Early Goose Tactics

Levi Nesvold, Wildlife Pursuit

WPIt is that time of year again, the farmers are starting the wheat harvest and family groups of Canada geese are starting to fly around in search of a feeding spot. Here are a few tips on how to make your hot, humid, yet always exciting early goose season a great one!

  • Scout, scout and scout some more. Grab your buddies and hit the road!
  • Check everywhere. I have hunted birds in all types of fields, pastures and bodies of water.

Many times in the early season there are only a few wheat fields that are harvested. Be sure to look in drowned out spots in bean and corn fields, empty cattle pastures where there is short green grass or on the sides of sandy river banks.

  • Be prepared. It is most likely going to be warm. Don’t be afraid to wear shorts in your blind and drink plenty of water! Also make sure to keep your dog cool and hydrated, as it can be very hard on them in that early season heat.
  • Mobility. Be ready to move during this time of the year, as the family groups may not come back to the same field day and night, especially after being shot at. If you see them flying from water to water, it’s best to hang tight and wait for them to eat. Don’t get discouraged.
  • Pack it light. 2 dozen decoys can go a long way in the early season. I recommend setting your decoys in the usual “U” shape, while making little family groups of decoys. As an example, place 3 feeders and 1-2 looker decoys in a small group 15ft from the others, creating a more extensive look. No one wants to be picking up 10 dozen decoys in 90 degree heat, so be smart!

Best of luck this year!

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Summer Scouting

By Matthew Skoy, Wildlife Pursuit

WP Summer Scout FeaturePreparing for the early archery season requires a hunter to rely on Covert scouting cameras and plenty of windshield time. Covert scouting cameras provide wonderful opportunities to track deer movement and document a variety of activity. In addition to utilizing cameras, spending time on the road with good binoculars can provide very useful information.

During the summer months, I spend countless hours traveling roadways and scouting potential hunting areas. I spend a lot of time focusing my attention on food sources and bedding areas as well as the runways connecting both locations. I enjoy traveling throughout the countryside scouting during the summer months for several reasons.

  • Deer movement can be patterned, providing early season opportunities
  • An overall census or deer count can be done with the more visible nature of deer in the summer months
  • Allows the hunter to strategically locate and visually assess hunting terrains before hanging twisted timber stands.
  • Deer visibility creates great anticipation for the upcoming season, as your no longer hunting a ghost
  • Scouting is a great opportunity to be outdoors and share that time with kids and others as you cruise the countryside

We’ve all heard the story of the first-timer who walks into the forest on their first hunt and finds success killing a trophy. The reality of this story is that luck is inconsistent and if you want to increase your odds, spend time scouting during the summer months. Remember, the more you put into the hunt the more you will receive. Good luck and shoot straight!

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Ulmer Edge Broadhead by Trophy Taker

Jesse Kurtenbach, Wildlife Pursuit

2014 - Ulmer Edge 1In today’s wide market of mechanical and fixed blade broadheads, there are many quality choices of broadheads to choose from in your pursuit of big game. Lucky for the average bowhunter in Rusty Ulmer’s (brother of the bowhunting legend Randy Ulmer) search for a better broadhead, he came to the decision to design his own. Rusty took an already existing mechanical broadhead design and improved on it. Using his design paired with a well-known archery manufacturer (Trophy Taker) led us to one of the top mechanical broadheads on the market for the past few years.

 

FIELD POINT ACCURACY

  • The design has a four or six edge tip versus the traditional two or four-sided, allowing the stainless steel broadhead to spin more similar to a rounded field point.
  • The blades are tucked away with a low profile and guaranteed not to deploy during flight or while housed in your quiver, and not disturbing the aerodynamics during the flight of your arrow.
  • In case you aren’t convinced by the design, this broadhead is one of the few or potentially only broadhead on the market, that you can lock the blades with a set screw. This allows you to shoot your hunting set-up without dulling the blades or tearing up your targets.

 

2014 - Ulmer Edge 2QUICK ETHICAL HARVEST LEADING TO FASTER RECOVERY

  • With the large cutting diameter (1 ½”) and rear-deploying blades, it reminds me of F-14 Tomcat wings, will aide in an adequate blood trail.
  • In the case that you make an imperfect shot and hit a bone, the blades will swivel to “guide” your broadhead around the bone, allowing deeper penetration.
  • When experiencing a shot that doesn’t pass through, the double-edge blades are razor sharp on both sides to cause additional hemorrhaging if the arrow backs out.

