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One Tough Buck | Crazy Trail Camera Photos

by Bow Staff 3. May 2012 08:22
Bow Staff

These incredible trail camera photos have been making the rounds for the past few months, and we wanted to share them with those who haven't seen them yet.  Anyone who hunts whitetails can atest to their toughness, and this buck is certainly no exception to that rule. 

The story below was included with the photos as they were e-mailed to us.  We have no idea if it is true or not, but regardless of the story these are some incredible pictures.  It truly is unfortunate to see a wounded animal, especially when that wound was caused by a hunter, however it's also a harsh reminder that even though we may try our best and do everything right, the hunter doesn't always win.

"I shot this buck on Nov. 16 in Kansas from a ground blind at 16 yards with a 70 lbs. bow and a Rage 3 blade broad head.  I waited until he was quartering away and aimed for the opposite shoulder.  The arrow penetrated almost to the fletching.  The deer ran about 60 yards, stopped, staggered and almost went down.  He looked around then ran another 120 yards and jumped over the neighbors fence.  We obtained permission to look for him and did so for most of the next two days.  We trailed him about 1/4 mile and lost blood.  We then put a tracking dog on him, but never found the buck.  When the neighbor checked his trail cameras this is what he found.

I have shot several deer with this broad head with amazing results and some of the shots were not this good.  I am saddened and puzzled by this outcome.

My gut feeling is that the broad head deflected off the ribs and never entered the heart/lung area.  If you zoom in on some of the photos you can see that the broad head did open fully on impact and there was a very good blood trail for 5-600 yards.

The neighbor has promised to check his cameras regularly to try and see if he makes it or not."

Categories: Bowhunting Blogs

2012 Illinois Deer Classic - Monster Bucks & Bowhunting Friends

by Justin Zarr 25. March 2012 08:10
Justin Zarr

The 2012 Illinios Deer Classic, held in Peoria Illinois, is starting to wind down but before we pack up and head home I wanted to give you all a quick update on what you missed if you weren't here.  As always, the Peoria Civic Center was packed full of hunters looking to stock up on gear, meet new friends and check out some of the giant bucks on display.  It always amazes me how many 200+" bucks are on display here, which represents only a small fraction of the whitetails harvested in the Land of Lincoln each fall.  I would really like to see a few of the giants that never make it into the public eye.

For those of you who are going to be around Madison Wisconsin next weekend make sure you stop in and say hello.  We'll be giving away a new Mathews Heli-m bow as well as a Lone Wolf climbing treestand so you don't want to miss out!

Look for the Bowhunt or Die neon sign and you'll find us!

If you're looking for good deals on gear, the Deer Classics are the place to be.

This officially wins the "Creepiest Mount" award.  Who actually mounts their dog???

Our buddy Dorge with Firenock is always eager to show off his new products.

My favorite mount of the whole show.  What a giant!

Looking for a unique way to display your European mount?  Check out Dutch Fork trophy plaques.  Very cool!

Our cameraman/editor Brandyn Streeter was on hand to shoot interviews with a lot of the exhibitors.  Stay tuned to the New Products section of for videos in the next few weeks.

Everyone wanted to get a glimpse of the new Mathews Heli-m and Epic Cam on display.

She loves her rack!  Check out the Pink Rack Project when you get a chance.  A great cause helping to fight breast cancer.

Todd & Richie post with the lucky winners of a new Can Cooker.

Todd signing an autograph for a Bowhunt or Die fan.  Thanks for stopping by!

Can you tell I love giant 8 points?  What a stud!

Got junk?

The mass on this deer is unreal.

If I ever shoot a 240" whitetail, I'll get a full body mount too.

Another 200+.

"Sweetness", the buck Todd was chasing for 3 seasons.  He offically scores just over 212" net NT.  What a giant!

The new world record 9 point, along with a few other 'impressive' bucks.

My 2nd favorite mount in the show.  This photo doesn't even do it justice.  This is an incredible deer and a great mount.

This deer is scored as a typical 8 point frame with junk still nets over 200" non-typical.  Amazing.  AND it was shot by a 12 year old kid.  Pretty impresive, eh?

Another shot of my favorite buck.  He looks incredible.

Our buddy Byron Ferguson stopped by to say hi.  He's an amazing shot!

Former UFC Heavyweight champ Tim Sylvia stopped by and showed Richie whats up after a little smack talk.

Post Season Training: Next Season Starts Now

by Steve Flores 25. January 2012 13:01
Steve Flores

Now that most hunting seasons have closed, it is important to discuss a common “post-season” trap. And, while it may seem innocent in nature, make no mistake it is one that prevents a lot of bowhunters from reaching their maximum potential; with regard to bow shooting skills, number of tags filled and even overall physical fitness. I understand that after many long months chasing your favorite game animal the urge to “take it easy” for a while can be overwhelming. However, if you want next season to be better than last season, now is the absolute best time to work toward that goal. Later, in subsequent blogs, we will discuss Hunting Prowess (tags filled), and Physical Fitness in more detail. But for now, let’s take a closer look at the first of these three areas: Shooting Skill. 

Your favorite treestand may be sitting dormant, but that doesn't mean that the time for perparation is over. 

Shooting Skills
You don’t have to be a competitive shooter to be a successful bowhunter. In reality, perhaps the most deciding factor in closing the deal on your next bowhunting opportunity comes down to 2 things: muscle memory and your ability to handle pressure. Thankfully, if you put enough time into actually shooting your bow, muscle memory will take care of itself. This is important because you might believe that you can talk yourself through such details as picking a spot, bending at the waste, relaxing your shooting hand or squeezing the release trigger----all in the heat of the moment! But, the truth is, you will most likely forget, simply because your heart will be in your throat. I know because I have tried. It should come as no surprise that my odds of success were very low during those seasons when I tried to will my way through tough shooting situations. 

The off-season is a great time to introduce advanced shooting techniques such as "Blind-Bale Shooting" into your practice regimen.

During those seasons when I failed to pick up my bow until late summer, I was essentially “relearning” all of the skills I had worked so hard on during the previous year. As a result, even though I was practicing, I wasn’t really making any strides in my ability to shoot well. Thankfully, I wasn’t loosing much either. But honestly, I definitely wasn’t getting any better. I quickly learned that maintaining some form of consistency during the off-season was the only way to really improve my proficiency to hit what I was aiming at in actual hunting situations. Some of this included just slinging arrows in the back yard. A good deal of it however, entailed actually shooting from a treestand, long-range shooting, and even up close, blank-bale shooting. 

Shooting from the ground, in a kneeling position, while wearing a face-mask, can affect your odds of filling a tag; especially if you wait until the moment of truth to find out if doing so alters such things as anchor point and arrow flight.

I should also mention how important it is to make a good deal of your practice time “situational”. For example, if you primarily hunt above “terra-firma”, then you should conduct the majority of your practice sessions from a treestand. This will only add “realism” to the situation and better prepare you for the real thing; and, what better time to do this than during the boring winter months. In addition, shooting outside when it is cold allows you to evaluate your cold-weather gear for any potential interference problems with the bowstring. This can be hard to do in the heat of summer or just before opening day when temps are still high. 


While everyone else is spending time doing something non-archery related, why not try out a new grip or arrow and broadhead combination. The new Mathews Focus grip is great for reducing hand-torque and the new NAP Big Nasty broadhead, along with the new Easton INJEXION arrows should prove to be leathal. It's never too late to start dialing things in and testing new gear.

Your ability to handle a pressure situation in the treestand can be increased by spending time behind the bowstring. There is no question that when your shooting skills improve----your confidence goes up. When your confidence goes up, so does your ability to manage pressure; simply because you expect to perform well. The old cliché that archery is 90% mental carries a lot of merit. Even if you only shoot a few arrows a week, that is better than laying the bow down for the entire off-season (until just a few weeks before opening day).


When the moment I have worked so hard for finally arrives......I want nothing more than to deliver. For me, this starts in the off-season.

I like to think that my bow is an extension of my arm. I maintain that feeling by making sure I don’t let too much time go by without launching some arrows downrange. When faced with an actual shot on a living, breathing animal, I want my mind and body to go into sort of an “auto-pilot” mode. That way, all I have to do is find the single hair I want to split….nothing more. Of course, I am only human and completely capable of screwing things up. However, I can decrease the chances of that happening by constantly sharpening my shooting skills----year round. 

Next time we will discuss ways to improve our ability to fill tags. Again, post season is the optimum time-frame to accomplish this. However, there is more to it than aimlessly stumbling through the woods. You need to have a plan.

