring in early July for the last 4 or 5 years and I've yet to get a photo of a really good velvet buck.  Sometimes I feel like I'm cursed, especially when I see some of the bucks that others are getting on their cameras.  My only real excuse is that in the urban areas I hunt I'm terrified to put a camera on a field edge for fear of it getting stolen, so I often put them in the woods where foilage is thick and deer can be hard to find during the summer.  Typical travel corridors aren't being used as heavily as deer aren't really traveling very far, and there won't be any active scrapes for a few months yet.  So these typical hotbeds of trail camera activity are fairly slow right now.

So like usual, my first batch of photos produced nothing but a couple of does.  After seeing these results I do believe I'll have to move at least one of these cameras before the summer ends!  If my next batch of photos still doesn't reveal any bucks, at least I'll know where not to look for buck bedding areas come October.

Right now I have a Moultrie i40 and a Reconyx Hyperfire HC500 out.  Both cams have great color quality during the day, and superb IR flash range at night.  However, they aren't without their flaws!  Both cameras seem to have a distinct problem with motion blur during those low-light daytime images.  Many of my Reconyx photos are really blurry, which make the photos almost worthless.  The Moultrie has similar issues with blur, combined with a lot of empty images.  I'm not sure what's setting off the motion sensor but I've got probably 50% empty images so far, which is typical for this particular cam.  The Reconyx however had zero blank photos and did not miss a beat when it comes to capturing images.  That's one thing that HC500 does extremely well.

A typical daytime image from my Reconyx.  This doe and fawn seem to love working the trail I have this particular camera on, as I have quite a number of pictures of them.

The night time IR range on the HC500 is superb.  I just wish it was a nice buck instead!

The Moultrie i40 has some better color saturation, but motion blur is still a big issue.

I have the AM/PM reversed on this camera so it's only 3 in the afternoon.  Not quite sure why the IR triggered, but the overall quality of the photo isn't bad.

After checking both of these cameras, and almost dying of blood loss from the mosquitos, I set my ScoutGuard SG550 out inside a chunk of woods where I captured my two best bucks on camera last fall.  I'm really hoping to get a glimpse of one of the big boys this summer so I know they're still around.  Come October it always helps that motivation to know you've got a few target bucks to chase.  Now it's just a waiting game.  I'll go back in two weeks and, provided nobody steals my cameras, we'll see what we've got!

This Saturday Mike and I are headed to his lease to see if we can't film some velvet bucks in a giant soybean field so hopefully we get some good footage for you next week.  Check back soon and I'll let you know how things go!

Mid-Summer Deer Hunting Preparation

by Todd Graf 14. July 2010 16:07
Todd Graf

The heat of July is on, food plots are putting on some serious growth and for those who took the time to do soil tests and fertilize the tonnage will being coming soon.  This is only my 2nd year of really putting a lot of effort into my food plots and it's amazing how much I've learned.  A little bit of hard work really does go a long way and I've really noticed the increased amount of deer on my property. 

Sending soil samples out for pH testing is critical in order to know the proper type and amount of fertilizer to use for optimal growth.

The photo belows shows how quickly your plots will blow up when they are fertilized and PH levels are in check.  With a little help from mother nature food plots can really grow at an unbelievable pace.  Only 15 days and look at the difference in this plot!

Now that July is here and the bucks have started to pack on the inches, it's time to get your trail cameras out.  I prefer to start them on the edge of soybean fields, or on mineral stations where  legal.  Personally, I like to stay out of the woods now and not put any pressure on resident bucks. If I do enter I try to make plenty of noise to give the deer a change to get out, this way I don’t sneak up on them and bust them out of their beds.  Below are some of the nicer bucks my trail cameras have captured so far this summer.

Summer is a great time to get photos of more than just velvet whitetails.  These two does look like they're really going at it!

While I was up in Wisconsin putting out some trail cameras and getting my stands ready for September, my nephew Anthony came with to help out.  He's really showing some interest in hunting which is great to see.  Anytime you can get a kid interested in the outdoors and take him with you, do it!  It's a lot of fun for both of you.