 

Ulmer Edge is offered in:

  • Aluminum (Stainless steel tip)
  • 100 grain (1.5” cut) black or lost camo
  • 125 grain (1.5 or 2” cut) black or lost camo
  • Stainless Steel (Made for small diameter arrows)
  • 100 or 125 grain (1.5” cut) black or lost camo

I am excited to add these broadheads to my quiver this fall. Find your Trophy Taker Ulmer Edge broadheads at your local Scheels sporting goods store.

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Big Game Expectations – Are They Inflated?

By Jason Wright, Co-Host of Ultimate Outdoor Adventures TV

Feature

As a television co-host with Ultimate Outdoor Adventures TV, I have had the opportunity along with my business partners Kurt Schirado and John Arman to provide input through a variety of media. This includes hosting seminars during the off-season, outdoor articles, as well as radio segments with Dakota Prairie Outdoors throughout the past 8 years. I have jotted down a few of the most often asked questions and/or those questions that I found myself preoccupied with days or possibly weeks later while sitting on stand overlooking a cornfield, or as I waited patiently perched atop a high vantage point in hopes of catching a glimpse of a buck. Below is one of those questions which are oftentimes debated amongst big game hunters. I too find myself pondering over and now attempting to address within this article, partially for the entertainment of our readers. This is also an opportunity to put some of my own thoughts on paper, and I think that many hunters can relate to the topic through their own experiences in the field. Some will agree with my opinion(s) while others will disagree.

In your opinion, what is a trophy hunter, and do you consider yourself to be a trophy hunter?

Have you ever browsed the photo gallery of an outdoor website and found yourself drooling at the number of photos displaying hunters with “trophy” bucks and/or awed at the introduction of many televised hunting shows displaying colossal long tined bucks with mass similar to that of a Louisville Slugger. Do you ever ask yourself, “Do they live in the same world I hunt?” or “What am I doing wrong?” I do. Wait…I know…They must all be trophy hunters obviously passing numerous nice bucks only to have a monster walk by them the last day of the season; right?

It can deflate the self-esteem of the most experienced hunter after looking at photo after photo of monster bucks taken by fellow sportsmen/women, and for the most part they are just normal outdoors men/women just like us; weekend warriors. We all dream of wrapping our archery or rifle deer tag around the base of a 170” – 180” whitetail – at least those of us that live in the world I hunt do – but unfortunately, reality hits and the fact is there most likely isn’t a deer that big within miles of where most of us hunt. I know, with all that cover and wide open space, there must be at least one 180” whitetail or 200” mule deer that will eventually cross my path. Yes, and if we are truly lucky, he might just appear from the other world – the world of trophy bucks.

Ok, so I am being a bit sarcastic, and yes the possibility of a giant buck in your hunting unit does exist, and it’s this illusion that drives us to prepare, scout, and hunt as hard and smart as we possibly can while passing up numerous respectable bucks because we are searching for the dream. After glassing another buck, we find ourselves turning to our hunting partner and repeating the same phrase day in and day out, “Just another really respectable and heavy 4×4 with good brow tines,” talking ourselves out of shooting decent bucks that will supposedly grow to enormous proportions in two years if we let them walk. But, will this actually happen in the world you and I hunt?

Congratulations we have now become trophy hunters, but the real question might be, “Is this really the world we want to join?” When I looked up the definition of the word “trophy,” some words really stood out among the rest: victory, success and memento. But, I failed in finding any definition that stated anything about the largest deer in the woods or the inches of antlers required to be considered a “trophy” big game animal. So what exactly is a trophy buck? Is it a standard set by you/I or is it something that we feel we need to live up to in order to impress other hunters?

Most avid hunters that I know began their hunting careers knowing only what their parents had passed down to them; therefore, in their early to mid-teens the first big game animal was either a mature doe or small antlered buck. Then throughout the years these same hunters – me included – learn to appreciate the outdoors as well as hone their skills whether rifle or bow and become more proficient with their weapon of choice. As we go through these stages of hunter development antler size also becomes the goal from one year to next as we continue to raise the bar until the bar is nearly out of reach for most of us that call ourselves hard hunting weekend warriors.