High Mountain Success

by Steve Flores 27. December 2011 06:08
Steve Flores

With so many rolling hills, food plots, and big buck sightings, it’s easy for an eastern guy to be a little jealous of his “mid-western” bowhunting brothers. After all, such particulars are seldom enjoyed in my neck of the woods. Still, the goal remains the same…..arrow a whitetail buck; plain and simple. So, in an effort to see that this goal is reached it is important that I keep my edge throughout the season. This includes not only my shooting form, but my body as well. Hunting whitetails in the rugged hills of southern WV is no walk in the park, and typically, one shot is all I get…if I’m lucky. Therefore, when the opportunity does arrive, I want to do everything in my power to close the deal. This begins and ends with “in-season” shooting, along with a steady dose of cardio and weight training.

So often, once the season begins, we find little time for shooting practice. However, it only takes a few arrows to keep shooting form and muscle memory intact. For me, this means sneaking outside the house to sling a few arrows whenever time allows; even if it is only one shot. This, by nature, more closely resembles real-life hunting scenarios; as opposed to haphazardly launching dozens of arrows into my 3-D target.


 It only takes a few arrows a day to keep muscle memory intact and shooting form polished. 

The season started out slow, which is typical of big-timber bowhunting, with little deer sightings. With so much territory to roam, it can be extremely difficult to nail down a good buck before the rut begins in November. Therefore, I usually keep a low profile and work the “fringes” of my hunting areas in an effort not to disturb the does before the bucks are actually on their feet cruising.

Early season can be a frustrating time for the big timber bowhunter. Patience is the best medicine for success. 

As November rolled around, I found myself perched in my favorite rut stand; located adjacent to a small doe bedding area, within a natural funnel. As the early morning sun broke through the dark grey clouds, I caught movement down the steep hillside below. Realizing that I was watching a buck cruise for does, I grabbed my grunt tube and let out a few soft “uurrppss” in an effort to get his attention. Watching him walk in the opposite direction I assumed my efforts had failed.

 Big Woods whitetails are like ghosts. If you encounter a good one consider yourself blessed.

Little to my knowledge, the savvy buck was simply using the terrain to his advantage in order to close the distance between us. Within minutes, the love-crazed whitetail was coming straight at me; grunting every step of the way. When he got within range I slowly brought my Mathews ez7 to full draw and waited for him to turn broadside. Just as he turned I settled the pin on my Trijicon sight high on his shoulder and stopped him with a mouth grunt; focusing on the single hair I wanted to split until the bow simply fired. The NAP Thunderhead Razor broadhead zipped through him like a hot knife through butter. In an instant he bolted straight away. However, his journey didn’t last long. Within seconds he was doing the “death sway” as he staggered and fell to the ground. Settling into my Lone Wolf stand I sat down and thanked God for the blessing I had just been given. 

The combination of an NAP Thunderhead Razor broadhead and NAP Quick fletch proved lethal.

The blood trail was nothing short of amazing!

 Nothing sweeter than High Mountain Success!

The following week, I filled my second archery tag on another mountain whitetail. This particular buck was caught cruising through one of my favorite hunting spots. What makes it so special is that it is located in a ridge top saddle, next to a bedding thicket, and is loaded with oak trees that drop acorns like rain. When the rut is on, or any time of year for that matter, it is dynamite spot to arrow a deer. Also, it should be noted that this buck was shot with the same NAP Thunderhead Razor that I took my first buck with. After simply re-sharpening the blades, the broadhead was just as deadly as it was the day it came out of the package. But don’t take my word for it. See the blood trail below and decide for yourself.

 Same NAP Broadhead....Same result!

  The combination of quality gear, a lot of patience, and Blessings from above, made this a great year. Happy Holidays! 


The Rut Finally Comes To Illinois

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where Have All the Bucks Gone?

by Justin Zarr 18. November 2011 10:18
Justin Zarr

I don't know about the rest of you bowhunters out there, but this year's rut and poor hunting conditions have about got me beat! I've been hunting relatively hard, when time and work permits, since the end of October with very little success since my last Blog entry.

Contrary to what a lot of people think, I don't get to hunt every day. Like most of you who read this I have a regular job that keeps me occupied from Monday to Friday and the vast majority of my hunting is done on the weekends. That usually leaves me enough time for about 20 to 30 sits per year in stand, with only a third of those being during prime time. So when the sun is shining, I've got to make hay!

Sometimes I wonder why I even bother rattling.  It never seems to work for me.

The weekend of November 6th & 7th should have, by all accounts, been pretty good. We were just approaching the full moon and the weather was decent. However, after three hunts that weekend I had seen a grand total of 5 deer. The only bucks that showed up were a couple of love sick year and a half olds. Certainly not the caliber of deer that Mike and I are looking for.  Although they make for some entertaining hunts, after the first few you start to question whether or not a bigger buck is ever going to show up.

This little guy was right under my stand as I filmed him.  He had no idea Mike and I were perched just 15 feet above him.

I really nice 1 1/2 year old buck that Mike grunted in last weekend.  Give him a few years and he may be worthy of a shot.

The following weekend was much of the same. 4 sits yielded a total of 9 deer and again nothing with antlers older than a year and a half. High winds, a nearly full moon and warming temperatures certainly didn't help deer movmement, but I thought I would have seen SOMETHING moving around.

When you're sitting in your treestand in the morning waiting for the sun to come up and the moon is so bright you can almost shoot, it's usually not a good sign.

On Friday evening (11/11), at the end of a frustrating sit I did shoot a nice big doe that came out into a corn field in front of me. With shooting light fading and a 35+ yard shot I never saw exactly where my arrow hit her, but I was 99% confident the shot was good. However, after not seeing the deer drop in sight and not finding much blood I elected to wait until the morning to recover her. Unfortunately the local coyotes had different plans in mind as they found my doe, just over the rise out of site from my stand. Figures.

Although I double lunged this doe, the entrance and exit holes were both high which resulted in a poor blood trail.  Electing to let her lay overnight I was disappointed to find the coyotes got to her before I did.  Ironically, she was only 40 yards away from where I had followed the blood trail, but was unable to find her after dark.

Besides the lack of buck sightings from stand, it's been a tough year for trail cameras too. My trail cameras are working hard for me, but the big guys just don't seem to be cooperating. Despite my best efforts to local another shooter buck, I haven't found anything that really gets me excited for these cold November (and soon December) mornings.

Bucks like the one seen here have been frequent visitors to my Tink's mock scrapes, but the big guys have been eluding me so far.

This big guy we nicknamed "Goldberg" has been a frequent visitor in front of our Stealth Cam Prowlers, but with a busted main beam he's off the hit list for this year.  I just hope a neighbor doesn't get him during gun season.  If he makes it, he'll scare you next year.

Now that gun season is on here in Illinois I'll be limited to hunting my spot in bow-only Lake County, which unfortuantely isn't holding many trophy bucks this fall. The biggest buck I have on camera is a spindly 10 point that may have grossed in the mid 120's before he busted off a few of his tines!

"Spud Webb" before he busted off his right G2 and possibly several other tines.  Not a bad buck, but not exactly the caliber of deer I'm looking to put my 2nd buck tag on.

Okay, I guess I shouldn't be complaining too much here. All things considered I've had a really good season. I've harvested 3 deer, all on film, one of which is my biggest buck ever. That buck, which you can read about by clicking here, ended up gross scoring just over 158 inches which is far bigger than I originally thought. Although I'm not looking forward to another taxidermy bill, I won't mind admiring him for years to come.

So with all of that said, it's certainly not time to give up now! There's nearly 2 months of season left here in Illinois and if I want to fill my 2nd buck tag I'm going to have to keep hunting hard. So tomorrow morning when I'm in my Lone Wolf stand with Mathews in hand, I'll try to picture my tag wrapped around 150 inches of antler I know could be around the next tree.


Stan Potts' First Velvet Whitetail

by Brenda Potts 18. September 2011 09:41
Brenda Potts

After more than 45 years of bowhunting, Stan finally got his first whitetail buck in velvet, and it is quite a trophy. With 16 scorable points, the basic framed 7 x 5 with 4 stickers, grosses 197 4/8 inches.

Four strategies came together to let Stan kill this buck. First, they had a couple photos on a trail camera that let them know the buck was on the property. Second, topo maps and aerial photos gave an indication of how the buck might be moving to and from bedding and food sources. Third, a small, early season, green field food plot located in a very secluded timber setting was key to catching this buck on his feet in daylight hours. And fourth, an unbelievable intuitive knowledge of big buck habits honed over many years of bowhunting, combined with confidence in the stand choice is what finally pulled it all together. This was a non-guided hunt on private property we just leased in western Kentucky. No outfitter was involved.

Stan and cameraman Barry Greenhaw went in a few days prior to the Kentucky bow opener to scout and learn the property. They had never been on this farm before and had only just recently closed the deal on the lease. They quickly hung 4 double stand sets for filming and tried not to disturb the property.