Here's a shot of my pops trying to keep the horse flies away.  If it wasn't for him taking me out in the woods when I was a kid who knows what I'd be doing now!

If you have apple trees in your hunting areas I like to spread 13-13-13 fertilizer under the edge of the outter branches to help the production of apples.  I did this earlier in the spring and wow did it make a huge difference.  My apple trees are FULL of apples this year, which should make for some great hunting come October.  The deer cant resist them.

Now is the time to start getting those plots ready for this fall.  August is prime time for planting turnips, wheat, buck forage oats, winter rye and brassicas.  All of these make great attractants for fall hunting and are relatively easy to plant.

Killing off the current vegetation is the first step in prepping for fall food plots.

Justin and I are headed to Wyoming next month to chase antelope, which means it's about time to start shooting broadheads already.  The deer hunting season will be here before you know it!

#1 On My Bowhunting Hit List

by John Mueller 9. July 2010 12:42
John Mueller

I've gotten a few pictures of this buck on my Moultrie i45 trail camera so far this summer, and he looks like a really good buck.  The photos were taken 3 different times as he was headed down a trail leading to my food plot.  And all 3 of those times were in daylight. So far he is #1 on my deer hunting hit list for this fall, but his buddy in the one picture isn't too bad either. If he shows up alone, he may just get an arrow sent his way as well.

This is the 3rd summer I have owned my property and this is the most summer buck activity I have ever seen. This year I have corn and soybeans along with milo and wheat in my food plots. I think that is what is keeping the bucks around. Plus the fact that I created a 5 acre bedding area in my CRP ground. I replanted it to Native Warm Season Grasses last year, which are really starting to grow and reach a good height for the deer to bed in now. I hope this guy sticks around for the opener, because if he keeps using this path, I know where I will have a stand hanging.

If it weren't for using trail cameras I would have no idea this buck was in the area. I have never laid eyes on him before these pictures were taken.

The Moultrie I45 takes Infrared Pictures in lowlight situations and color pictures in daylight. You can get yours right here at by clicking this link. 

First Set of Pictures from my Moultrie Gamespy I45

by John Mueller 20. September 2009 11:28
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.

Moultrie Launches New Game Spy Camera System

by Todd Graf 11. January 2009 05:35
Todd Graf

Providing Complete Access to Camera Location 24/7 Alabaster, Alabama – January 2009 – Moultrie announced the launch of the Game Spy Game Management System, which offers complete access to game cameras via cellular network and internet. Consisting of three components – camera, cellular modem and web site – the Game Management System provides complete access to game cameras 24/7, from the comfort of your own home.  

The Camera

Moultrie’s introduction of a complete camera system also brings to the market four innovative scouting cameras that are compatible with the Game Management System. Choose from the Game Spy I-45 and I-65 models with truly invisible infrared technology, or the Game Spy M-45 and M-65 white-flash models with color night-time video. Each game camera boasts a quick trigger time and long battery life, so you’ll never miss a shot. Moultrie’s 2009 game cameras retail $279.99-$379.99. 

The Cellular Modem

Game cameras are addictive, but the cost of checking them every weekend gets expensive. Moultrie’s new GPS Game Spy Connect modem plugs directly into compatible Game Spy cameras, giving you the ability to access your camera whenever and wherever you please. Through AT&T’s cellular network, you can wirelessly transmit images, check battery status or even change your camera setting – all from your computer, PDA or cell phone. The GPS Game Spy Connect retails for $149.99. 

The Web Site Moultrie’s Game Management web site offers members a private-access web page to manage photos, data and cameras anywhere in the world, from any computer with internet access. Once signed up, members can also enter accounts remotely from most cell phones or PDA’s with internet capabilities. Upload images captured at your favorite hunting spot, keep an eye on your property, plot and view locations of game activity using GPS coordinates, control your camera from miles away . . . the possibilities are nearly endless! Monthly plans start at $29.99. 

Moultrie’s complete Game Management System will be available summer 2009.





