The Alaskan Hunt: Changing Camps

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Our day started with a complete 78teardown of camp, repacking our bags and final logistics to get all our gear shuffled across Chandalar Lake to the runway at the Northeast end of the lake. With a low flight ceiling, heavy winds and a front moving through, our air taxi service was hopeful they could possibly get us out mid-day. Of equal concern would be getting across the lake with all our gear in the 16’ Jon boat.


We thankfully made it across safely and all six of us found the runway to be a thankful place for our eventual air taxi pickup and short flight back to Coldfoot. Storing all our gear back in our truck and trailer, we made the long Dalton Highway drive back to Fairbanks. The road was mostly mud from considerable moisture over the past few days, making our travels cautious and slow. A quick stop at the Arctic Circle made for yet another great Alaska photo op.

A warm shower and a fresh bed at Pike’s Landing in Fairbanks, as well as the “Hunter’s Rate” for our rooms made for a great stay and good short night’s sleep. Our enthusiasm is high as we head to our second camp. While this was not the original plan, we know we need to adapt and create opportunity.

The logistics are mostly in place and if all comes together, including fair weather on Saturday, we should be back hunting by Sunday morning.


The Alaskan Hunt: The Decision

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We welcomed the clear skies and the sun on Thursday, a refreshing sight. The winds remained consistently strong, once again forcing our calling to be less effective. We are primarily cow calling, with some bull grunts and tree raking to simulate the rutting activity the Moose are currently in here in Alaska. If the wind would let up, our calls would echo further into the basins and certainly be more effective.


The discussions mid-day back in camp were centered on not seeing any Moose and the reality that the weather may not break. With two of our camp buddies having successful experience hunting Moose in a different region of Alaska, closer to Anchorage, we discussed a complete camp move. We know it takes time to find the game we are after, yet we also know with a week left before we fly home, it is time to change our luck.

We came into camp with the idea we would harvest Moose, Caribou and possibly Black Bear. We all have tags for these species, of which considerable dollars have been invested. Our expectations were quite high on seeing the game and having the opportunities. Unfortunately, none of it has happened thus far and this weighs on each of our minds.

As the evening hunt came to a close with another weather front blowing in and no Moose spotted, the consensus in camp was to begin all the logistics of getting camp moved. Because we are in a remote location, the move will require flights out of Chandalar, a 10+ hour drive back to Anchorage, some new gear for the upcoming tent camp and a refreshed optimism on successfully finishing this hunt.

We are all hunters at heart and as much as we enjoy the experience, we want to finish our #AKadventure. Stay tuned…


The Alaskan Hunt: Fighting Wind

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High gusty winds were the name of the game Wednesday morning for our Alaskan Hunt, once again forcing a delayed start to our day. We know Moose hunting can be a waiting game, hoping for the right conditions to surface and the Moose to be visible during their rutting patterns. Unfortunately, we have not had those conditions as of yet and we are optimistic it will come.

We went South of camp for a good morning hunt/hike, stopping to call, listen and watch in places where the game trails crossed. The wind certainly kept our calling effectiveness to a minimum. The temperatures rose a bit with our mid day temps in the 40s and with no significant moisture, it was a welcome change. Having covered a good portion of the lake over the first three days, we are beginning to question the strategies we have been using and the actual number of resident Moose in the Chandalar Lake region. Again, we do believe a weather change might in fact be our ticket to opportunity.

Traveling the lake in these high gusty winds is not an easy task. The boat/motor we have to use are the bare minimum in our opinion and at times we have taken on water during our travels in the waves. With a limited amount of gas to get us by for the next 8 days, we are concerned about our travels on the lake and plan to conserve as much as we can, not to mention taking all safety precautions.

Hunting Moose in Alaska, Moose Hunting, Hunting Tips, Hunting when windy, Good hunting clothes for wind, Alaska TV Shows, Women who hunt

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The Alaskan Hunt – Hunting Moose in Alaska

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We woke at camp to a beautiful four inches of fresh snow and heavy flakes that made our first hike for Alaskan Moose nothing short of awesome. The temperature was 34 degrees and with very little wind, it made our morning hunt enjoyable. Having located a Bull behind camp the night prior, our mission was to find the Bull and bring him down. Ashley was first in line to get her first-ever big-game kill this a.m., with all of us looking on.

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As the day progressed and we set up numerous times calling and waiting, we never located the Bull. The calling sequences last for at least 30 minutes as Moose are not normally active animals, so they often come into the calls sometimes hours after being engaged.

We headed back to camp around 4 p.m. after hiking five miles through some of the hardest conditions we’ve covered, for relatively flat ground. The “Bog” of the Arctic Tundra is hard to explain as each step varies from completely unstable to a foot deeper than the prior. The moisture in the ground is unbelievable and requires our Kenetrek boots and Kings gaitors to keep us dry up to our knees.

After a break at a camp we went out for the last few hours to a new spot up the Chandalar Lake, traveling by boat. This vantage point was simply awesome as we could see for a mile in either direction as well as the Mountain in front of us. At last light, we located a Bull up at the top of the Mountain, a place you would not expect a Moose to be. At over a mile, he appears to be the one we are looking for. With our spirits high, we were back in camp in time for a enjoyable freshly caught fish dinner with friends and discussions of the morning hunt!