The KY bow season opened with super hot temps in the high 90s. They decided not to hunt at all the first day. On the second afternoon, t he temps weren't much better and they only saw a few deer from the stand that afternoon. Stan poured over the topo maps and aerial photos of the farm. They didn't want to spend time on foot going through the property any more than they had to for fear of putting the big buck off his pattern. He decided by looking at the maps the most logical place for the buck to be bedded was on some benches in a big drainage.  He predicted the buck would be using the drainage to go to and from a secluded green food plot.

The weather cooled off on Monday. The stand location they decided to hunt was nearly half a mile from where they had trail camera photos of the buck, but Stan felt sure the buck would eventually use the drainage to feed.

I drove them to the stand in a utility vehicle Monday afternoon. There were already does and fawn in the field and they scattered when we approached. I waited until they were in the treestands before pulling out of the field. Stan said it wasn't 10 minutes before they deer came back out. Eventually a doe got downwind of them and spooked all the deer out of the food plot. After 45 minutes Barry spotted a buck stepping out of the timber into the foot plot. It was the buck they were after!

A second buck a 150 class 10 pointer was with him. That deer was broadside at 20 yards for about 10 minutes but the buck Stan wanted most did not present a good shot. He was either quartering toward or behind, or in front of the other buck. Finally after what seemed like an eternity, but was probably more like 10 minutes, the buck began to move toward another one that had just appeared. This gave Stan the chance he had been waiting for. The shot was broadside at about 20 yards. With Mathews in hand he sent his broadhead to its mark and the deer didn't go far, going down in the timber. Footage from the hunt will be on Mathews Dominant Bucks TV (Outdoor Channel) and North American Whitetail TV (Sportsmen Channel) next year.



Broadhead Review - NAP Thunderhead Razor

by Steve Flores 6. September 2011 14:31
Steve Flores

Each fall the scenario is the same. Months of summer shooting has built confidence to the bursting point as arrow after (field point tipped) arrow lands exactly where you want it to. Opening day draws near and you decide that it is time to dust off your broadheads and give them a practice shot or two. With confidence still breaming from beneath your camo hat, you draw, come to anchor, find your aiming point, and release. Much to your dismay, your broadhead tipped arrow flies well off the mark; nowhere near the point of impact you experienced during the previous months. It is odd, but in that one instance, all of the shooting confidence you had, which took months to acquire, suddenly slips away….effortlessly. With arrows that are impacting in different locations, and only weeks (maybe days) to correct the problem, panic often ensues and shooting prowess suffers. 

Months of summer shooting and the confidence it builds can quickly vanish when field points are replaced with your actual hunting setup.

Like a lot of bowhunters, I have experienced this dilemma. It isn’t fun. Even with a highly tuned bow, and arrows that have been meticulously constructed (see additional blogs), I have had very little luck getting any type of fixed-blade broadhead to fly like my field points. I have heard it said that no broadhead will fly like a field point. Honestly, I used to believe that. I mean, after all, when you replace a bullet shaped nose with one bearing “wings”, arrow-flight is bound to get dicey. And for the most part, it always did. That was, until I started using products from New Archery Products, also known as NAP. 

The New NAP Thunderhead Razor exhibited the best flight characteristics of any fixed-blade broadhead I have ever tested.

As an outdoor writer and bloger, I am sometimes approached with the prospect of using certain hunting items. In addition, some of the products I use are a direct result of relationships I have built in the outdoor industry. I receive product, and in return, I use it and promote it whenever I can. This leads some to believe that I have no choice but to churn-out “good ink” for sponsors.
In reality, I value my efforts and time spent in the timber too much to take chances with faulty equipment, sponsor or not. Simply put, if I don’t believe in something I won’t use it. So, when I was faced with the prospect of trying out some new fixed-blade broadheads, I was a little more than skeptical. Why? Well, I guess it is because I’ve never been able to find one that flew like my field points. Even more, most never flew with the dart-like characteristics of a field point tipped arrow. Instead, they mostly wobbled off of an obvious center-line all the way to the target. As a result, I had turned to a highly effective mechanical-style broadhead for all of my hunting. 
With these experiences in the back of my mind I headed out to the back yard target. My first shot landed a field-point tipped arrow into the bulls-eye at 30 yards. Cool, but it was time for the real test. Next, I placed a new, out-of-the box, NAP Thunderhead Razor to the end of my Carbon Express Mach 5 arrow and came to full draw. When my broadhead nearly cut my other arrow in half I immediately saw visions of a downed buck. However, I tried to contain my excitement for a few more minutes. Retrieving my arrow I quickly scurried back to 50 yards and again drew back with the Thunderhead tipped arrow. Realizing that this distance would surely reveal any imperfections, not only in my shooting form, but the arrow, broadhead, fletching combination I was using, I wasn’t expecting the same outcome I had received at the closer 30 yard distance. 

Field-point and broadhead groups like this, shot at 50 yards, can only mean one thing.....dead-on accuracy.

When the release trigger broke, I watched as the arrow flew with laser like precision and dead-centered the baseball-size dot. Words can’t explain my excitement. Finally, after so much time spent searching, I had found a deadly accurate, fixed-blade broadhead. Shot after shot proved that my setup, and meticulous attention to detail while building my arrows, had paid off. More importantly, was the fact that I was using quality broadheads combined with unique arrow fletching. 

Without a doubt, the business end of the Razor is very intimidating. This thing will definately let some blood flow.

The NAP Thunderhead has been around for a long time. However, with advancements in technology, the flight characteristics of this new (Razor) fixed-blade head are amazing. With a micro-grooved ferrule, off-set blades, and patented trophy-tip point, the Thunderhead Razor delivers accuracy and bone-splitting penetration, while providing a 1 1/8” cutting diameter. Certainly that is plenty of medicine for a big-timber, WV buck or anything else I may encounter this fall. In addition, the Razor comes fully assembled and ready to shoot right out of the box. That means you don’t have to spend time assembling the blades onto the ferrule.  

I hope to introduce this guy to my new broadhead of choice very soon.

If you’ve tried to get your fixed-blade broadheads to fly true but seem to be coming up short, maybe it’s time to give the  Thunderhead Razor a try before opening day. In my humble opinion, when you combine this head with precisely made arrows and the awesome NAP Quick Fletch system, you will experience the type of hunting accuracy that will drive nails and launch confidence into the next stratosphere. Visit for more info.

Meet ProStaff Member John Muellers Target Buck - Bakers Dozen

by John Mueller 18. August 2011 14:48
John Mueller

Well it took until the middle of August, but I finally got a MONSTER on one of my trail cameras. It had been a slow summer with only a few shooters and some 2 year old teaser bucks showing up on the trail cameras. That is until “Baker’s Dozen” showed up. He is truly a monster buck by anyone’s standards. He is a beautiful 12 pointer with a small sticker off his left G-2.

My jaw hit the floor when I saw these pictures.

I had put out my trail camera next to a soy bean field on a small farm close to home where I have permission to hunt. I’ve had a camera overlooking this area all summer hoping for a good buck to show up. While I did get a few bucks frequenting the area throughout the summer there wasn’t really a buck I wanted to shoot showing up here with any regularity. So on my way home from work one night I stopped and pulled the camera so I could hang it on a new farm I will be hunting this season. After I downloaded the pictures and found “Baker’s Dozen” on a few of them I wished I had left the camera there to see if he would be a regular visitor or if he was just passing through. But now I’m glad I didn’t leave it there. I plan on staying out of that area until the first time I hunt it, carrying my Lone Wolf climbing stand and setting up an ambush.

Here's another shot of "Baker's Dozen", my #1 target buck for 2011.

His rack actually makes his body look small in this picture.

My question is, where has this deer been all summer and why hasn’t he showed up before now? I could see if it was the rut and he was traveling all over searching for hot does but this is the middle of the summer and I always thought that bucks were pretty much home bodies this time of year. He has everything he needs right in the immediate area. There is a soybean field 10 yards away and a small pond less than 100 yards through the woods, plus there are good bedding areas located nearby too. A storm went through this area and blew down a lot of trees making a jungle out a good chunk of the woods.

I wish he would have posed a little better and stood still.

I’ll admit it I will be spending a good deal of time hunting this buck. Unfortunately this is a small property so I have to be careful not to over hunt it and push him off of it if he is using it at least part of the time. I wish I could go back there and glass the soybean field from a distance, but there is no way to get far enough away to not be at risk of getting detected. So I guess I’ll just plan my hunts like he is hanging out there. I’ll probably hunt it a few times early in the season trying to catch him headed out to the beans. They should be green for a while, they are wheat stubble beans. Then I’ll spend a few all day sits during the rut, when this type of deer is in his most vulnerable state, looking for love.

Wish me luck!