Categories: Current News

Trail Camera Cold Weather Review - Part 2

by Justin Zarr 4. January 2009 04:20
Justin Zarr

Shortly after Todd's initial cold weather trail camera test I set out to see how well two of my trail cameras had been performing in the same conditions.  I had set out a Cuddeback Capture and a Moultrie Game Spy I40 roughly 3 weeks earlier, both with fresh batteries and memory cards.  Throughout the course of the summer and fall I had great success with both cameras, capturing thousands of images.  Battery life on both cameras had been excellent, with both lasting well over a month on a fresh set of batteries.

Click below to watch the in-field testing of the Moultrie I40 and Cuddeback Capture during sub-zero temperatures.
Cold Weather Trail Camera Testing - Day 2

Click below to watch the final results and view images taken during this cold weather test.
Day 2 Testing Results Video - CLICK HERE

The first camera we checked with the Moultrie Game Spy I40.  This is an infrared camera that takes full color images by day and black and white images at night.  I had set it out near a scrape that Mike and I located at the end of November in hopes of getting some images of a few bucks we knew were working the area.  Unfortunately after trudging through over a foot of snow to get to the camera, we found that the batteries were dead and it was no longer taking pictures.

I'll be honest, this came as a pretty big surprise to me.  The I40 has been one of my most reliable cameras when it comes to battery life.  With 6 D-cell batteries this same camera lasted over two months during the summertime without having this problem.  After getting home and checking the images on the camera it appears that the batteries lasted just over two weeks.

Here you can see the first image taken on the camera with new batteries on 11/30 when the camera was put out.

I had the camera set on a 3 shot burst when triggered, and managed to get this photo of a nice buck that none of us have seen before.  One nice thing about this I40 is that with 72 IR emmitters that flash range at night is very good.  Compared to some cameras that only cover out to 20 or 25 feet, the I40 will reach out to 40-45 feet no problem.

This is the last image on the card taken on 12/15 before the batteries expired.  The real kick in the pants is that this is a false trigger resulting in a blank image, which does happen quite a bit with this camera.

Todd and I are working on another test right now to specifically gauge battery life in these cameras, and I'm hoping the I40 fairs much better than it did in this test.

My Cuddeback Capture, which many of you have read has been performing very well this year, was put out at roughly the same time.  When we came upon the camera to check it nearly a month later in the sub-zero conditions it still had plenty of battery life, and did take my photo as I walked in front of it.  As you would expect the LCD display was a bit sluggish when clicking through the menus to see how many photos I had, but that's to be expected of any camera in these conditions.  The Capture is a rather "simple" camera without a lot of bells and whistles that's designed to do one thing - take pictures.  And as you can see below, even in extremely cold weather conditions it was doing just that.

Here is the first photo taken of me on my way out of the woods just after setting the camera up.

One of several coyotes working this area while the camera was out.  This is a good representation of the quality of image you can expect from the Cuddeback Capture at night.

And finally the photo of me checking the camera, nearly one month later in sub-zero conditions.

We're working on some additional tests with these cameras including battery life, trigger speed, and flash distance at night so stay tuned as the results come ine we'll get them posted.

Todd and I are headed to the ATA Show this week where we should see not only some new trail cameras for 2009, but all of the latest bowhunting products and innovations.  Be sure to check back our blogs for daily updates from the show on Thursday and Friday! We'll be bringing you the info on all of the latest gear, which will be availble right here on

Trail Camera Cold Weather Test Part 1

by Todd Graf 30. December 2008 16:04
Todd Graf

Last week here in Northern Illinois we had some extremely cold weather move in with real temperatures near 0 and windchills of around -30.  With the harsh temperatures and extreme winds I spent most of my time inside where it was warm, but still had several trail cameras out in the field doing some late season scouting for me.  I figured that this would be a great time to check their performance and see just how well they were holding up under these conditions.  I had a Reconyx PC90 professional unit, a Predator Xtinction, and a Smart Scouter all set up in a small late season food source that would be perfect for testing.  So I set out with my friend and cameraman Paul Mazur to see how each unit was holding up. 