I have watched many hunters go through the phases of becoming a proficient outdoors person,  and listened to them tell me about how nothing ever seems to go their way anymore and/or how they have used up all their luck. Don’t get me wrong, nothing unfortunate happened to any of these hunters while in the field. Their outdoor adventures haven’t produced shots at anything but nice bucks, decent bucks, or respectable bucks; no opportunity at a monster or trophy buck. I begin to wonder if their inflated standards, while in search of a trophy buck, blurred their vision as to the real world they’re hunting. The reality for most of us hunting the great state of North Dakota is the unforgiving winters, amount of land we all have access to whether it is private or public, and the agricultural practices which assist with growing trophy size racks. It’s obvious that there are places that are managed for trophy bucks throughout the country which all of us have the same opportunity to hunt, but you had better have much deeper pockets than me if you want to hunt some of those ranches. There are some unique areas found within North Dakota that definitely do produce and/or grow big bucks, and many hunters throughout the state consistently kill big deer every year because they live near these areas and/or have access to hunt these particular “big buck” areas.

I am not saying that a bruiser buck isn’t roaming the area(s) that you and I hunt, but rather, what is the realistic opportunity of killing a 160,” 170” or 180” buck and should our inflated standards be condensed only to waiting for an opportunity of a “trophy” size animal. Is the prospect of killing big bucks attainable in the area/unit you hunt? But, before you answer that question, maybe we all need to figure out what a true trophy animal is and/or whether or not it’s actually the animal which should be measured or if it’s the time spent leading up to – including the successful kill and recovery which is the true trophy. I have my answer, do you?

When it comes to any big game hunt I prefer my Hoyt and broadhead tipped Easton Axis arrows over my high-power rifle; therefore, I spend countless hours on stand thinking about life. I also find myself asking the question, “Am I just enjoying the outdoors, or am I truly having fun?” I am a hunter, and I spend countless hours honing my skills and preparing for all hunts; therefore, just enjoying the outdoor moment isn’t enough for me; I want it all. All too often the aforementioned hunters head into the field morning and evening, day in and day out, but continue to complain and feel disappointed because once again nothing “of trophy” quality presented a shot opportunity. They’re not having fun! On a recent trip to Scheels in Bismarck, I nodded my head with curiosity as I listened to a bowhunter brag about not having killed a buck – or a deer for that matter – in the last 7 years because he is against taking any whitetail under 160”. Again the question immediately burst into my head, “Is he really having fun or is he missing out?”

I am not against anyone wanting to wait for a “once in a lifetime” buck, but I can’t help wonder if some of these sportsmen/women aren’t missing out on the incredible thrill of the adrenaline rush and uncontrollable heart pounding that begins immediately when the decision is made to take an animal; no matter the size and/or whether it is a doe or buck. I couldn’t imagine going years without the awesome pressure of drawing my bow or settling the crosshairs of my Nikon scope, picking out the perfect spot, and following through trusting I’ll make the shot knowing that this is what I have practiced and prepared for all year; the moment of truth. Then the immediate sensation of “after-the-shot” syndrome kicks in as you concentrate on the fleeing animal while replaying the shot in your mind over and over nervously asking yourself, “Was the shot good?” and just then the animal stops, begins to sway first to the right and then to the left; “Yes, good shot!” As the rush of adrenaline slowly returns to normal your knees begin to shake and a sense of weakness overrides your body forcing you to sit while you mentally note the entire experience from the preparation, scouting, and being thankful for the opportunity to be a hunter.

Those hunters that are so serious in their pursuit for the biggest buck in the woods oftentimes lose sight of the goal of having fun. I find myself thinking, “Then what’s the point?” “Are you enjoying your hunts, or are you having fun?” We may all answer that question with differing opinions based on personal experiences or hunting locations. Whatever the answer might be, remember we are passing our beliefs onto the youth of today who also need to be able to choose whether or not they should enjoy their big game experience and/or truly have fun. A word that comes to mind is “proficiency” and whether or not a hunter that has chosen not to pull the trigger for many years because he/she is waiting for something “worthy” of being a trophy will actually be able to make the shot – because of lack of real experience – if and when that buck does appear. I cannot blame them for waiting, but on the other hand, what about all the planning, preparation, and expense, not to mention early mornings/late evenings as well as dealing with Mother Nature. It’s fun to know whether or not you can put it all together and make it work.