Pre-Season Training - Preparing the Body for Tough Terrain

by Steve Flores 1. June 2011 15:24
Steve Flores

 When it comes to preparing for the upcoming season, a lot of bowhunters begin by shooting a few arrows in the backyard, attending a couple of 3-D shoots, and maybe hanging a stand or two. And while those things are definitely on the list of “things to do” before opening day, there is a different kind of training that you may not have even considered, but will likely affect the outcome of your season nonetheless. I’m talking about preparing your body.
 Now, I understand that for a great deal of hunters, the otherwise flat terrain of the mid-west doesn’t seem so ominous. But, for those of us bowhunting in the east or west, tough terrain is part of the deal. Likewise, our inability to handle it can significantly lower our chances of success. That is, unless we prepare our body for the rigorous demands a typical hunting season can throw at us.
 This preparation should include a good dose of cardiovascular conditioning, as well as weight training. However, like a lot of guys, weight training typically means upper-body workouts. You know what I mean, the kind that makes the T-shirt fit a little tighter in the chest and arms. Well, that’s all fine and good, especially for the beach or lake. Not to mention, upper-body conditioning is good for balancing heavy backpacks, drawing back the bowstring in cold weather, and climbing up and down trees in the pre-dawn darkness. However, when it comes to “mountain” hunting, the legs feed the wolf! 

 If you’re searching for an exercise that develops muscle strength for the mountains, the Squat is hard to beat.

Let’s start with a great all around, mass building leg exercise, The Squat. Often referred to as the “mother” of all compound exercises (the squat) is great for developing tone, power, and muscle strength. However, if you’ve never performed the squat before, it will take some time to master the movement safely and effectively. And, as always, check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.

Executing the Squat
Start by getting under the loaded bar (with a weight that is safe and comfortable) and placing your feet flat on the floor. Next, take a foot stance that feels comfortable. This usually means your feet should be about shoulder width apart.

 Keeping your feet shoulder width apart will provide a strong stable base in order to execute the exercise safely.

Remember to point your feet and toes forward in order to help stabilize your body, and make sure your knees remain over your toes at all times! This stance of pointing the toes forward and keeping the knees aligned over your toes throughout the range of motion will help emphasize your thighs and not your knees during the lift. 

Never place the weight of the bar directly on the neck. Let the large Trapezius muscles handle the load.

Next, let the bar rest on the trapezius muscle, not the neck! The bar should be placed as far back as possible on the” traps” for the weight to be safely distributed. Next, place your hands around the bar and take a grip that allows you to keep the weight balanced and stabilized. Now, lift the weight by extending your legs and NOT your back! Thrust your hips forward but do not stick your butt out. Pulling with your abdominals, keep your lower back in a near neutral position. However, a slightly arched back might be unavoidable, but try as much as possible. Be sure to tighten your whole body when you perform the squat. This will ensure that your chest, abs, arms and back assists in lifting the weight, in addition to the legs and hips.
Now, take one small step back, and then another in order to clear the top catch pins. Align your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart. 

Proper execution of the squat will involve more than your leg muscles. It is a total body effort for sure.

With your feet evenly spaced take a deep breath. Start the descent by shifting your hips backward and NOT with your knees bending. Slowly, in a controlled manner, lower the weight as if you are sitting down in a chair. The weight should be distributed on your upper thighs and the heels or balls of your feet, but not your toes or your knees. Do not dip below parallel when performing the squat. Explode through the bottom portion of the lift by driving your heels into the floor. Also, extend your chest outward and keep a close eye on the ceiling above you to keep your head and heck in the right position.

Once you have lowered yourself to a near or at parallel position, push up off of your heels and lift the weight while maintaining proper and safe form: this means using your upper thighs, calves, hamstrings, lower back, chest, back, arms and abs--every part of your body except your knees. Your back should be between a 90 and 45-degree angle throughout the entire movement for safe execution.
When you reach the top of the movement be sure not to lock out the knees. Stop just short and repeat the motion for a second rep. If you must rest during the set then by all means do so. But try to keep it short because stress will begin to build on the knees and back as you are standing there, catching your breath. Repeat for 8-10 reps depending on your goals.

The Lunge
The way a lunge works is pretty simple. You will start with a normal stance, holding two dumbbells at your sides. The weight of the dumbbells will vary depending on your current strength levels.


Proper form, rather than heavy weights, will yield better results when performing the lunge. Be sure to not to let the rear knee touch the floor, but instead, remain parallel. 

To begin, step forward in a position that mimics that of a fencer's lunge; one that places your rear knee about an inch or two above the ground. Then, by pushing off of the extended foot, you will return to the original starting position. Your dumbbell lunges are then performed by either alternating your legs or doing one side at a time.
In addition, you can remain in the same spot (stepping out and then back) or you can perform “walking” dumbbell lunges where you simply walk across the floor (stepping in the same manner).
Essentially, the lunge works all the muscles in the lower legs in a manner similar to the squat. However, unlike a squat, a lunge can really burn up the hamstrings (back of leg) and the Gluteus Maximus (buttocks). This is good for climbing over logs, rocks, or anything else that might be in your way. 

 The Smith Machine is a great tool, in addition to dumbbells, for performing the Lunge. The same movement and principles apply.

The Leg Extension
Sitting in a leg extension machine, place your legs behind the roller pads and grasp the machines handles (if available) or the sides of the bench.
Your knees should be bent at 90 degrees with the seat or bench pressing against the back of your legs (knees). Point your toes out in front of you. 

 Avoid the temptation to “rock” the weight up and down by swinging your upper body. This will only create stress on the knees and lower back.

Slowly extend (lift) your legs by raising your toes towards the ceiling. At the same time you should be contracting your quadriceps until your legs are almost straight out in front of you. Be sure not to lock out your knees at full extension. Hold that position for a split second, while flexing your quadriceps, and then slowly lower the weight in a controlled manner back to the starting point. That’s it.

Total body conditioning should be the goal of any bowhunter. But for those of us who hunt tough eastern and western terrain it is really a necessity. And, while bench presses and bicep curls will do wonders for the summer, remember come fall, it’s the legs that feed the wolf!


After the Shot—Clues to recovering your next whitetail

by Steve Flores 9. May 2011 14:50
Steve Flores

Months of preparation, hours and hours of practice time, days of hanging stand after stand, all come down to one split second, one opportunity to loose an arrow at the whitetail of your dreams, or at least, the whitetail of the moment.  When the shot finally happens there is a great sense of relief; especially if it is a solid hit.  However, before you start reaching for that tag there are a few steps that should be taken to ensure you make the right decisions during this very critical, but often overlooked, time.


Unless you witness your deer “topple-over”, don’t assume that you’ve made a lethal hit. Follow up with caution until your hands are wrapped around the antlers for real.

Remember the last Spot
If the deer you’ve just shot happens to run away, pay special attention to the very last place it was standing (or running) before loosing sight of it.  Look for easily recognizable landmarks such as rocks, downed trees or unique logs.  These will aid you in locating that “last spot seen” once you are actually on the ground because the topography will look vastly different once you climb out of your stand.  This can result in following the wrong trail and possibly loosing your deer.

There is a huge difference in how things look from 20 feet up in a treestand and ground level. This can add confusion to an already tedious moment in the hunt.

In addition, once the animal is no longer visible, you should pay special attention to any noise or racket in order to determine if your animal has crashed to the ground or has kept running.  Even fatally shot deer will run.  Some make it a short distance and fall dead, some run a little further before expiring.  Either way, there is no set distance to how far they can or will run; even if your arrow passes completely through the boiler room.

 Once your deer is out of sight, your sense of hearing should take over in order to detect the sound of cracking limbs or the overabundance of leaves rustling….followed by dead silence.

Find your Arrow
The reason it’s so vital to find your arrow is simple.  It holds a ton of clues as to the location of impact.  For instance, an arrow covered in bright red blood, filled with tiny air bubbles, indicates a solid lung hit.  An arrow with brown and green residue on it, accompanied by a “staunch” odor is typical of a gut shot animal.  And lastly, dark red blood on your arrow may be an indication of a liver hit. 

 You never really know what your arrow is going to do after it impacts flesh and bone. Therefore, it is vital to locate it if at all possible in order to better evaluate the situation.

If you typically experience trouble locating your arrow after the shot, there are several aftermarket items designed to help bowhunters not only find their arrow after the shot, but watch it while it is in flight as well.  One such product is “lighted” nocks.  Much like a tracer round fired from a rifle, arrows with lighted nocks are highly visible from the moment they leave the bowstring until the instant they disappear into hide and hair.  This makes determining exactly where your arrow impacted much easier; which in turn will help you make the best decisions about how badly the animal is hurt and when to take up the trail.

 Lighted nocks greatly enhance your ability to “track” your arrow in flight. Arrow “wraps” are also a good idea if you have trouble finding your arrow once it is on the ground.