The Reconyx PC90

Predator Xtinction

Smart Scouter

We first drove my Polaris Ranger in front of each camera on our way to check them, then came back and walked in front of the cameras and then filmed an interview segment in front of them as well.  I knew this would give each camera an ample opportunity to capture some photos before I retrieved the memory cards and went back inside to view the results.  Click on this link or the image below to watch Part 1 of the tests as we braved the cold temperatures and crazy winds!

After the first round of testing Paul and I were able to view the results on my computer.  The Reconyx camera performed wonderfully and despite a sluggish LCD display in the cold temperatures it took the most photos of us as we ran our tests.  The sensitivity and burst mode on this camera are awesome as it performed just as well as it did earlier in the year under more pleasant conditions.

The Predator Xtinction also performed well and captured several video clips of Paul and I during our testing.  Again, the LCD display was a little sluggish in the cold weather but not nearly as bad as the older Predator Evolution models.  Cold weather performance seems to have been greatly improved in this camera.  You can click on this link or the image below to watch one of the clips we got from our Xtinction despite the -30* temperatures.

Predator Xtinction cold weather video test

The last camera, the Smart Scouter, did capture our photos but failed to send them to the Smart Scouter server and to my e-mail until the following day.  I'm not sure what caused this delay, but it was a bit frustrating as I had hoped for immediate results.  When you're paying a monthly service fee and a fee per image that is sent to your e-mail, you expect to have immediate results.  But even if they were slow in arriving, the Smart Scouter did take our picture several times.

The Smart Scouter did work and the pictures did show up, they were just a day late!

You can click this link here to the image below to watch a video of our results.

Justin is working on a cold weather review of three other cameras, the Cuddeback Capture and Moultrie I40 that he did the following day.  It will be posted shortly, followed then by a side-by-side comparison of all cameras and how long their batteries last in cold weather.  We plan on putting all of our cameras to the test this winter to see which hold up, and with fall short in these harsh conditions so stay tuned!  We are also adding to the battle ground the Cuddeback IR and the Camtrakker MK-8 so stay tuned.


Friends and Trail Cameras!

by Todd Graf 9. December 2008 15:09
Todd Graf

I'm not sure how this happens or what gets into my buddies when I ask them to change out my trail camera memory cards and batteries but I sure get a kick out of the photos. The first set of photos are great - you will see the classic photos of us sneaking into our stands and whether its before or after the bucks always seem to come by:

Here is Justin leaving he stand - and of course he did not see any bucks on this evening hunt.

And of course later that night here comes a nice buck right up the same trail Justin just walked out.

Here I am walking to my stand for a morning hunt.

And this buck wanted to find out what was going on just 3 minutes later!

Here I am a few days earlier sneaking in for another morning hunt...

And here goes a nice buck sneaking out, only 1/2 hour later!

Of course I save the best for last!

I am embrassed to say Horseshoe hunts with me when you look at him in this photo, actually now that I think about it he always runs with his arms like this.

I wish he (Justin) was a little older of a buck because I would have taken him for sure.

What fun would it be to have a post without a trespasser! Hours after it snows and this guy can't resist but to follow a set of deer tracks over several people's properties! Yes, I did call the police and they did visit him. It turns out after talking with serveral of my neighbors he thinks he owns the entire county. I hope he finally gets the drift after a visit from the boys in blue!

I did not want to end on a negative note so here is a nice buck that I hope made it though the gun seaon as he will be incredible next year!

Categories: Bowhunting Blogs

Cuddeback Capture IR Now Available!

by Staff 4. December 2008 04:46 Staff

Cuddeback Capture IRAfter a much-anticipated wait the new Cuddeback Capture IR digital trail camera is now in stock and shipping here at This camera features the same user-friendly functionality of the best-selling Capture model now with infrared no-flash technology.  Click here to purchase your new Cuddeback Capture IR camera.

Features of this new camera include a 25 foot infrared flash range, simple setup using the rotary dial system, adjustable triggering intervals from 30 seconds to 30 minutes, and extended battery life using 4 standard "D" cell batteries.  Both the Cuddeback Capture and Capture IR use standard SD cards, which are also available right here at

To purchase the new Cuddeback Capture IR click here.  To read reviews of the standard Cuddeback Capture click here.  Our full review of the Capture IR will be posted within the next few days, so check back soon for more information. 