Tuesday – The Weather Battle

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Excited to get out on the hunt, the Arctic Circle weather forced our morning hunt to be delayed for a few hours. High winds blowing across the lake, heavy snow flakes and a front that cut our visibility to less than 1/4 of a mile, made it very difficult to see and call Moose. The reality of Alaska Moose hunting weather.

Knowing we could not see a long way, we hiked out behind camp to the basin of the mountain where we spotted the moose at last light, hoping he might be on the move or we could possibly get close enough for our calling to be effective. After a 3 1/2 hour morning hunt, watching the snow come down in sheets, we elected to dry out for a mid-day break back at camp. We are electing to conserve energy for when the weather breaks and our hunts will be all-day adventures.

The fishing on Chandalar has been very good, and has also been a great way to pass some time mid-day when the hunting is poor. So far we have caught Lake Trout and Arctic Grayling. Ashley was excited to land her first!

The evening hunt was much like the morning, as we hiked back up the mountain to try locate the bull that we spotted the evening prior. The winds were too high, once again, to do any effective calling and no moose were spotted. With just over a week until departure, we are hopeful the weather breaks and we catch a break.


Farm Country Whitetail Deer

Posted by Jason Mitchell of Jason Mitchell Outdoors


So much of the information written or said about whitetail hunting originates from big woods hunting. While there are lessons that can be learned or reapplied wherever deer roam, tactics and strategies can change dramatically as the terrain changes. What makes whitetails such remarkable animals is their adaptableness. What I found as I picked up a bow and pursued whitetails is that many of the concepts and information I absorbed as a beginning bow hunter was irrelevant because wide open farm country creates different challenges. There are a few things I wish somebody would have told me when I first started bow hunting Great Plains whitetails.

Further east where the landscape is much more wooded, the population’s densities of deer are much higher. Deer live in a much smaller area and there are more deer per square mile. In many places, eighty acres is plenty of land to hunt deer on but as you get out into much more wide-open terrain, you typically need more land to hunt on as the deer roam so much more and the deer population densities are much lower. Wide-open fields of cropland are broken up with wood lots; tree rows or slough bottoms that provide cover and the deer that live in this environment have a much larger home range.

Because of the terrain to the east, scouting is often done over foot plots cleared in the woods or using trail cameras on pinch points. Trail cameras are an invaluable scouting tool but in some ways all a camera tells you is that the deer is alive and you might be able to figure out what direction the deer is coming from at what time. There are still a lot of clues missing when it comes to trying to kill a particular deerDSCF0915

One painful lesson I have learned is that I can never assume anything with deer in regards to where they are bedding or the route they are taking from point a to point b. I guess wrong ninety percent of the time. Now I have gotten into the habit of using cameras to scout and finding a specific deer and I also use a camera to monitor a specific spot when I get ready to hunt but the information I can gather from scouting with optics is really how I can put a solid plan together.

When I was younger and more inexperienced, a common mistake I made was assume a bedding area or travel route just from the Intel gathered from trail cameras and unintentionally hunting with wrong or compromised winds. Now I am a lot more methodical and patient. I don’t move in on a deer until I know enough details and I bide my time until the wind is right and I can get in without any detection. A gamble I sometimes struggle with is whether I can get out or get winded by deer after they pass my location so there are times when there are high risk high reward situations where you have one good chance to kill a particular deer but if you don’t kill that deer that night, you compromise the spot. When I am in doubt, I sit on a hill and scout. There are many challenges to hunting this wide-open terrain but one advantage more hunters should capitalize on is to rely less on trail cameras and more on a spotting scope.

What is fascinating especially during the early half of the season is how much these bedding areas get influenced by bugs like gnats and mosquitoes. Much of the heavier cover is around water or is wet. An example would be a slough bottom or drainage. The cover can be really thick and look good but if the bugs are bad, deer will often bed up higher where the wind can blow through. Fascinating how deer have different personalities and preferences. Some specific bucks will prefer to bed in standing corn for example when it is really hot. Other bucks seem to be more sensitive when their antlers are in velvet and seem to stay away from anything that touches their antlers. These preferred bedding areas can change or shift through the season.

Food sources can also change but you really can’t go wrong focusing on soybean fields if they are available at least until the leaves yellow. Small grains and crops that flower like canola can also get hit. Corn is sometimes used as a bedding area early in the season but what becomes really interesting is the travel routes deer choose. How deer move from point a to point b can be somewhat predictable in that they always take the path of least resistance and they like to feel hidden. Ravines or dips that hide deer in the terrain or edges that create easy walking are often the preferred route.


One thing I have found when checking trail cameras is that if I check the cameras too often and create a trail to my camera, I can actually disrupt the route I want the deer to travel because they begin to follow my route to the camera. This can create a few challenges when planning a fast and quiet route in and out of your stand or blind. If you make a trail, remember that deer will also begin to follow that trail. Because of the wide openness of this terrain, we do get our share of wind so the best thing I have found for getting into location is to go in during the middle of the day and use the wind to cover my noise and stay away from the easiest route. Picking through heavier cover or taller vegetation without breaking or beating down the vegetation to form a trail has been my most effective strategy.