Isn’t it everything from the practice sessions at the local range to scouting and gaining permission to hunt specific parcels of land, and everything in between leading up to the recovery and photo sessions to follow which is the trophy? Or is it simply determined by the sum of the measurements? Well, the answer is simple for this hunter! If you had the opportunity to hangout in my “room of accomplishments” you would quickly determine that it isn’t filled with “trophy size” animals according to some hunter’s standards. But, if you had the time and patience, it would become very obvious as I describe in great detail all the events that took place during each specific hunt. It isn’t the measurable size of the animal which determines its worth, but rather, it’s the entire experience and who it’s shared with that becomes the trophy.

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Set Up for Elk Hunting Success

By Warren Holder, Raised Hunting

Crown RoyalLast month we talked about the importance of preparing for your archery elk hunt. This month we will talk about the best ways to set up on elk. Being the best caller or the best shooter won’t accomplish anything if your set up is wrong.

The Set Up:

The first rule is to put yourself where the elk want to be. Scouting will identify places where elk like to hang out, as opposed to the places where they may only be watering or feeding during the night.

The second rule is wind. No matter when or where you hunt, keeping the wind in your favor is a must. Any mistakes made with the wind and the elk wins.

The third rule is get close, and when I say close I mean one hundred yards or less – this is ideal for the shooter. The caller in this situation should go with the shooter to his location or as close as he can and then back off to call. This will make sure the caller knows exactly where the shooter is located.

So now, you have gotten in to the right area, the wind is in your favor and you have moved into close range. The next thing to consider is terrain. When it comes to terrain, blind corners, cliffs, large bodies of water and even fences can help to keep bulls from circling your location, but if one of these structures ends up between you and the bull, they can act as a brick wall. If possible, keep these areas at your back.

The Caller:

When you hunt with a partner, you have to trust one another. Rule one for our caller: stay back far enough to call the elk past your shooter. If the caller is close enough that he can see the shooter when he shoots, the caller is too close. Being back this far allows for several things to happen: first, the elks attention will be on the caller and not on the shooter; and second, the caller is able to add realism such as breaking limbs and rolling rocks without being seen by approaching elk.

Rule number two for the caller: be ready to move calling locations quickly, while remaining undetected. When I am the caller, I always draw an imaginary straight line from me to the elk, my shooter should be on the line, so that as the bull heads toward me, he must pass right by my shooter. If the bull begins to drift one way or another, I move my calling location to keep the bull heading for my shooter.

The third and final rule for the caller: don’t walk up to the shooter until the shooter calls for you. Nothing ruins an elk hunt quicker than calling a big bull in, only to get impatient and run it off just before your partner gets a shot.

The Shooter:

The first rule for the shooter: once in place, you are not allowed to move locations. The shooter must trust the caller, which means resist the temptation to move even if it is only a few yards.

Rule number two for the shooter: no calling. The only time the shooter should be calling is to stop an elk for a shot. I used to suggest that the shooter could also signal the caller, with one or two cow calls to let him know “I am ready.” but after studying this method, we have found that no sound should come from the shooter’s location until they are at full draw. The shooter must remain silent to keep the elks full attention on the caller, allowing the caller to pull the bull past the shooter, thus reducing the chances of the bull hanging up.

Now I don’t consider these as rules, but rather tips for shooters: don’t take yourself out of the game by backing into cover to tightly, and never set up where objects may hinder drawing your bow, or freely swinging your bow left or right.

I promise that with or without the rules, bow hunting for elk will be one of the most exciting and humbling experiences you can ever imagine. You will do everything right in your set up most of the time, but if you are like me, you will occasionally try and bend the rules, and when you do, the elk will make you pay.

P1020689 (1)Let’s recap the rules for success, regardless wherever or whenever you elk hunt:

1. Always hunt where the elk are going to be.
2. Keep the wind in your face.
3. Use the terrain to your advantage.

If you are going to bow hunt for elk, try and hunt with a partner as you will greatly improve your odds.

Just remember when you are calling:

1. If you can see the action you are too close.
2. Moving around as you call will add realism and keep elk coming straight to you.
3. Never go to the shooter; let the shooter come to you
.

If you are the shooter, all you have to remember is that famous statement from our parents:“Sit down and shut up”

1. No moving locations.
2. No calling
Bonus tip: Never hide so well that you can’t shoot.

Oh! I almost forgot the most important rule of all: when your set up is perfect, and you have done everything right –

Shoot Straight!