Categories: Current News

Deer Hunting Scrapes - It Won't Be Long Now!

by John Mueller 27. October 2008 13:50
John Mueller



            The scrapeing is going on strong at my place in IL right now. I found a hot scrape last weekend and set my Moultrie I40 up on it. I was pleasantly surprised this weekend by the results. I got pics of a quite a few different bucks using it. Most of the big guys were at night but that may change in a week or 2.


            Here is a pic. of a real nice 10 pointer I had an encounter with 2 weeks ago right at dark. I had him at 40 yards but couldn’t see my pins. At least he is still around.



The Big 10


I got a few action shots of the bucks with their antlers in the branches too. I may have to change the I40 over to the video mode. It has that option built in.


I can almost reach it.



Giving it a thrashing.





         Another visitor. 



Big bodied 8 pointer.



            If you’re interested in putting a trail camera on your own scrapes, you can order yours right here on Check out the trail cam section


Trail Cameras: The Good and The Bad

by Justin Zarr 22. October 2008 17:04
Justin Zarr

Over the past decade or so, few products have hit the hunting world by storm like the trail camera has.  When the first cameras came out on the market those few short years ago there weren't a lot of options.  In fact, there were only 2-3 manufacturers and all of their units worked pretty much the same.  You put batteries and 35mm film in them, strapped them to a tree, and they used passive infrared motion detectors to sense an animal and take it's picture.  These early units were pretty expensive, in many cases upwards of $500 each. 

As more and more hunters started using these new-fangled devices more and more manufacturers started popping up and pretty soon the market was full of trail cameras of all makes, models, and sizes.  As this happened, loads of information on how to use them, where to use them, and when to use them also started to appear.  Many hunters felt that with a trail camera they could pattern that nocturnal trophy buck they've been after for years and finally put him on their way.  And as many bowhunters sadly found out, that wasn't quite the case.  Trail cameras or not, killing big deer on a consistant basis is still hard!

In the early 2000's the first digital trail cameras hit the market.  Much like their 35mm predecessors, they too were fairly expensive and sometimes unreliable.  But as technology got better and prices came down, the digital trail camera quickly replaced the film camera and became the staus quo for scouting cameras.  Today there are literally dozens of cameras on the market from a variety of manufacturers that range in price from less than $100 to more than $500.  How do you decide which one is right for you?

For me, the first factor in deciding which camera I want to purchase is price.  Like most bowhunters, I set a budget for myself when it comes to bowhunting expenses and have to pick and choose which products I really need, and which I can live without.  I try to purchase at least one new trail camera each year to either replace old cameras that I am retiring, or to cover additional ground looking for more bucks.  I currently own 4 different cameras and try to keep them out from the end of July through the end of January, even into February.  This helps me get an accurate feeling for the amount and quality of deer in my hunting area.  So in my case, it makes more sense to purchase two less expensive cameras and cover more ground than to purchase one expensive area and risk missing photos that could alert me to a presence of a buck I never knew existed.

I like to use my cameras to get an inventory of the deer on my hunting grounds at any given time during the year, not necessarily to try and pattern and hunt them.  I still rely on good old fashioned scouting, planning, and a lot of luck for that!

The second biggest factor for me is trigger speed and reliability.  For anyone who owns a trail camera and has experienced the frustration of a blank roll of film or an empty memory card you know what I'm talking about.  Its like opening up a present on Christmas day only to find out there's nothing inside!  I have personally owned several brands of trail cameras that were extremely unreliable even under controlled conditions inside my own home when testing them out.  Needless to say, I don't own them any more.  Instead I have chosen to do as much online research as possible about the cameras before I buy them.  The Internet is a great place to read real-world reviews and find out which products are working, and which aren't.  When it comes to trail cameras, you can read a lot of great information about them right here at and also at our sister website  This will help you make an educated decision as to which cameras to avoid and which are getting good reviews.

With the exception of those two major factors, there are also some secondary features to consider.  Battery life can very greatly from camera to camera and determine how often you need to check your cameras, and how much money you will end up spending on batteries over the course of the season.  Some cameras allow you to hook up an external battery pack to them for longer run time even in the coldest conditions.