The age-old challenge of harvesting a mature buck is catching a deer on its feet during daylight or shooting time. The further you are away from where a buck beds, the later the pics are going to be. When I first started bow hunting, I would get pictures of impressive bucks on camera at night and hope that if I hunted that location long enough I would get a chance during the day. Far shot and the more you hunt a spot the worst it gets. What also happened was that I would get daytime shots of a buck during the summer scouting and than as the summer progressed, the deer would become “nocturnal.”

I don’t believe that anymore. These deer that tease you in the summer and become nocturnal aren’t changing their time line, they changed their bedding locations and one of the reasons deer often shift where they bed is human activity. If you want to make that deer go “nocturnal,” check the trail camera often and make your presence known. The deer still moves before dark but now instead of bedding one hundred yards away, he is now three hundred yards away or a mile away. This is why the spotting scope is so invaluable when scouting.

Mature bucks are self aware enough to know and detect human intrusion so the key to killing a deer in my mind is to hide your presence. With that being said, disguise your presence with farming and ranching activity. The worst thing to do in my mind is to try sneaking in and out on foot. If you do, spray down and wear rubber boots. What works best however is a loud obvious vehicle. Don’t try to hide or be sneaky if you have to mow a shooting lane or check a trail camera. Drive up if you can and drive out. The less your feet touch the ground the better. The reality is that there are people spraying crops all summer. There are people driving ATVs checking fence, there is a certain amount of human activity that deer get used to.

photo-2Remember that the landscape goes through changes. Don’t over think the deer about clearing a shooting lane or trimming branches. Somebody could drive right by your stand with round bale hayer and deer will be walking by the bales the next day. Deer know what tractors are. If you try to sneak around too much, you smell different and offer an intrusion that the deer aren’t used to. Become more obvious and use a vehicle whenever possible. With that being said, I like to drive as slowly and as quietly as possible in areas that are really secluded and I always like to do my work in regard to setting up blinds or checking cameras in the middle of the day. Wind or rain makes the intrusion even more hidden.

The biggest challenge of this open terrain is the lack of trees. I hunt out of a tree stand whenever I can because there are many advantages. Good field of view, great for watching around you so that if you are in the wrong spot, you gather additional Intel as you sit and watch. Good for blowing your scent away from the area. Movement is out of the line of sight. With that being said, good luck finding the right tree in the right spot. So often, I have to rely on ground blinds.

The versatility of ground blinds makes them a valuable tool for farm country whitetails. Don’t worry about hiding it or trying to make it blend in, just put it exactly where it needs to be to kill a deer. The deer see it and after passing the smell test, they determine that it is just another bale or anhydrous tank. I often leave ground blinds out for long periods of time so for that reason I like to use the heavier duty Clam Elite Hunter Blind.

This terrain creates some challenges but also offers advantages. There are great deer available in these habitats and while whitetails will always offer ample doses of humility, these deer can also be figured out with the right strategies.




The Alaskan Hunt – Meet the Team

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The Alaskan Hunt - Jeremy Elbert


With his hometown of Hunter, ND, it is no wonder Jeremy found a love for the outdoors and hunting at an early age. Growing up in a small community, Jeremy learned the value of hard work, the enjoyment of playing athletics and the respect for time in the field. Jeremy’s parents were most influential to him as he developed his hunting skills and overall love for the experiences. His mom recalls being six months pregnant in the fall of 1974 on a deer hunt, wondering if her soon-to-be-born son might come early.

Fast forward to his adult life and the creation of Wildlife Pursuit, a National Outdoors hunting show. Wildlife Pursuit has grown into a top tier show on the Pursuit Channel and Jeremy balances this passion with time spent raising his kids, Gus and Lily, his career as a Financial Advisor and his competitive fitness goals. It is the #Balance of life that Jeremy strives to manage well and share in the stories he tells to his viewers and fans. It is clear for Jeremy that one of his goals in life is to provide opportunities for Gus and Lily, especially related to the outdoors. He hopes one day they will pass on the same but until that day comes in the distant future, he strives to share as much knowledge as he can to broaden their perspective. Watching them experience things for the first time is as rewarding for Jeremy as any hunt he has been on.

The Alaskan Hunt - Jesse Kurtnebach


Jesse grew up in Northeastern South Dakota. Sports, hunting, fishing and the outdoors have been in his DNA since the day he was born. The deep roots for these passions were passed on to him from his father Bill who spent his whole career working in conservation for the USFWS. Jesse was able to spend many days in the field with his dad and his biologist friends absorbing as much information as his young mind would allow. When the time came for him to participate in the hunt his passion was only fueled. Just like so many small town kids sports entered his life at about this same time. Jesse became a multi-sport athlete in high school, and if he wasn’t in the field he could be found in the gym. A lack of size required hard work to gain other advantages in sports such as strength and speed.