Tic Toc, Tic Toc
You’ve found your arrow.  You’ve determine to the best of your ability what type of hit it was.  Now you must decide what to do.  For starters, even if I know my shot was on the money, I think it is a wise choice not to follow the blood trail for at least 20-30 minutes.  That may sound like a long time; especially if you know your buck is lying just around the point.  However, when you consider the time it takes to gather your composure, collect your gear, and climb down, such a waiting period will go by rather quickly. 

Climbing down too soon after the shoot can not only hurt your chances of recovering your deer, it can also increase the odds that you injure yourself.  Maneuvering down a tree while under the influence of adrenaline isn’t the smartest thing to do. Settle your nerves first, then climb down.

When it comes to recovering your deer, the “gut shot” doesn’t have to be the kiss of death.  The problem arises from bowhunters pushing deer too soon.  A gut shot deer is likely going to die.  The trick is to leave it alone and let it expire as closely to where you shot it as possible.  Since there will be very little blood to follow, it is vital that the deer drop within close proximity of your stand site.  Otherwise, a long tracking job usually results in a lost deer.
Gut shot deer get a minimum of 8 hours wait time in my book.  If I happen to make this shot right before last light, I will usually elect to return the next morning; making sure I leave the area as quietly as possible.  If it is the start of a hot, early season day, I will usually cut that time in half; hoping to recover the deer before meat spoilage occurs; making a bad situation even worse. 

 This buck was left to lay overnight after a suspected liver shot. Expecting to find the deer piled-up the next morning, the author and his hunting buddy were astonished when the bruiser sprang to his feet mere yards from them. A follow up shot by the author’s friend ended the 12 hour plus ordeal.

The same goes for liver shots.  This type of wound will definitely take down a whitetail.  However, ample time must be given before taking up the trail; especially if your broadhead doesn’t punch right through the center of this organ.  Of course, there is no way of knowing how well you hit the liver until you actually perform the field dressing chores.  Therefore, proceed with caution.

 Making the shot is only the beginning. The real work, as they say, begins afterward. Do your best to follow up your shot with a level head. The outcome of your hunt depends on it.

You’ve worked your tail off  to get to the point where you hear your bowstring jump forward and watch your arrow cut a straight path to its target.  Don’t screw things up now.  Take a moment to settle your nerves; watching and listening to everything around you.  Then, make your decisions based on the information you have collected.  If you do, the odds are pretty good you will make the right ones.


3D Shooting-The Perfect Pre-Season Warm up

by Steve Flores 1. May 2011 09:50
Steve Flores

When the moment of truth arrives we all want to deliver. In an effort to assure the likelihood that this happens, we spend countless hours hammering away at a target in the corner of the lawn. And while that type of practice strengthens shooting muscles it does little to prepare us for the real thing. Still, it seems to be the universal method for pre-season practice. However, if you really want to prepare for bow season, then you’ve got to get off of the ground and do some practicing from a treestand. But, that isn’t always possible and maybe your next adventure has nothing to do with being perched above terra-firma. Then what? How do you prepare for your hunt without shooting at a “block” of foam? Simple….head to the 3D course.


Shooting at the 3D range is as close as you can get to the real thing.

The beauty of 3D shooting is that it mimics real-life scenarios so closely. With varying distances to your target, shooters must rely on range estimation skills in order to make an accurate, killing shot. And while most pay particular attention to final scores, for the bowhunter simply wanting to sharpen his/her skills, “killing shots” are more important than hitting a 12 ring. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t strive for perfection (you can never be too accurate), just don’t live or die by your final score unless your goal is to be a competitive 3D shooter.

If you want to improve your hunting skills, shoot with the same equipment you plan to take afield.

Don’t worry about any special equipment or tools needed in order to get the most out of your time spent on the range. Your current setup is really all you need to become a better bowhunter. In fact, I would rather shoot with the exact setup I plan to hunt with. That way, I can learn the strengths and weaknesses of my rig before I take it hunting and make any necessary adjustments.


Bringing along friends adds a sense of realism to an already realistic situation.

If you really want to make things as realistic as possible, bring some friends along. When shooting amongst your peers you will feel an added sense of pressure to do well. This additional pressure will feel similar to what you experience when the shot happens for real and will better prepare you as a bowhunter. After awhile, you will hopefully be able to handle and manage this pressure and ideally perform well in spite of it. 


They may be great at stopping arrows and helping you sight in your pins, but targets such as these will not condition you for the certain change in scenery when you finally draw down on a live game animal. Prepare your “minds eye” for the real thing by practicing on a realistic target.

One major downfall associated with traditional practice is that no matter how vivid the imagination, it’s difficult to picture your 3-D target in its natural environment as it stands conveniently on a fresh cut lawn; especially if that target is a mind-numbing block of foam.  Imagine the shock to the nervous system if after months of staring through the peep sight at a dull square mass, you’re suddenly resting your pin on the chest of a trophy bull elk, whitetail, or long beard.  Wet noodles come to mind.

 All of the emotional ingredients found in the “real thing” can often be found on the 3D range as well.

If you want to be successful in the field, you can’t afford to simply draw back and shoot with little thought of the situation at hand.  The 3-d course will condition you to consider, and ultimately, shoot through various distractions (limbs, foliage, abrupt changes in terrain, watchful eyes of bystanders) in order to make a clean kill.  The lessons learned are invaluable. 


 There is a better way to prepare for your next hunting adventure and it isn’t in your backyard.

Certainly you can spend your days shooting at a target in the back yard and “maybe” get the job done.  I know a few archers that do just that.  However, if you’re looking for a way to raise the bar and become more proficient at driving an arrow into the sweet spot of your next trophy, it’s time to get out of the backyard.




Bow Review-Mathews eZ7

by Steve Flores 1. May 2011 09:06
Steve Flores

While a good deal of attention is being placed on the flagship Z7 Extreme, and rightfully so, it would be a mistake to overlook the other bows in the Mathews stable, more specifically, the new eZ7.  Without question, this is the smoothest bow I have ever had the pleasure to shoot.  Not only that, it is also deadly accurate.

 The eZ7 cam may look similar to systems of the past, but when combined with today’s technology, it becomes an essential part of an entirely new killing machine.

At the heart of the eZ7’s buttery smooth draw cycle is the cam system. This system is similar to that used on the DXT series of bows from years passed. Anyone who ever shot those bows can attest to how pleasant they were to pull back. However, don’t be fooled into thinking this is simply the “rehashing” of old technology. When you combine this cam system with the new Gridlock Riser, a slightly longer ATA than the original Z7, and the Reverse Assist Roller Guard, what you get is an amazingly quiet, super smooth bow that spits out arrows fast enough to kill anything that walks the planet. 

 Perfect balance best describes the Mathews little “e”.

And, while speed is a good thing, it doesn’t come free. Most often you must sacrifice drawing comfort and brace height. The trick when choosing a new bow is to find one that balances speed and accuracy. The Mathews eZ7 is a perfect example of discovering this balance point. With a 7” brace height and an IBO seed rating of 321, one could justifiably ask “what more could you want in a hunting bow?”

 Tight shooting situations prove no problem thanks to the effortless drawing motion of the eZ7.

Out of the box the eZ7 proved to be exactly what I expected. With very little time behind the string I opted to take it with me on a recent hunt in Kansas for wild turkey. Reaching full draw without being detected was easy because there was no need for excessive movement just to get the string back. This bow can be drawn without the common “point to the sky” movement I see from a lot of guys shooting aggressive speed bows. And, at my 70lb draw weight, which feels more like 60, it packed plenty of punch for long beards (or anything else standing downrange).

My new Gold Tip Pros held up exceptionally well to this 40-yard nock busting hit.

As I mentioned, the eZ7 is accurate. This point really hit home when I recently found myself busting nocks while sighting in a forty yard pin on a new sight I was testing. Results like that, this early into my pre-season warm up, really builds confidence.


 With plenty of options to choose from, you can customize your next Mathews with special colors schemes and weight options to suit your own style of shooting or hunting.

The addition of a second “Harmonic Stabilizer” adds weight to my rig which I like very much. While a good deal of bowhunters opt for a lightweight rig, I think heavier bows hold steadier at full draw and fight bow torque much better than featherweight setups but… each his own. 

Test drive this bow before making a final decision no matter what brand you may be considering.

Without a doubt, there are some amazing products coming out of Sparta, WI. But, take my advice and give each one a fair chance. If you do, I think you might just find a surprise or two…..I know I did. For me, the Mathews eZ7 is the ideal blend of speed, accuracy, and quiet shooting personified.




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!