Flash type is another big factor for many bowhunters when choosing a trail camera.  With the recent surge in popularity of infrared flash cameras, many people are getting away from traditional flashes which they feel may spook animals, most notably mature animals that are more reclusive and sensitive to human intrusion.  Personally, I feel that it's hit or miss when it comes to flash type.  I believe some animals are scared of any type of flash, traditional or infrared, and in fact are scared of trail cameras even during the daytime as well.  Naturally, they usually contain human scent from us handling them and some models stick out like a sore thumb on the side of a tree.  Despite the fact that they may spook some animals, I personally believe that it doesn't negatively effect your hunting opportunities provided you play your cards right.  Don't put your cameras right on top of your best hunting spots.  Rather, put them in well-used travel corridors or on community scrapes to get a better idea of overall inventory of deer in your area verus trying to find out what deer is walking by your stand, and when.  Good hunting techniques will never be replaced by info from scouting cameras, no matter how hard we try.

In conclustion, my two personal favorite cameras right now are the Cuddeback Capture and the Moultrie I40.  The Cuddeback is a 3.0 megapixel camera with traditional flash that is super easy to use, has good battery life, and is extremely reliable when it comes to trigger speed and sensitivity.  The Moultrie I40 is a 4.0 megapixel camera with infrared flash that takes great photos and has extremely good battery life thanks to its 6 D-cell batteries.  The Cuddeback Capture is available here at for $199 and the Moultrie I40 for $219.99.  For the bowhunter on a budget looking for a good camera that won't let you down, either of these would be a great choice.

The Cuddeback Capture is a new camera for this year, but has performed very well for me so far.

This photo is a great example of what you can expect from the Cuddeback Capture.  Photo clarity and flash range are excellent, and this buck doesn't seem to mind the flash one bit.

The Moultrie I40 has a lot of great features including infrared flash, superior battery life and great image quality, but it is a bit bulky and cumbersome to use.  Once you get past that, it's a great camera at a great price.

The Moultrie I40 takes great color images during the day, and black and white images at night using the infrared flash.

If you're interested in higher end features including true invisible IR flash, 3 shot burst mode, extreme battery life, and extreme sensitivity check out Todd Graf's review of the Recoynx trail cameras by clicking here.


Moultrie I40 Trail Camera Review

by John Mueller 29. September 2008 12:52
John Mueller

I put 2 Moultrie I40's into use almost a year ago and have been very impressed with the results. That is after I updated the software. It seems there was some type of glitch in the cameras originally. They would produce a whiteout image when in the IR mode on some pictures. After downloading the update from the Moultrie website onto the SD card and then loading it in the cameras my units have performed very well for me.

The Moultrie I40.


The daytime pictures are some of the clearest I have seen from a trail camera. The 4 megapixel camera produces very sharp images.

2 turkeys in my food plot.

A doe in the plot.


The one feature I have mixed reviews on is the IR Mode of the camera. It was one of the reasons I had originally bought the camera. To get away from the flash going off in the woods and possibly scareing the deer. This model uses Infrared Illumination to capture lowlight and nighttime photos. A band of 72 IR bulbs glows red to take the lowlight pictures. These photos are black and white images.


 This is not supposed to spook deer. I do catch some of them stareing at the camera while it is taking their picture. The bad part about this is it takes a lot of daylight to get the camera off of the IR mode. When my camera is in the woods 90% of the pictures are IR mode even in daylight. The only way I get color daylight pictures is to have my camera on a food plot or open field. The black and white images are great for just cataloging your deer and seeing what is out there. But if you want to frame some of the photos or show them off on your favorite website, the color pictures work much better.

Some of the neat features of this camera are:

1. 3 different still picture settings for picture quility.

2. 2 different video settings. (which I have to figure out so I can put my camera on some scrapes this fall)

3. Uses SD Cards, which most digital cameras use now. I use my camera to view them in the field.

4. A laser aim pointer to adjust where the unit is pointed.

5. Time, Date, Temperature, and Moon Phase stamped on the picture.

6. Uses 6 D-cell batteries that last a reported 150 days. I have had mine in operation for almost 1 year and am on my second set of batteries( still have 65% charge)     Truely extended battery life.