This work ethic carried over to the classroom and earned Jesse a nursing degree at Mount Marty College while being an all conference baseball player, and most recently a Hall of Fame inductee. He would later return to MMC to earn a masters degree in nurse anesthesia. He currently lives, works and plays in the beautiful Northern Black Hills of South Dakota with his wife, Ashley, and their two dogs, Jake and Ruger. A career in healthcare, and an extensive background in athletics have led Jesse to lead a healthy lifestyle. He has a firm belief that the less you allow your physical limitations to slow you down, the more you are able to enjoy life to the fullest! The current Balance of life for Jesse is revolved around his wife, family, friends, career, dogs, fitness and hunting.

The Alaskan Hunt - Ashley Kurtenbach


“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” — Diane Ackerman

A quote Ashley likes to live by, living life each day to the fullest. Growing up a farm kid in a small Northwest Iowa town, within the heart of Dutch country sparked her the love for the outdoors. After a few years of living on the east side of SD for non-traditional college, work and being a Skyforce cheerleader; life took another turn as it always does. Now located in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her hunting partner, lifting buddy and husband Jesse, and her beloved furbabies Jake and Ruger. When she isn’t working her full-time job, you will find her enjoying her passion for the great outdoors as much as possible. Like many other women she got into hunting later in life and now loving every day she can be in the field. She lives for promoting the outdoor life, as well as offering the best recommendations to other women to save them time and money. Being at the gym 5-6 days a week and active every day, while taking on many new physical challenges she proves to be a fitness guru. She trains for life, to be a better huntress, athlete and a nationally qualified NPC bikini competitor. She enjoys the challenge of “keeping up with the boys in the field”, and never wants physical capability to be an excuse. This year she made it a point to try a range of physical challenges, all while promoting a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Her goal is to inspire and motivate not just women but all people to a healthy lifestyle and to be active in the outdoors. The Alaskan Hunt – Meet the


Raised Hunting 2015 Bow Set Up

By Pro Staffer Warren Holder of Raised Hunting 
Watch on the Outdoor Channel (Mon @ 4:30 PM, Fri @ 9:30 AM, Sat @ 11:30 AM – EST)

RHWhen it comes to my equipment, you won’t find many people more picky than myself. I want the most reliable, durable and proven equipment I can get my hands on. Everything must be perfect especially before I will consider using it to take an animal’s life.

That’s why I shoot the Bear Archery Arena 34, the perfect blend between speed and forgiveness. The Bear Arena also comes in a 30 inch axle to axle model, and both the 30 and 34 offer a solid back wall and a generous brace height of 6.5 inches, while still hitting speeds in the 340’s fps.

With my hunting set up and a roughly 400 to 410 grain arrow, I find my set up shooting right around 290 fps. With that kind of kinetic energy, I am ready for everything from turkey to elk.

The draw length adjustability is an added bonus with the Arena 34 adjusting from 26.5 to 31 inches, while the Arena 30 adjusts from 25 to 30 inches.

When you have the perfect bow, you need the perfect accessories. Trophy Ridge has the sight and quiver our family depends on. I shoot the Trophy Ridge React Pro sight. The new React Pro offers everything a bowhunter could ask for, including 2nd and 3rd axis adjustment, tool-less adjustment (no more need for an allen wrench). Aluminum crafted, micro click windage and elevation adjustment, as well as a glow ring on the housing for low light conditions, and of course REACT technology!

The REACT technology can only be found on Trophy Ridge sights and truly makes sighting in your bow quick and easy. Simply set your 20 yard pin by moving the housing, then move out to 30 or 40 yards and set that pin by moving the master adjustment on the top of the sight. Once 2 pins are set all the others fall into place, the React technology makes it mathematically impossible for your pins to be off once you have set two distances.

The Lite-1 quiver has quickly become our go to quiver. The quick attachment makes it super simple to mount or remove, from your bow “even if you have nails” says Karin, yet the rock solid construction makes it quiet as well.

Someone was really thinking when they built this quiver. It has green L.E.D lights that shine on your quiver from inside the hood, so you can see your arrows and your hands, helping you to see what your doing while handling razor tipped arrows on those cool early mornings before daylight.

The Lite-1 also has another green light that shoots a beam from the top of the hood, so now you don’t need to carry a flashlight, your bow becomes your flashlight. The added rope loop to the top of the quiver is stout enough to hang your bow by the quiver. No more hanging your high end bow by it’s cam, something that all bow manufactures strongly discourage. Pretty ingenious I must say!

When it comes to my rest, I only trust Ripcord. The new Ace makes tuning easy, thanks to micro adjustments, I can move the rest the exact distance needed. The Ace also features a much thinner launcher allowing for better than ever vane clearance.

When I’m in the woods I want my bow to be as quiet and lethal as possible. That’s where Limbsavers come into play, the dampeners and stabilizers reduce vibration as well as noise, making my bow dead silent and deadly accurate.

Remember, bowhunting is more than a hobby for me and my family, and it’s more than just a job for us. For us, it’s who we are, and what we do, it’s tradition and heritage, it’s passion and emotion, and for me it’s my life!

With this full set up you may see me in the woods, but you won’t hear me. The only problem is, if I miss the big one this year, I know I can’t blame my equipment!

But that’s what little brothers are for, somehow I’m sure I can find a way to blame Easton!!!