Mike Lutt's Incredible Season of Nine P&Y

by Brenda Potts 25. February 2011 13:27
Brenda Potts

It is not unusual for a person who hunts for a living to kill nine animals with a bow in one season. It is great deal harder for the guy who works two jobs and can only hunt on weekends or vacations. Being self employed does help, as in the case of Mike Lutt, a taxidermist in the fall and winter, and landscaper in spring in summer. During the 2010 hunting season Mike tagged nine animals, all of which qualify for the Pope and Young record book.

"During a normal year I usually shoot 3 to 4 animals," said Mike. "But with the kids out of the house and an employee who stays behind to take care of the animals coming in to the taxidermy shop, I was able to spend more time hunting this past year."

It started with antelope in the early season. Mike got permission to hunt on some private property in Wyoming. The landowner, Jay Butler has since decided to start an outfitting business and Mike helped him book 20 clients for his new Antelope Outfitters.

In late August he shot a mule deer, still in velvet, on public land in Colorado. It was the second day of the season and he was spot and stalking mule deer coming off private land onto public land. He watched the buck for a couple of days, and was able to sneak up on the bedded buck and make the shot.

Mike shot another antelope, this time using a decoy, while hunting in South Dakota. The buck was in a wide open area of a wheat stubble field. Mike laughs at how they all hid behind a single decoy. "We had a guy who was 6 foot 4 inches tall holding the decoy, a cameraman that was 6 foot 2 inches, and me, all behind this decoy." But the ploy worked and it was all captured on film, as were most of the hunts for the season.

A 33 inch wide hard antlered mule deer was the next buck to wear Mike's tag. He was hunting on private property owned by a friend in South Dakota, in September.  On the first attempt as spot and stalking the buck in a sunflower field, he missed the buck at 20 yards. This did not discourage the hunter.  He kept after the buck and finally shot him 4 days later in the same field.
While hunting another buck in Nebraska that same month, Mike spotted him in velvet . He was hunting on an Indian reservation. Although it was private property you still had to draw the tag for the area. Circumstances did not allow Mike to take a shot until a few days later when he found that same buck, now hard antlered, feeding on acorns. The Hoyt Alpha Max performed as expected and another P&Y was added to the list.

In November, Mike headed to Iowa with a buck decoy. He set up near a spot where a big 160 class buck traveled a fence. The spot where the buck normally jumped the fence was near a scrape and an alfalfa field.  Everything worked as planned and the big buck presented a 4-yard shot. Needless to say, another buck went down.
In late November Mike was in his home state of Nebraska , cold calling for rutting bucks. He rattled in 2 bucks from 80 yards away. The bucks circled each other, but soon left. Mike quickly grunted and brought the buck back within range. The only problem was the buck came in head on to 5 yards. "He saw me and we stared at each other for 5 minutes. I know it was at least 5 minutes because my video camera shuts off automatically after 5 minutes of no activity. The buck turned toward the other buck that was also returning and offered me a good shot." Mike took the shot.

Buck number 8 came from a walk-in property in northern Kansas. "It was 2 degrees," Mike recalled.  "I had the decoy out and saw a buck chasing a doe. I think the doe saw the decoy first. She came closer, then a 150 inch 4x4 crossed the creek and gave me a 5 yard shot.

Mike finished the season on his own property in Nebraska. The year before he had passed on a nice buck that he rattled in. In early December he had another chance at him. "I grunted at him and he stood still for 5 to 10 minutes before finally making his way to 20 yards."  Once again, Mike connected on his trophy.

Most of his hunts from last fall can be seen in the Great Plains Edition of Bill Winke's television show. After the hunting season Mike goes to work in his taxidermy business, mounting about 100 deer between January and April. Then he switches gears and directs 25 employees in his landscaping business until late summer. When fall returns, Mike will be back in the field filming, hunting and working hard for another great season.








Perfecting the Whitetail Shot: Off-Season Prep

by Steve Flores 22. February 2011 14:07
Steve Flores

Don’t let the title fool you. While it may suggest improving shots on whitetails, without question the following technique can be applied to any type of big, or small, game hunting you do with a bow and arrow. Although this technique may appear to be simple on paper (or on a computer screen), in reality it is one of the hardest things to do simply because as archers and bowhunters…..old habits die hard. However, if you hope to live up to your full potential as both, it would do you good to consider incorporating one little detail into your shot sequence. I am talking about SQUEEZING THE SHOT.  
Squeezing the shot, as opposed to simply yanking the trigger the instant your sight pin lands on the spot you want to hit, has the ability to make you a more deadly shot on live game. It does so by forcing your brain to slow down and focus on one thing, squeezing, at a time when it would rather just turn itself off. Those few extra seconds spent making sure you slowly squeeze the shot, almost guarantees you don’t pull the trigger before your sight pin is even near the vitals; which, by the way, is a leading cause of botched opportunities.
Rushing the shot is a common defense mechanism used by our subconscious mind in order to escape a situation we are uncomfortable with. For instance, trying to hold it together while drawing back on the buck of your dreams will likely create a felling of anxiety, excitement, and extreme nervousness. Naturally, you will want to escape such a situation and the absolute easiest way to do that is to launch your arrow downrange. Once the arrow is gone, that uncomfortable situation is over. Unfortunately, you have to live with the realization that you just blew the shot of your life. Squeezing the trigger on your release aid will counteract most shot ruining tendency.

However, understanding the need to squeeze the shot, and actually performing it are two completely different things. In order to make this technique work you’ve got to have the right equipment. In my experience, I have found the best training tool for this type of shooting is a release-aid with a spring trigger. The reason is that, at least for me, it was too easy to revert back to my old ways and just jerk the trigger while using a standard trigger post. Therefore, it was imperative that I used an approach that wouldn’t allow me to fall back into my old habits. The spring trigger was just the tool I needed.


Whatever release aid you choose, be sure that it does not allow you to fire the shot by punching the trigger.

My release of choice is the Scott Little Bitty Goose Deluxe. The Deluxe series of releases comes with three interchangeable trigger posts. The most important one being the spring trigger. What makes this spring trigger so important is its ability to prevent you from punching the trigger. If you try to punch the trigger, the spring simply flexes back and nothing happens. On the other hand, if you slowly squeeze the spring, it will activate the trigger and the bow will fire by complete surprise; which is exactly what you want to happen. Be warned though, getting use to shooting this way will not be easy. In fact, it could very well be one of the most difficult things you do. However, the payoff is astronomical. Once you master the process of squeezing the shot, you will have more shooting confidence than you ever imagined.
Start off by shooting up close, with your eyes closed, at a fairly large target. This is called “Blind Bale” practice and the purpose of it is to ingrain, in your subconscious mind, what it feels like to squeeze the shot. When you first start trying to shoot this way, your eyes and your mind are going to fight you so your best option is to attack things at the subconscious level first. Therefore, with every squeeze of the release, try your best to note how it feels when the shot takes you by surprise. Without any visual stimulus, your mind will be free to concentrate on those feelings, recognize them, and ultimately, try to repeat them later when your eyes are open and you are shooting for real. After several weeks of blind bale practicing you can open your eyes and start shooting at the target in the usual manner. Stay close to the target until you are comfortable shooting at that distance and then slowly progress further and further away.

In order to fully relax while shooting with your eyes closed, try to find a quiet, private place to conduct your training.

Another important thing to remember is to let your sight pin float around the target spot. Do not attempt to hold it steady. That will only result in frustration and lead to target panic/anxiety. Just be conscious of where your pin is at in relation to where you want your arrow to hit and then forget about it. Let it float around the spot. Your job is to burn a hole through that spot with your mind while you are squeezing the shot. Before you know it, your arrow will be gone. And with it, those feelings of panic, anxiety, and the overwhelming urge to rush the shot.

A spring trigger can still be used for hunting purposes. Just remember, the closer your index finger is to the base of the spring the less it will bend; reacting much like a regular trigger during the shot.

With most big-game seasons closed, now is the perfect time to start revamping your shot technique. Before you know it you will be marking the X on your next big game trophy. Better yet, get started now and reap the rewards in a few short months. Remember, it won’t be long until it is time to chase some Thunder-Chickens!

CWD Found in Maryland Whitetail!

by Bow Staff 13. February 2011 02:16
Bow Staff

Just weeks after the state of Minnesota announced its first confirmed case of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in a wild deer, the state of Maryland just confirmed the same within its own borders. Is this madness ever going to stop!

On February 10th, 2011, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) received the laboratory confirmation from a wild deer that was taken by a hunter in November of 2010. The deer was taken in the Green Ridge State Forest, Alleghany County, Maryland.

Paul Peditto, Director of Maryland’s DNR Wildlife and Heritage Service recently addressed the situation stating, "Our team of wildlife professionals has been preparing for this result for some time so we are well-informed and ready to limit the impact of this event. We have sampled intensively for this disease and see this as an unfortunate but somewhat inevitable outcome. The good news is that our preparation and planning ensure a sound scientific foundation for our response to this single positive test result. With the continued cooperation of hunters, farmers, deer processors and landowners who have supported our monitoring effort, we will manage this deer disease consistent with the best available science and with minimal impact on our deer population and the people who enjoy these great animals."