For more information on how the “Raised Hunting” team gets it done, visit www.raisedhunting.com

 

 

 

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Simplicity of Deer Movement & Habits

By Jason Wright, Co-Host Ultimate Outdoor Adventures TV

3Early Season and Deer Patterns…

We know that one of the rewards for early season bowhunting is that mature bucks will oftentimes still be in their summer patterns. They have not had a great deal of pressure and may still be with bachelor groups. So, what does this mean for the bowhunter? You have a chance of catching a big buck still in his summer home range during daylight hours.

Next, you want to consider what food sources he is feeding on that may include: food plots, corn fields or a lush alfalfa field. In addition to the food source locate the WATER source and bedding area. Along with food, water can be a major factor, which is often overlooked, in deer patterns especially when the weather is unseasonably hot and dry during the early season. If you are fortunate to have land access where you have planted a food plot, this is the time of year you will see mature bucks feeding in a food plot during daylight hours, so take advantage of your hard work. What if you are hunting an area that doesn’t have a concentrated food source? Your next option should be to concentrate your stand/blind location(s) near a water source nearest to the bedding area. A trail leading up to the water source from a bedding area can be a PRIME stand location for this time of year. Keep in mind a mature buck will come down wind!

Although the month of August can be hot, causing many to sit inside rather than outside, it can be a critical month for the avid whitetail hunter. Bucks are formed in bachelor groups and are highly visible during daylight hours as they frequent water and food sources providing opportunities for successful scouting in your hunting area. This becomes even more exciting when several quality bucks are sighted on the land you have access to bowhunt. However, this excitement can oftentimes turn to disappointment and frustration as these bucks magically seem to disappear; some of you might know what I mean. Everyone in camp begins to scratch their heads and individual theories and questions are tossed out while sitting by the fire. Did they leave? Become nocturnal? Did a disease get them? Maybe the neighbor killed them?

A mature buck’s home/core area…

During the evenings while pre-fishing a recent fishing tournament, I took advantage of my iPhone and sent out some emails to various big game experts/biologists. I also spent time reading various studies that have been conducted by universities and researchers concerning the movement as well as home and core areas of a whitetail buck. Every year throughout deer season our group is always going back and forth as to what the actual “home range” of a whitetail is and how its “core range” changes throughout the year.

The data that I collected showed that the average or normal home range of a mature buck is anywhere from 600 – 800 acres, but this was a bit misleading since some experts felt that there are certain bucks which are homebodies never leaving their home area while others are travelers roaming everywhere. Everyone also agreed with what most of us already know which is that a mature buck’s home range is quite small during the summer months because there is no need to move and is considerably larger during the rut due to its drive to breed. My own experiences have also shown that mature bucks will spend most of the summer and early fall on or very near an agricultural field but as certain crops are harvested these deer tend to shift their home range a mile or more away which can coincide with the rut. Some of the experts I called upon for answers felt this could have more to do with the changes in forage availability and that some blame it more on the rut. This could also explain why many hunters – me included especially in agricultural areas don’t see the bucks they watched all summer and throughout September.

What I found to be most interesting as a hunter is that the average size of a mature bucks “core” area or where he spends most of his time is only around 100 acres. This too is larger during the rut, but much of the data also stated that during the rut bucks spend most of their time in less than 20% of their home ranges. This makes it much easier to understand why mature bucks seem to disappear during the hunting season.

1What does this mean to those of us that enjoy chasing big whitetails? Well, it’s obvious that it is important to determine what the core area is of the buck you have been scouting all summer. There are two ways to do this which is to get out there and scout as well as use the modern technology of today’s advanced game cameras. Some hunters get numerous pictures of a big buck throughout August and into September so he/she continues to hunt that area with no success or daytime sightings. Well, if the experts are correct, and mature bucks shift core areas within their home range seasonally, then you will need to shift your hunting. Many of us get caught up in our pre-season scouting and big buck photos in August so we set tree stands or ground blinds based on our pre-season efforts. But many bowhunters are still hunting those same stands late in the season based on what he/she found during pre-season or early season scouting. It might be possible that deer scouted early may not be there as the season progresses or possibly only at night. Paying attention to these details could possibly be the difference between killing those scouted bucks or hoping they are there the next season.