7. Easy to set up and reset after checking.

Nice and simple to operate, not a lot of switches or buttons.

8. Does the scouting when you're not there.

Some things I would like to see changed:

1. The SD Card is in a very awkward place to get to. Unless you have very long skinny fingers. There are many other places this could have been put.

Here you can see the SD Card just to the left of the white label.

2. The unit is a big black box. A grey or softer color would not stand out nearly as much. Harder for the deer and would be thieves to see.

3. No real way to lock it to the tree.

4. It does make a bit of a click when the shutter opens.

All in all I have to say the pluses far outweigh the minuses on this camera. I am very happy with the service my 2 units have given me in the year I have had them. No problems at all after doing the original upgrade to the software. And I have not heard of another unit with the battery life of the I40. If you would like to try one of these out for yourself. They can be purchased right here on by following the link below.

Huge Success - Reconyx Trail Cameras

by Todd Graf 15. September 2008 13:54
Todd Graf

Most of you know that I have been testing all the different trail cameras out this fall. With the recent launch of our goal was to test all units and we have been doing just that! On 8/17/2008 I put out a Reconyx with a 2 gig card and 6 Duracell batteries. I had the cameras setting on the 3 shot burst mode. This unit was a piece of cake to set-up, I never even used the manual once. I decided to check on the reconyx this last past weekend to see what the results were going to be and was I impressed!

3109 PHOTOS!!!! and I am not exaggerating.

The unit had about 5% battery life left, I could not believe it. I honestly thought for sure that the unit was being triggered by a limb, weed or the sun but when I got home all the photos were on the card. After reviewing all of the photos I feel like you get a lot of value out of this camera but the IR needs to reach out a little further.

Here are some of the images.

Small 2 1/2 Year old buck. Let him go and he will grow! I did not always say that - just for the record.


My only complaint - This unit needs more IR power.


Of course what would owning property be without trespassers. I need to put some tire spikes out.


Nice buck - any buck that makes it through the WI gun season deserves a medal.


IR filter must have switched over early and took this photo during the day.


I guess even a few more trespassers will keep you deer nocturnal.


I am not even going to make any comments, although I really want to.

Nice Beards!

Good day time photo example.

Now, here is how you know a camera is easy to program - My pops decides to open it and tries to see if he can view the photos. On this unit you can't. Do you think he told me that he did this - Of course not. But I did capture it and I did bust his chops. Thankfully the unit self arms itself and I never missed any shots.

If your intrested in trying this unit out we have them in stock here.


Trail Cameras & Horseflies

by Todd Graf 30. August 2008 15:05
Todd Graf

I have finally admitted to having a problem when it comes to trail cameras - I am addicted! I just really enjoy using and trying all of the camera models. I can still remember the film days, collecting all the film out of my Camtrakkers and rushing to Wal-Mart to get the photos developed in an hour. I know I am not the only one who did that! I don’t even want to think about how much money I had spent – I try to forget those days. Digital cameras rock. Many of you know that we have launched a new site where our pro-staff is reporting which trail cameras really work well and which ones don’t. Check it out at If you have any questions or comments let us know.  We're also working to make sure that we have all models in stock and ready to ship so if you're looking for a new trail camera, be sure to check us out.

Here are some photos from this year - take a look……


Camtrakker - The highest quality digital trail camera pictures you'll ever get! 

Another shot from my CamTrakker - you simply can't beat them for quality photos!

At TrailCam.Com we're committed to testing them all!!! We will keep you informed this season to which one of the trail cameras we test works the best.

A shot from the new CamTrakker MK-8 - It has a super long lasting battery and the flash range is amazing.

This shot is from my new Reconyx RC60.  I saw the Drury's pushing this unit so I had to give it a chance. So far I have been impressed with it. Battery life has been good, photos are clear both day and night but the IR range could be a little better. I am still testing this unit -  I will let you know my final thoughts later this year.

The horseflies are really starting to tick me off this year, I don't think I have ever seen them this bad!