While it is still unclear at this time what response the Maryland DNR will have to combat this disease, Peditto would conclude, "Maryland will continue to work closely with the wildlife professionals in our adjacent states to share information and coordinate response efforts. However, our primary goal is to ensure the public is fully-informed and knows what we know when we know it. We want to be certain that every interested Marylander understands this disease and recognizes that there is no risk to people, pets or domestic livestock. As in every other state with CWD, we will respond appropriately while ultimately learning to live with this disease with little impact to our wildlife or citizens."

The state of Maryland has been testing its wild whitetail deer population since 1999, in which nearly 6,800 animals have been tested. In 2010, following the recent positive CWD cases in nearby West Virginia and Virginia, sampling efforts concentrated on the Alleghany and western Washington County areas.

Bowhunting.Com would like to hear from its many followers from the great state of Maryland. Does this confirmed case of CWD within your state alarm you? What efforts would you like to see your DNR take to combat this disease? As always, please leave your comments below. Thank you!


CWD Confirmed in Minnesota Whitetail.

by Mike Willand 1. February 2011 13:07
Mike Willand

The first confirmed case of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has just been confirmed in Minnesota by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. The deer was taken by a hunter in November of 2010 near Pine Island, located in the southeastern part of the state.

State of Minnesota Wildlife Officials are taking the disease as a serious concern to the overall health of the state’s whitetail deer herd. Since 2002, the DNR has tested more than 32,000 whitetail, 60 elk, and 90 moose all in attempts for the earliest possible detection in order to combat the disease.

Acting quickly in response to this confirmed case, Minnesota Board of Animal Health has established a CWD-endemic area which includes the area where the deer was taken and any land within a 10-mile radius of there.

Over the next several weeks the DNR will be taking information as well as investigating the entire Pine Island area. Minnesota hunters, landowners, and residents can expect a public meeting to be held sometime in February following these findings.

First found in Wisconsin’s wild deer herd dating back to 2002, CWD can now be found in 15 different states and provinces. Although considered not fatal to humans, CWD is fatal to deer, elk, and moose.

Bowhunting.Com would like to hear your opinion on controlling CWD in your own or any state. Do you believe Minnesota DNR is already over-reacting to just a single positively tested CWD deer? If your state already has CWD, do you believe your state has properly controlled the disease? How? Or, are you one of those conspiracy theorists who believe CWD to be made up by the major insurance companies? We want to hear from you no matter what you believe. Please leave comments below. Thank you!


Categories: Blog | Bowhunting Blogs

NEW Wisconsin Bowhunting Record Whitetail Buck! It's Official!

by Bow Staff 28. January 2011 06:04
Bow Staff

Taking the largest typical whitetail buck with a bow is often referred to as the ‘holy grail’ of hunting throughout the state of Wisconsin. A mere four years ago it would fall to a Dunn county bowhunter by the name of Barry Rose. That incredible buck would net 187 2/8 total inches!

Move over Mister Rose!

Taken on November 2nd, 2010 the new top buck has officially netted 187 5/8 total inches - just 3/8 an inch bigger than Barry Rose’s 2006 giant! This buck was taken by bowhunter Brian Inda of Wautoma while bowhunting his new lease near Wild Rose, Wisconsin.

Brian’s brother, Chris Inda, actually picked up the shed antlers from this buck in the spring of 2009. Those sheds ended up scoring 192 inches! It was this pick-up by Chris that would ultimately sway the two brothers along with a friend to seek a lease agreement with someone nearby. An old Christmas tree farm would eventually do the trick!

Brian’s buck has 12 scorable points, with 5 on the right side and 7 on the left. The buck also maintains an inside spread of 22 inches! And the longest tine length was the left side G2 which taped out at 14 7/8! The buck was estimated to be 7 ½ years old.

The staff of Bowhunting.Com would like to extend great big congratulations to Brian (and his friends) on this once in a lifetime whitetail trophy.  We hope you’ll have many more bucks to stand over Brian. Congrats again!

Categories: Blog | Bowhunting Blogs

One Year, One Mile... What a Difference for this Buck!

by Dustin DeCroo 25. January 2011 11:09
Dustin DeCroo


As the temperatures dropped into the low teens, my blood began to run slightly warmer than usual. I was in the Oklahoma tree stand at 6:15am, almost 45 minutes before rays of the Eastern sunrise would allow me to shoot any creature.  I setup the Sony HD overlooking a spot where an incredible 21pt buck had stood the morning prior, hoping to catch a glimpse of him on camera and maybe even behind my top pin. 


Rewind three weeks.  Two of my best friends had each captured photos of a stud non-typical on trail cameras on adjoining properties in December of 2010.  The deer was quickly given the name “Cyclops” as he appears to be blind in his left eye or missing it altogether.  Night after night the deer would return to eat corn but never did show up in the daylight.  We drooled over him on a daily basis and were eventually able to count 21 tines, “Cyclops” became “Black Jack.”  Expecting no change in Black Jack’s pattern my friend Trey and I headed to Northwest Oklahoma where the deer are plentiful to say the very least... the images of Black Jack still filled our mind.


Both the date and time are incorrect but there is no arguing the character of this deer!


We returned from our hunt which was a success in terms of both, bowhunting and good friends spending time together.  On our back we stopped and checked the camera that Black Jack had posed for on a nightly basis and we were shocked to see that he had actually visited for breakfast at 8:15 that morning.  Late that evening we were talking about deer that we had caught on camera as I moved photos from my old laptop to my new one.  As the click and drag process continued, Trey said, “Wait, go back!”  I double clicked to open a photo of a velvet deer that showed up in August of 2009... it was him.  Unmistakably missing an eye with incredible mass and short tines growing off the main beam below the brow tines.  The photo was from a property a little over a mile away than the December photos of 2010.  We thought the deer looked old in 2009 but he certainly wasn’t on the downhill in 2010.  In 2009 Black Jack was a tight racked main frame eight point with kickers off of his right and left G2’s and few stickers coming off below his brow tines.  In 2010, he exploded with non-typical points.

These are the first time the buck ever showed up on our camera in 2009!


Our first daylight photos of Black Jack...

Fast forward to the morning of the hunt.  It was 11 degrees with a 7mph wind and 80 percent humidity, a real feel of -7.  I made it to 11am before I had to surrender to the cold and with zero deer sightings it was that much colder.  Although I didn’t get to see the deer, there is great anticipation for next fall, as well as shed hunting and trail cameras during velvet season. Black Jack was a stud in 2009 and a toad in 2010, what 2011 brings... I’ll wait and hope to see!


Something More Than Scent Control

by Steve Flores 24. January 2011 15:49
Steve Flores

            Despite recent questions regarding the overall effectiveness of carbon impregnated clothing, my confidence in such garments hasn’t faltered one bit. What’s more, I can say with total honesty that my position on the subject has nothing to do with sponsorship or money. On the contrary, my belief stems from many years in the field, witnessing first hand what quality carbon clothing, in conjunction with a "solid scent reduction system", can do to your success rate.


            Since it’s inception into the carbon clothing market in 1997, Scent Blocker has been my choice when it comes to flying under what is arguably the greatest radar in the woods….the whitetail’s nose. Immediately after subscribing to a total “scent-reduction system”, I realized just how much my bowhunting experiences could improve. Since those days, the technology behind the Scent Blocker clothing line has grown by leaps and bounds. With attire and products covering just about every situation imaginable, there really is no excuse for getting “busted”.


            But, let’s not turn this into another sales pitch for reducing your “man-funk”. The point is that Robinson Outdoors, makers of Scent Blocker/Scent Shield has recently made the decision to step outside of their “area of expertise”, if you will, and introduce a product that has absolutely nothing to do with scent control. Yes, in today’s economy, it is a brave, and to some extent, risky move for the carbon clothing giant. However, President and CEO Scott Shultz is no stranger to making innovative moves. It is that attitude that has allowed his company to develop some of the best products in the business. Without question, their newest creation is sure to make waves in an industry that seems to have peaked in the “innovation” dept. Until now. I’m talking about safety harnesses.


Aptly named the “Tree Spider”, this new system is fast, light, and easy to use. And while you’ve most likely heard those terms used before, this time it is for real. With ingenious features that allow the system to be attached to your favorite jacket in the Scent Blocker lineup, lineman’s loops for safely hanging stands, back pack attachment capability, and figure-eight webbing configuration, just to name a few, the new Tree Spider is definitely going to change the face of safety arrest systems. For a closer look at all of the features the Tree Spider has to offer, visit Also, look for an in-depth review of this innovative and exciting new system in the very near future.     