Buck movement during the rut…

Most of us that have spent time scouting deer during the summer months or listening to what others have seen during their scouting trips would agree that bucks tend to move only short distances this time of year and go from their bedding area to a fairly close food source. We would most likely all agree that during our time afield beginning during the pre-rut bucks begin to travel or cover larger portions of the “home” range but usually will return to their “core” areas within 24 hours. This was also confirmed by the research and information I received but what I found to be quite interesting was that approximately 60% of bucks during the rut will travel outside of their home range and often stay in this new location for up to 24 hours. This is most likely because they are trailing a doe in estrous and is when many bucks make a big mistake during daylight hours. This is obviously great for those of us that are in the right place at the right time when a mature buck shows up out of nowhere and an arrow hits its mark, but if it’s a buck you had been scouting the entire early season then it can be a disappointment.

These random travel movements could explain why some big bucks that have never been caught on railcam or watched from a mile away through a spotting scope seem to magically appear and either get harvested or vanish from your area, never to be seen again on the property you hunt. Again, we all are aware that big bucks don’t get big by spending time out and about during daylight hours and that leading up to and after the rut 70% of a buck’s movement takes place in the dark.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother piece of interesting information was that of the research and data collected is that during the peak of the rut 70% of a mature buck’s movement occurs during daylight hours, which obviously explains why so many big bucks are harvested during this time of the year. Bowhunting the early season can be challenging if the weather is hot and the bugs crazy; however, the benefits can be memorable if the extra effort is put forth. This is also one of the better times of the year when you have the opportunity to catch a mature buck on his feet during daylight hours. Taking the time to analyze and pattern what your deer are doing as well as paying attention to details to control your scent can help you get the opportunity at a trophy buck during the early bowhunting season. It will also prevent you from having to dig into your ActionPacker that contains your “winter” gear. But, if you are unsuccessful in harvesting the buck you had been watching throughout August then you too might have to change your routine and locate the core area of the big buck you are pursuing.

Good luck this season and remember that practice makes you better – not perfect!

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Beyond The Lumber and Screws: Building a Strong Relationship

By Matthew Skoy, Wildlife Pursuit

2014 - Beyond the lumber 2I just spent an entire weekend with my brother preparing for the upcoming fall hunting season. We woke early and worked for hours, beginning the process of building a tremendous tower stand. The tower stand was being built on the southwest corner of a one acre clover field surrounded by mature timber. In addition to mature timber, an established pond borders the south end of the field, while a mineral station and horizontal rubbing station provide added resources for the deer population. As you can see, this was a terrific spot for a tower stand on our property. We also wanted to make sure the tower was built to accommodate both gun and archery seasons, so the dimensions of the stand were adjusted for multiple shooting positions.

Throughout the process of building the stand, I realized completing the stand was a
focus, but not the ultimate focus. As I’ve reflected on my weekend with brother Zack, another
focus became much clearer. Spending time with my brother in the outdoors was a moment in
time I will cherish forever. Brother Zack is a wonderful person with tremendous passion for the
outdoors. He has taught me many things about hunting and fishing over the years, and I have
always greatly appreciated his wisdom. My earliest memories of hunting have been with brother
Zack, and I know we have many more memories to make over the years during our involvement
with Wildlife Pursuit.

2014 - Beyond the lumberSpending time with family in the outdoors is something I look forward to every year. Listening to brother Zack’s stories after a big hunt is a great and exciting feeling. Even though we live hundreds of miles apart, we still find ways to always share our hunting experiences. After each hunting trip, I immediately call brother Zack to tell him about my hunting adventure. We share hunting strategies and insight and are constantly looking for ways to get better, improve the land and create everlasting memories. I may not always tell him directly, but I truly appreciate him as a brother and love experiencing the challenging and magnificent times together as we journey into the wilderness. Thank you, Zack, for sharing in this rich family tradition.

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The Cabin

Jeremy Elbert, Wildlife Pursuit
TheCabin_Image_WP

Smoke rolling from an old cabin signifies one thing in Wisconsin’s heartland: the Wisconsin gun deer season is moments away. Surrounded by open fields, towering timber, steep ridges and beautiful valleys stands an old cabin that comes to life every November. As the old saying goes, ”if these walls could talk” comes to mind as I reflect on the stories absorbed within those old cabin walls. The hunters that occupy the rustic cabin all agree that deer season is not just about chasing the elusive whitetail, but instead it encompasses so much more. It’s a time when stories are told, young hunters are introduced to rich traditions, and past hunters are remembered. Each year we give a salute to those hunters that have fallen and we remember them as legends of the fall.