See ya out there!

-Warren Holder


Alaska Bear Hunt, Trip 1 

Posted on June 12, 2015 / By Scheels Pro Staff, Jeremy Elbert of Wildlife Pursuit


We recently traveled to Alaska on a Brown Bear (a.k.a. Grizzly) hunt – my first ever trip to our 49th state! The hunt was scheduled for May 12th to the 24th, but as things can sometime go with hunting, we came home early due to extreme weather changes and little to no bear movement. Out trip was postponed to soon take place on June 14th for ten days.

Traveling to Alaska was certainly an all-new experience, one that I came home from with some wonderful knowledge and perspective. As we travel back to Anchorage in just a few weeks, my planning and preparation will be slightly different.

What I Learned 

  • Bush planes are as common in Alaska as boats in Minnesota and ATVs across the Midwest. Using these planes to get to camp requires significant attention to weight and size of gear. Using smaller bags to consolidate gear is a good way to pack.
  • Anchorage is a well-rounded city with most all services and supplies you would need to be prepared for a hunt. Knowing we might inevitably forget something, it’s reassuring to know last minute items can be purchased there.
  • Extra gear can certainly pay off in a pinch but there is also an amount where it’s simply too much. Not only do airline baggage charges begin to add up when traveling but simply managing the excess is not ideal.
  • Weather conditions are as extreme in Alaska as anywhere across the U.S. and perfecting your layering system is an absolute must.
  • Purifying water from streams can provide some of the freshest H2O you will ever drink. Being very cautious about filtering the water for all bacteria can guarantee successful hydration.
  • Ample nutrition is required to maintain weight, provide energy and keep focus while on the hunt

Stay tuned for our upcoming hunt, round two of our Alaska Adventure.



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Celebrate Mom with Scheels Pro Staff Ruth Jaeger


Celebrate Mom with Scheels Pro Staff Ruth jaeger! Ruth has been hunting for many years and occasionally shows up on her son’s TV Show WILDLIFE PURSUIT. Being both a mother, grandmother and woman who loves sharing the hunting passion with her family, Ruth has great insight on the best gear for the hunt.

In the spirit of Mother’s Day, we asked Ruth to share her favorite gear for the woman who loves to hunt as well her top pick for the mom who loves to hunt.

Celebrate mom (or the lady) in your life with these hunting gifts:



Under Armour Scent Control ColdGear Base Layer (In Select Stores – Shop online selection here)
Mine are olive green fleece-lined and fitted long sleeve underwear shirt and pants with thumbhole cutouts for the fingers. This base layer is the absolute warmest and coziest piece of clothing I have ever owned and I have worn the long underwear for all types of hunting and outdoor activities.

Under Armour Real Tree Rain Gear (In Select Stores – Shop online selection here)
Continues to stand the test and has never disappointed. The slacks and hooded jacket are perfect in damp wet weather, Fall weather and are also good layering options to keep in the warmth in cold weather. The design of the hood ensures complete head and partial face coverage and with the added drawstring, I can keep out the cold and moisture. The ankle and wrists both have Velcro tabs and the jacket is long waisted completely covering the mid-section providing further protection. Excellent product.

Tenzing TC 1500 Backpack (In Select Stores)
I carry this in the field and love its design which fits extremely well on my back with good distribution of the weight on my shoulders and on my waist. And, it has many internal compartments and pockets to help me keep organized.

Hand, Foot and Body Warmers (Shop online)
I would never leave home or attempt any type of hunting or outdoor activity without a large supply of hand, foot and body warmers. In extreme cold, I use body warmers in my gloves. I have a tendency toward cold hands and feet and the warmth of the warmers is an absolute must for me.



I have hunted for 40+ years, starting prior to raising a family. When I became pregnant and then had children (two boys), I never stopped hunting. My fondest memories are hunting with my sons from the time they were quite young and were just observers to now when they are grown men and avid hunters and have children of their own who are interested in hunting. I hope to continue hunting and I want to experience my grandchildren as they become avid hunters.



If you want to buy Mom something special for Mother’s Day, take the plunge and buy her a set of her very own camo. Buy something designed by women for women to fit a woman’s body. If your Mom has never owned her own set of camo, but uses whatever is left over when everyone else is outfitted or happens to own a set of men’s camo because that’s all there used to be available, then treat her to some clothing designed just for females.

Under Armour and Scent Lok have great products and I own both. And, if you just want to remember her in a smaller way, invest in some Smart Wool socks which are great products for hunting, hiking, and even everyday use. I can guarantee you that Mom’s enjoyment of hunting and the outdoors and her overall comfort will be much greater if she owns her own set of women’s camo and other products designed and made for us Moms.


My Son’s First Turkey Hunt

Posted on March 30, 2015 / By Jeremy Elbert of Wildlife Pursuit TV


April 26th, 2013
We arrived in Cavalier about 7 p.m. We met our host contact Chase in town and went to his farm to practice again with the new shotgun. My son Gus shot very well – two out of three spot on perfect shots. We then drove to our hunting location to see the birds get ready to roost. It was fun to see Gus watch all the toms and get excited for the next morning. We checked in at the Cedar Inn and got settled. We were in bed by 9 p.m.