An Early Start to Shed Antler Season

by Scott Abbott 12. January 2011 11:20
Scott Abbott

I was finally able to put some time aside on Monday to get outside and put a couple miles on my boots for an early look for some sheds.  I am not currently running any cameras but have some buddies that are.  For the most part their cameras are telling us that the vast majority of bucks are still carrying their antlers.  But, since I filled my buck tag on October 30th, I have only been in the woods a couple times to help track deer for others.  I just wanted to get out for a walk. 

My few hours did not yield any shed antlers or very much for tracks in the snow but I did find a small buck skull.  Thinking back over the years, I can only think of one year where I found a shed antler before finding one or more buck skulls.  I find a disproportionate number of dead bucks to sheds in my area.  I am hoping for a solid shed season this winter, I just need to give them more time to drop their racks. 

Good luck to all this shed season!

Possible NEW Pennsylvania State Record Buck

by Bow Staff 27. October 2010 09:42
Bow Staff

Everyone knows that Pennsylvania has the most hunters in any state per square mile. What you probably haven’t heard, a NEW state record typical may have just fallen!

Keystone state hunter, Barry Kern, dropped what could be the largest typical buck taken in state history just a few days ago while in Washington, county. The incredible 14-point buck is reported to have a green gross score of 189 inches, netting about 174! Even more impressive, the buck is estimated to only be about 3 ½ years old! It will have to wait the 60 day drying period required by both the Pope and Young, and Boone and Crockett scoring systems before it will be official however, but sources say it could be a new record.

The staff here at Bowhunting.Com would like to congratulate hunter, Barry Kern, on the taking of such a rare and unique whitetail buck. Whether or not it takes the top seed in PA’s hunting book, it is certainly a buck to be proud of! Congrats again Barry!


NEW Texas Record Whitetail Buck!?

by Bow Staff 20. October 2010 15:33
Bow Staff

There’s an old saying in the lone star state that many native’s love to repeat, “Everything’s bigger in Texas”. Apparently this statement includes whitetail bucks too! Check out this marvel, a 300” monster buck! It could be the state’s NEW record deer! Could be!?

Deer hunter, Mark Barrett, of the Las Raicas Ranch downed what could become the all time leader in the Texas state record books earlier this archery season. The buck has a reported score of 311 4/8” green gross, while still in velvet. And don’t let the fact it was taken on a ranch fool you, the buck reportedly has no scientific influence at all.  As Marko Barrett, son of Mark has stated, “the deer was a 100% native pasture deer that had not been manipulated in any way. He was a product of rain, protein, feed and patience.”

The staff here at Bowhunting.Com wishes to congratulate hunter, Mark Barrett, on what will certainly become the buck of a lifetime for him. Congratulations Mark, we look forward to hearing the news of your new record once the drying period has passed! Congrats!


Categories: Bowhunting Blogs

Summertime Prep; Scouting Velvet Bucks & Hanging Treestands

by Justin Zarr 22. July 2010 14:31
Justin Zarr

The end of July is getting close which means a couple things for us bowhunters.  First and foremost, archery seasons are just around the corner.  We're now less than two months to the start of Wisconsin bow season, and less than 3 months until Illinois opens.  Anyone who hasn't already hung their treestands or started shooting their bow on a regular basis needs to get their butt in gear!  These lazy days of summer also means a great opportunity to glass soybean fields for velvet bucks.  Although you can't shoot them yet, they're still pretty fun to look at!

This past weekend I took a trip with my good friend Mike Willand to a new lease he has in Northwestern Illinois.  Mike takes his scouting extremely seriously and spent countless hours walking this farm during the spring looking for not just shed antlers, but analyzing the available deer sign and formulating a plan for this fall.  As all successful hunters know, the more work you put in now the more successful you'll be later and if that holds true, Mike just may come home with a truck full of bone come October.

During this July scouting trip we had two primary goals.  Number one was to hang another treestand specifically for morning hunts.  The way this particular farm is laid out, only about 1/2 of it can be hunted in the mornings without cutting across the primary food source and bumping any deer that may be in it.  So having plenty of options for wind directions is a must.  With a little help from his Treehopper belt, Mike was able to safely hang his treestand in no time and we were off. 

The second goal of the night was to try and spot some whitetails in velvet and see what kind of headgear they're sporting.  So after sweating our butts off hanging the treestand Mike and I split up for the evening's scouting mission.  Unfortunately my mission was an utter failure.  I saw a doe and fawn in the field on my way out and that was it for the rest of the night.  Zip.  Zero.  Zilch.  Nada!  I did however get in a few good games of Blackjack on my phone.  While I was keeping myself occupied with that Mike did manage to see a couple deer, including one decent buck he has nicknamed "Little Rob".  Unfortunately a gang of coyotes came onto the field about 30 minutes before dark and cut our scouting mission short.

Check out the video below for a full recap of our stand hanging/velvet scouting adventure.

The view from my luxury box back in the weeds with the flies, ticks, snakes and blackbirds.

Supplies for the evening: Camera bag, cell phone, gloves, water, Gatorade, and a granola bar.

Nope, no deer here!

Deer Allergies… Can They Kill You?

by Dustin DeCroo 5. July 2010 17:07
Dustin DeCroo

Yes, they absolutely can.  Allergies to deer and other ungulates are fairly rare, but can be quite dangerous for the people that are affected.  A quick google search can provide you with more evidence than would ever seem possible.

At the age of seven years I experienced an allergic reaction that has continued to harass me for more than two decades worth of big game seasons.  A cool fall day, my dad and I were traveling from Laramie to Gillette, Wyoming through Sybil Canyon.  Sybil Canyon was home to (and may still be) a wildlife refuge where animals were kept for a number of reasons.  We passed a couple of big mule deer bucks with swollen necks and dad stopped to allow me to get a better look.  As I walked to the tall fence one of the deer approached me and actually let me rub his nose and the top of his head.  Sporting the biggest grin a toothless seven year old could show, we crawled back into the little Mazda pickup and headed home.  Literally in a matter of minutes my eyes were swollen completely shut, my face and throat were extremely itchy and I became slightly wheezy.  Dad buried the pedal on the four cylinder engine to get to the nearest, well… anything.  We eventually reached a convenience store where I was able to wash my hands and face and almost immediately the swelling, itching and wheeziness subsided.  Since that day, I’ve found that I’m also allergic to antelope, elk, mule deer and whitetails… wild hogs haven’t ever given me a problem.

In 2007 this particular buck gave me a bad reaction, but thanks to Dead Down Wind bar soap I was able to eliminate it fairly quickly. 

Allergy doctors have offered a variety of solutions, but the two that I have personally contacted gave me the one solution that just won’t fly… quit deer hunting.  I have always wondered why I couldn’t be allergic to something like… knitting needles, instead of my favorite activity on the planet.  In the last few years I have met only a few people that suffer from the same allergy and have been able to discuss prevention/treatment tactics for the reactions.  I have found a handful of products and methods that have helped a great deal in preventing the annoyances.

I actually have a small Ziploc in which I carry a few items in my “anti-allergy” kit.  The first thing I pack when it comes to preventing an outbreak is some sort of field dressing gloves.  My personal favorites are the Primos Guttin Gloves, they are a shoulder length glove that come with a regular latex glove so that you still have maneuverability in your fingers.  Shoulder length gloves probably aren’t necessary unless you’re trying to be extremely careful, as you would with an animal that is going on the wall, but that is the main goal of the majority of my hunts.  The second item is a small piece of bar soap.  I usually use Dead Down Wind Bar Soap and I’ll cut off a piece the size of a cheese cube for my kit. The last item in my kit is a standard outdoor wet wipe.  They are biodegradable, have no scent and have a variety of uses.   It goes without saying, but water is extremely important to carry as well.  When I wash my hands and face after field dressing an animal, I generally have very mild if any type of reaction.  A couple of Benadryl tablets always manage to find their place at the bottom of my Ziploc as well.





Primos Guttin Gloves

All these products are available at when you click the ‘Shopping’ tab at


230" Buck Poached in Nebraska

by John Mueller 14. June 2010 02:57
John Mueller

A friend of mine is mounting the antlers of a 230" gross buck for the Nebraska Game and Fish Dept. The buck was found poached last fall after someone heard shots after dark and reported it to authorities. A stakeout was set up on the kill site and the culprits were caught later that night when they came back to collect the buck.

The right side of the buck's rack is a very typical 6 point side. The left side is anything but typical with points sticking out in all directions. The whole rack is very massive throughout, even the points are thick. The buck will not end up with a very high net score because of the fact he doesn't have a symetrical typical frame. However, there is over 230" of bone on this buck's head. In my opinion the scoring system needs to be amended to give this buck and others like it credit for what it grew.  What do you think?


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