The noise of crackling logs in the fireplace fill the air as hunters gather to play cards and tell hunting stories. Laughter fills the silence, as memories are unleashed during the nightly celebration. Coats, hats, and an assortment of clothing hang from all corners of the cabin as the preparation for the morning hunt begins. The clinging of bullets sound like bells as they are sorted and organized.  The television flickers in the background with an old western as snacks are consumed by the dozens. As the snow gathers throughout the night bringing strong winds that spread across the landscape snoring echoes throughout the cabin. Soon the morning will arrive and a sea of orange will enter Mother Nature’s living room.

This hunting tradition is woven deep within the hearts and minds of every hunter who has journeyed to the cabin during the fall of the year. This article is a tribute to family and friends who have contributed to this rich tradition. Thank you for the memories and stories. They will live on forever.

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Pre-Plan for Bowhunting Success

Jason Wright | Co-Host Ultimate Outdoor Adventures TV

TYSyxm9Se3Zvv5lXPeLPxzWm27Du42E3TFUN8CJSRd4It’s no secret that bowhunting is a sport of detail and oftentimes biased opinions about the best brand of bow or archery accessories as well as the best way to successfully hunt and harvest a trophy animal.  In my opinion you have to do everything you can to put the odds in your favor to harvest a mature animal whether you are in pursuit of a monster spring black bear in Canada, early season pronghorn antelope in Wyoming or a trophy whitetail right here in North Dakota.  In order to get within forty yards of most big game animals you either need to have inherited the “lucky horseshoe” or you must do everything nearly perfect.  Human scent control is just one of those details that need to be managed very closely along with deer patterns and movement.  No matter the big game animal, whether in North America or even Africa, you need to do everything you can to manage your scent and cautiously monitor the wind in order to be provided the opportunity to let an arrow fly.  Combine this with the early season conditions such as the heat and pesky bugs and it makes it even more difficult to harvest that animal.  The reality is there can be big rewards with early season bowhunting.  Below are a few tips on how to manage these conditions during the early season as well as what to think about as the season progresses.

Three Strategies to deal with heat and control scent…

1. What type of Clothes to Wear?

2. How to Store your Clothes?

3. When to get Dressed?

 

I like to wear a light weight type of base layer that is a moisture-wicking and very breathable type of top and bottom such as the quality light weight apparel by First Lite which is a cohesive system of Merino Wool + 37.5TM Cocona fabric.  My first layer will usually include the Red Desert Boxer Short, Allegheny Bottom (when necessary) and either the Llano SS or the Llano Crew which are all First Lite products.

The First Lite apparel is a game changing technology because of its wicking qualities, enormous temperature spectrum and natural resistance to odor. This type of base-layer will absorb and wick away perspiration keeping you much cooler than cotton during warm weather hunts.

In my opinion, the first mistake many bowhunters make, and hunters in general, is to wear any type cotton base layer or cotton clothing including socks and underwear. Clothing made from cotton doesn’t wick moisture away from the body, but rather, it absorbs perspiration/moisture like a sponge next to the skin and doesn’t dry quickly which can provide for an uncomfortable hunt.  I don’t wear any base-layer that contains cotton and I recommend when shopping for hunting clothes to check the label to be sure it will provide the benefits necessary to keep you comfortable and stay away from cotton – look for apparel that is 100% ultrafine merino wool or polyester.

On top of my base layer I like to wear a long sleeve quarter zip shirt such as the Chama QZ by First Lite teamed with the Kanab Lightweight Pant both in a camouflage that is appropriate for the terrain or foliage found in the hunt area.  First Lite has many apparel options from Light weight to heavy weight and an incredible outer layering system.

qkNcIe2S6Wx1Gs-JmFsFeQhVUpBX7aPEc4BDRh0JGQsPrior to the start of the season I wash all my cloths with Lethal® Human Scent Eliminator Laundry Detergent which contains OdoBan and hang them outside to dry.  Next I choose to store some of my clothes such as gloves, light warm-weather shirts and my base-layer items in large clear Ziploc bags and then along with the rest of my gear I place it in a Rubbermaid ActionPacker (approximate dimensions 17.0”H x 26.0W x 18.0”D) which can be stored most anywhere indoors/outdoors and easily travels to any destination.  This storage system keeps my clothing away from outside odors and has been very successful for me.