April 27th, 2013
I was up at 4 a.m., and Gus woke up on his own at 4:30, ready for the day. We organized our equipment, packed our snacks and headed out. We met Chase at Cenex at 5:15 and headed to our hunt location. We were in our two blind set-up, by 6 a.m. with the second blind right next to us. We had three decoys –two feeding hens and a feeding jake.

The birds starting moving within 100 yards by 7 a.m., and at 7:30 a.m., a group of hens came within 10 yards, followed by a few shooter toms. The hens got nervous with our movement and noise in the blind and returned to their original path. It truly felt like the hunt was over for the day. We elected to sit it out, so as not to bust them for future hunts.

At 8:15 with our continued calling, the birds had recommitted and were now within 100 yards again and working our way. The jakes led the group this time, with the toms actively following. Four younger jakes passed by the blind at less than 10 yards, followed by some hens and the toms. Once the jakes passed us, Gus knew we might have a chance. Gus was holding the gun and getting his scope on the toms, ready to shoot.

At about 20 yards, he had a good tom in sight and asked if he could shoot. I did not think he was truly on the bird, so I called him off. In hindsight he probably was. The toms came closer. At less than 12 yards he was on “Tom 1” but it kept moving and forced us to go to “Tom 2” right behind it. Gus settled in on “Tom 2” and once again asked if he could shoot. I said YES, and Grandpa whispered his approval as well.

IMG_0083Within seconds, the shot was fired and the bird never moved, dropping in his tracks. Jubilation was overwhelming in the blind. At that sheer moment in time, I was beside myself with pride for what Gus had accomplished. At 6 years old, Gus had taken control of a dynamic situation and killed his first turkey. He acted like he was twice his actual age. He asked if he could shoot, with manners and knowledge of us videoing his hunt. He was a hunter, a killer and a young man all at once.

The celebration, the moments and hours after had us reliving every step of the way. Sharing that time with Grandpa and Gus were beyond my expectations. My son had become a TV Show host and his eloquent story telling continued my “nerves” that started when the toms were at 15 yards and closing. He handled what could have gone completely different, with maturity and decisiveness like an adult would do.


Gearing Up for Spring Fishing

Posted on March 20, 2015 / By Kurt Schirado of Ultimate Outdoor Adventures TV
Scheels_Bags-JasonWrightFor years I’ve taken advantage of the bitter days “Old Man Winter” delivers to prepare for the busy spring fishing and hunting months that lie ahead, and even though we may not have had a blustery winter, gearing up for the spring fishing season is in full swing. This past weekend I took inventory of all my fishing gear, and with a new Triton 186 Fishunter, I made note of all my storage options and then raced off to the local Scheels store to meet my best friend and fishing partner, Jason Wright.

We first met for a hot cup of coffee at Gramma Ginna’s Fudge and Coffee Shop where our morning conversation centered on the outlook of the up and coming open water season as well as storage options found within our new walleye rigs. Still deep in conversation, we purposely stumbled toward the fishing department. Our first stop was to admire the new line-up of fishing rods by Fenwick. These newly designed rods feature Carbon Bound Spiral Blanks, Fuji Reel Seats, Titanium Guides and a new sculpted TAC and EVA blended handle. After testing several of these new beauties, without hesitation, we both decided the 6’9″ Medium light, fast action spinning rod would suffice our spring walleye needs…a great rod for casting jigs and or rigging. Perfect!

Our next move would find us in the “tackle bag” aisle. To most, this sounds like an easy decision but after nearly an hour and a half of inspecting all the options, we both decided the new Scheels Outfitters soft sided bags should cover all our fishing needs. First, we needed a compact but roomy bag just to handle our jigs so we both agreed on the small size Scheels Outfitters Deluxe Tackle Bag which includes 4 Plano® 3650 totes. For our tackle tamers, slip sinkers, rigging tackle and bottom bounces we chose the large size Scheels Outfitters Mega Tackle Bag which includes 4 Plano® 3700 totes. Both bags embrace multiple pockets on each side and back to keep all your tackle organized and secure. Convenient tool holders are incorporated to keep your tools handy and safe. The Scheels Mega Tackle Bag is also equipped with a nifty sunglass case attached to the side for safe and easy accessibility.

With most of our tackle already contained in the two soft sided bags mentioned above, we still needed a simple but large storage bag for all our crankbaits. After a continued search for the ultimate set up, we stumbled across the Scheels Outfitters Dry Bag. This waterproof storage bag is great for camping, hunting, or even during those days when fishing with a friend and moving from boat to boat. I carefully chose the medium, olive green bag and found it perfect to handle up to 8 of the large Plano® boxes and 4 of the small Plano® boxes. This would suit me perfect for all my crankbait storage and travel needs as well as fit nicely in my front storage compartments.

With most of my fishing gear already sorted and neatly stowed, I think my next task at hand will be to strip all the line off my spinning reels and re-spool them with some new 6# hi-vis monofilament. Once that is accomplished the Missouri River will become my playground for the next month allowing me to do what I like best…casts jigs for spring time walleyes.