First hard antlered buck of the summer!

by Scott Abbott 28. August 2008 11:58
Scott Abbott

It is almost that time..... I am now exactly one month away from Ohio's 2008-2009 bow opener. The anticipation has been building and last evening I got another shot of adrenaline while pulling out of a gas well access road after checking a game cam. Across the road in a very lush and green soy bean field was a bachelor group of four bucks. It was a hodgepodge of a bachelor group if I have ever saw one as well. A yearling spike, an 80 inch eight point, a 110 inch eight point and a very good looking 10 point, in hard antler I would put into the low to mid 140's!

Unfortunately, I was unable to get any photos of them. I did however run into a few more bucks as I drove to another farm. I snapped this photo about 3/4's of a mile down the road from the farm I hunt. Not a slammer, but a solid buck none-the-less.


Cuddeback Capture: First Look

by Justin Zarr 27. August 2008 08:47
Justin Zarr

Several months ago reports started popping up that Cuddeback was set to release a new trail camera for this fall, called the Capture.  As one of the more widely recognized names in the industry needless to say we were excited to see what these new cameras would offer.  This past week our first Capture arrived at the office.  Here are our first impressions.

There are two models of the new Capture available, one with standard flash and one with an IR flash.  Both cameras are 3.0 megapixels in both day and night, and are priced very reasonably.  The standard Capture retails for $199.99 and the IR version for $229.99.  To date only the standard-flash cameras have shipped out so that’s what we’ve had the chance to test.

If you’ve seen any of the new print or TV ads for this product you’ll notice that the main feature Cuddeback is trying to push is the ease of use.  A lot of cameras we’ve tested have settings that are buried several levels deep into the menus and can be somewhat cumbersome to figure out at first.  Let’s face it, none of us want to sit around and read a 20 page manual and spend an hour trying to figure out how to use our trail cameras.  We want to open them up, put batteries in them, strap them on a tree, and be on our way.  With the Cuddeback Capture, you can do just that.

Both Capture units feature a new rotating dial system for controlling the camera settings and arming the camera in the field.  There are only two push buttons, which are only used for your initial time/date/year setup.  Once you take care of those, which takes less than a minute, you don’t have to use them again.  Once your camera is set up and in position you simply rotate the dial to the time delay you want (30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes, 15 minutes, or 30 minutes), close the cover and walk away.  It truly is a very user-friendly interface.

Like the older Cuddeback cameras the new Capture also uses 4 D-Cell batteries for power.  Although unlike my C2000 Excite the battery system is much easier to use.  The batteries actually slide into the case underneath the main cover and aren’t held in by that cheesy metal plate that I always had problems with in the past.
Also new with the Capture units is the switch from Compact Flash (CF) cards over to the more industry-standard SD cards found in most other manufacturer’s units.  This is great for those of us who have a bunch of cameras and have been managing different types of cards.  Not to mention SD cards are more readily available and cheaper than CF cards.  A big thumbs up to Cuddeback for finally making the switch.

My one complaint on this camera is the fact that they did away with the screw-in fastening system found on my older units.  I really liked this method as it added one small measure of security for my cameras.  I could screw them in, fasten the face plate, then put a small padlock on it that made it more difficult for thieves to run off with.  The new Capture units no longer have this option and instead come with a more traditional strap system.  It works fine for what it is, but now there is no easy option for locking the Capture unit to the tree.  Even if you put a padlock on the door that only prevents someone from opening it, not from removing the strap from the tree and taking the whole unit.  Definitely a step backwards in my opinion.

My new Cuddeback Capture went out to the field last night and I plan on checking it next Saturday to see how the trigger speed, flash range, and image quality is.  I tested it inside my house a few times before putting it out and the trigger speed looks like it’s on par with my older Cuddeback units, and image quality definitely appears to be higher than my C2000 Excite.  As soon as I have an update, you’ll be the first to know!

If you'd like to purchase a new Cuddeback Capture digital trail camera we have them in stock and ready to ship over at our sister website!  Retail cost is $199.99 and you can purcahse your new Cuddeback Capture by clicking here.

Categories: Justin Zarr

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