Inside my ActionPacker I also keep my safety harness, boots, day pack and any other item(s) or accessories that I will take into the field.  Because we are fortunate to live in a state with four seasons I find it easiest to have an ActionPacker for each of the seasons that I hunt.  For example, I have one early/mid-season ActionPacker strictly for warm weather hunting whether I am heading to Wyoming in August for an early season antelope hunt or preparing for September whitetail hunt at the ranch.  This particular tote will get me through the end of October pending any early season wintery blasts.  I have another ActionPacker which contains my late season bowhunting clothing/gear.  This is much easier than unpacking and repacking depending on the big game hunt, weather conditions or the time of year.  This storage method also provides the added benefit of making sure the majority of my gear is away from unwanted odors year round.

The multiple ActionPackers have required me over the years to purchase extra items such as beanies, facemasks, lightweight gloves and other items which are more universal throughout the year so that I don’t have to steal from one storage container and then forget to replace it.  This has taken time and I am still working at making it as organized and easy to head into the field no matter the time of year – just grab my ActionPacker and go.

In my opinion when possible, it is best to wait until the very last moment to put on the clothes which you are planning to hunt in and this isn’t always easy.  Instead of getting dressed at the house or camp, where you may pick up some unwanted odors, get dressed in the field prior to hunting.  This helps to keep you as scent free as possible.  Once I get dressed I do spray everything down with Lethal® Human Scent Eliminator Field Spray to remove any potential odors that may get me “busted” in the stand, blind or while walking to my spot.

Another little tip in the early season when the temperature is unseasonably hot is to wait until you get to the stand or blind to put on your outer layer and/or safety harness.  This will help minimize perspiration and body heat while walking to your destination.  Finally, I always make sure I have Lethal® Field Body Wipes in my daypack and use them once I am in the blind or tree stand (after my safety harness has been secured).  These moist wipes are a great way to wipe off the sweat from your head, underarms and body after you are settled in for the hunt.  They will also help to cool you down, remove unwanted human odor/perspiration and they are biodegradable.

I am confident that no matter the type of clothing, sprays and electronic odor eliminating devices that it is still most important to put the wind in your favor!

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Sick to his Stomach

Levi Nesvold, Wildlife Pursuit

o27TnEyHURhoWU8-H7rtKDfgufuVHvPBysEbB-tOYuAAs I pull into to the Nesvold Deer Camp in northern MN, I can see smoke coming out of the old wood stove and the warm glow of the light shining through the windows. When I get out of the pickup, I can hear the usual sounds of laughter and the ever growing argument about who is going to sit in which stand. But something is different this year; there is a bigger feeling of anticipation and excitement as I walk in, that’s because it is the year of my youngest brother’s first deer hunt!

Now being the youngest of four boys he has some big boots to fill, the stories of big bucks missed and the sight of all the racks from years before hanging in the cabin can be a little overwhelming. While we sit and talk about the plan, we decide that he and I will be going to the famous rock pile stand. On the way out to the stand that opening morning we talked about gun safety, and then quietly climb in!

About 10 minutes before legal shooting we were sitting there looking for deer and warming our fingers over the heater when I heard a very familiar and unfortunate sound. I turn around to see my first time hunting partner getting sick over the side of the stand. When I ask if he feels ok, he says “no, I would like to go home”. As I turn around to shut off the heater and gather our gear, again I hear that same sound as my brother gets sick one more time. But this time he looks at me and says “I feel better” and “could I please have some water?”

Now with all the noise and commotion I would have never imagined what would happen next. Not even five minutes after all of this, out walk three yearling does onto the bean field! We pick one out, he gets lined up, and I say “ok whenever you are ready”……. Booooom! There she lays, a perfect shot, his first deer!

As he is hastily making his way out of the stand to claim his trophy I laugh to myself, It wasn’t the flu, something in the water or dads famous bean and weenies that made him sick to his stomach, but maybe a slight case of Da Buck Fever coupled with the excitement and nervousness of trying to fill those boots and join the ranks in the Nesvold Deer Camp.

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