Selecting Your First Rifle

Posted on March 5th, 2015 / By Tom Anderson of Wildlife Pursuit

0F3A1387Once you have made the decision to go hunting and have a place to hunt, you’ll have to pick out an appropriate weapon. Unless you plan to hunt one species in the same type of ecosystem, versatility will be important in addition to the considerations below. I will explore several factors which will hopefully help you determine a good choice for your first rifle. If “everyone” in your hunting group uses a certain “pet” caliber, you plan on hunting very large or dangerous game or you are interested in ultra-long range hunting, your choices are beyond the scope of this article. I also will not deal extensively with predator hunting except to note that the most common cartridges are .223 and .22-250 in a heavy-barreled bolt action or single-shot rifle with a high-magnification scope. However, some of the big game cartridges discussed below can be purchased (or hand-loaded, of course) in light, low recoil offerings
which are also suitable for predators.

Before selecting your rifle, you will have to choose the cartridge that will best match the terrain, game and hunting style you plan on enjoying.

If the state or locale where you plan on hunting does not allow hunting with center fire rifles, your choices for hunting deer will essentially be between a muzzle-loading rifle or a shotgun of either 12 gauge or 20 gauge with a low magnification sight.

Wide open pastures, farm fields or western expanses call for a flatshooting bullet that retains sufficient energy at ranges that commonly exceed 200 yards. While almost any cartridge/rifle/scope combination can shoot accurately at these extended ranges with enough practice, a cartridge that allows the same point of aim out to 300 yards reduces the necessity of accurate range determination.

1016573_751826178207507_5249745348800689112_nFor deer or antelope, a bolt action rifle in .243, .25-06, .270, .280, or .30-06, with a scope up to 10x would be a great choice in these conditions. For elk, caribou or moose, .270 caliber would be considered a minimum by most. More robust and commonly utilized choices would be .300, 7mm, or .338 magnum calibers.

Remember that the price you pay for launching a heavy bullet at high speed from a magnum rifle is a heavier rifle due to longer actions, heavier bullets to carry around, and substantially increased kick. I do not remember the noise or kick from any shot taken at game, but bruised shoulders from numerous practice shots of magnum rounds have haunted me for days afterward. The last thing you want is to fear pulling the trigger when Mr. Big is in your sights.

In the tight quarters of dark forests, steep canyons or swamps, shots are commonly under 100 yards. Under those conditions, a shorter weapon that allows you to easily get on target will be the most useful. While a scope provides target magnification and gathers more light than the naked eye, open sights, peep sights, or a “red-dot” type sight usually make it easier to quickly find your target in low light or tight quarters.

Typical cartridges used in these conditions are .30-.30, .44 magnum, .308, or a shotgun loaded with slugs.

So, what is the “perfect” first rifle? I know that there are other factors such as availability of ammunition and budget (don’t forget the cost of the ammunition), and that opinions abound on this question. However, since you asked, I will give mine: a bolt action rifle from a domestic manufacturer in .270 or .30-06 with a moderately-powered, clear scope.

This combination will be suitable for many common hunting condition, is readily available, has moderately-priced ammunition, and is extremely versatile through a myriad of loadings. And, if you can afford another rifle, buy a .22 caliber rifle, and practice with it relentlessly in order to perfect your form and trigger control.


Principles of Hunting as a Female

Posted on February 27, 2015 / By Ruth Jaeger of Wildlife Pursuit

IMG_6825Having hunted all my adult life, writing about the principles of hunting as a female should be easy, right? I just need to discuss the principles that result in an all-around successful hunt from the female perspective.

The first, single most important aspect of hunting (and of most every other undertaking) is preparedness. I would define hunting preparedness as being physically and mentally ready to undertake the pursuit of some type of wildlife and to ensure a successful hunt.

For me, being physically prepared means being able to endure the various climate conditions, the varying types of terrain, and the changes in my daily routine and diet.

Weather and climate uncertainties can be a huge factor, and your preparedness is essential. Every aspect of your clothing, shoes, hand and face gear comes into play and needs to be considered and addressed. Among other items, my Tenzing pack includes hand and foot warmers, a face gator, extra gloves and an extra layer of clothes, as I have found layering is my key to comfort. My Tenzing also has a waterproof cover so the contents can stay dry in rain and snow conditions.

Physical preparedness and hunting are synonymous to me. If the goal is a successful hunt, it is highly likely you will be walking or hiking at least part of the day, and more likely most of the day you will be carrying your pack and your weapon. Your physical readiness is not only a key component to your success but also in your enjoyment of the hunt. In addition to trying to stay fit for health reasons, I exercise and try to maintain physical fitness because I know I’ll be ready for the next hunting or hiking adventure.

Being in the outdoors all day is a change in my daily routine and requires adjustments—especially in my diet. A day of hiking means more food, and it also means I may have to carry that food in my pack. I pay special attention to eating food higher in both protein and energy, try to avoid wasting my calories on empty carbohydrates, and am conscious to avoid bulky foods that take up space in my pack. I like to avoid coffee/caffeine and just drink a lot of water. Being prepared means starting out your adventure with an ample supply of food and water.

IMG_6810I believe the remaining issue of preparedness, but not the least important, is safety. Safety is really the sum of all of the above, plus the awareness required when hunting in new and possibly remote areas. Being safe includes having both sufficient food and water, being healthy, being physically prepared to undertake the physical aspect of hunting and being ready for what could be dramatic climate changes. Safety readiness also applies to you and your knowledge of and comfort with your weapon. Hunter education, survival training, and possibly emergency medical training are also very important aspects to hunting. It is my experience that trying to substitute technology i.e., carrying your smart phone in exchange for taking the time to be prepared is an error. And, most times I find that my phone doesn’t have cellular capabilities in the remote areas.

Chances are, if you are physically ready for your hunt, you are mentally prepared as well. You have considered the various logistics of your hunt: travel, licenses, etc. You have considered temperature, altitude and decided on appropriate clothing, footwear, etc. You have planned for success by spending time at the range and you have figured out how you will ultimately retrieve your game.

So the reality is, the principles for your success are no different from those of male hunters, youth hunters, etc. Hunters of all ages and all genders must be prepared to ensure success and enjoyment.

Congratulations, and enjoy your hunt!

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Hunting Out West for the First Time

Tom Anderson, Wildlife Pursuit


Many hunters who live in the mid-west dream of traveling to a western state to hunt mule deer, pronghorn, or elk and experiencing all the West has to offer.

The choices and tag acquisition process can be daunting. There are over-the-counter and leftover tag options in some states, but most states issue the majority of their tags through a drawing with either a “Bonus Point” or a “Preference Point” system. Bonus points and preference points are accumulated from unsuccessful applications, or can be purchased from the state without applying. Their value differs in that “bonus points” just add to your odds of drawing by giving you an additional entry into the random drawings for each point, while applicants with the highest number of “preference points” awarded the tags before someone with lesser points. Maximum points does not guarantee a tag, however, because there may not be enough tags to grant to everyone who applies for a particular hunt with maximum points.

Some states allocate tags for those who hunt with an outfitter. Nevada actually squares the number the bonus points, and adds that number to the current application, and gives you that number of “entries in their tag drawing. That rapidly increases your odds of drawing if you keep applying year after year.

Some states use a strict Preference Point system (Colorado and Arizona); some utilize a Bonus Point system (Utah, Nevada, Montana and Oregon). Just to add to the confusion, some allocate the majority of their tags to those with the most preference points, and the rest through a random drawing of the other “first – choice” applicants (Wyoming).

New Mexico has no preference or bonus points, so everyone has the same chance to draw tags that
they allocate for non-residents, but you must choose either the guided or unguided category.

The application processes are admittedly confusing and varied. To get started, I recommend getting the hunting regulations from each state you may ever want to hunt in and become familiar with their processes. They are available on-line as well as having the wildlife departments mail copies to you. Carefully read each one and decide where you can hunt the desired species with over-the-counter tags, and go for it.

Another option is to consult publications such as “Eastman’s Hunting/Bowhunting Journal” or “The Huntin’ Fool” which publish drawing odds, guide you through the confusing application processes and summarize pros and cons of many state hunting units.

If you want a chance at the “Trophy” animals that are much more abundant in areas managed for them, and naturally much harder to get tags for, start applying and/or purchase bonus/preference points for your dream hunt. If you want a finite (though small) chance of drawing without points, then apply in Wyoming where they award a small number of highly desired tags to applicants with zero points each year. As I said, the drawings in New Mexico are random each year with no preference given to those who have applied in the past: you have the same chance as anyone else! I encourage you to get out here and enjoy the West, and accumulate bonus or preference points for a future “hunt-of-a-lifetime” for.

Wyoming - Elk


Wildlife Pursuit: Venison Burrito Bowl

Ashley Kurtenbach, Wildlife Pursuit

Let’s face it, as hunters we like venison; we like the taste, the organic protein source and of course it’s part of our hunting adventure that we get to take home to our families. However, not everyone is a fan of having some fine venison grub. This recipe is quick, easy, and sure to please both family and friends.



Serving Size: 1 large portion

Venison Elk (5 oz – aftercooked) (I used elk but a number of other venison works great)
Options: antelope, deer, etc
½ avocado
1/3 c. black beans (drained and rinsed)
½ c. brown rice
3 TBSP Salsa
½ TBSP Olive Oil
1 tsp minced garlic
Sea Salt
Black Pepper

1. Cut meat into 1” cubes.
2. Steam or cook rice as directed, sprinkle and stir in sea salt as desired.
3. Preheat skillet to med/med-high heat.
4. Heat olive oil and minced garlic in skillet.
5. Add meat to skillet season with sea salt and black pepper, sauté (stirring frequently) until desired doneness.
6. Place rice in a bowl, top with cooked venison, add avocado and mix.
7. Add black beans and top with salsa.
8. Enjoy

When thawing wild game it is best to do via refrigerator, by slowing thawing it aides in reducing the “wild game” taste to the venison when cooked.

*Nutrition information below is estimated of several sources.
Calories: 599
Protein: 43.3 g
Carbs: 60.7 g
Fat: 20.7 g
Adjust serving size based on your nutritional needs/goals.

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