Category Archives: Bowhunting


Let’s Get Real: Ditch The Camouflage

No one enjoys being the last guy standing when the teams are picked. And while the game is being played, it’s never anyone’s goal to just sit on the bench. From childhood we strive for acceptance. In some form or another within the human DNA is a desire to be a part — to be liked by a person or entity.


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Unfortunately, our culture has attempted to meet this need with substitutes. We have been brainwashed into believing that the size of house we live in or the car we drive can contribute to the circle of individuals who will accept us. We are constantly faced with the idea that where we work, what clothes we wear, or how big of deer we harvest each year are what makes us who we are. None of which could be further from the truth.


Beware by what means you measure success


In essence, our attempt to find acceptance through the accumulation of things or through an association with those who seem to be more successful than ourselves is a not much different than the camouflage we wear while hunting whitetail or pursuing wild turkey. Both are attempts to conceal who we really are in an effort to blend in with our surroundings.


Our culture has created a chameleon mentality rather than an eagle mentality. Too much emphasis is put on trying to blend in rather than standing out. Eagles understand that in order to soar high, you may have to fly alone. Maybe it’s time we started writing our own book instead of allowing those around us to pen our pages.


I personally know what it is to be financially independent and then have to start over again. I also know what it is to live in a large house and have to move on. Let me ask you — just because the economy tanked and companies go bankrupt, does that make me less of a person? Neither does it make you any less of an individual when you can’t have what the next guy has, live like the other guy does or seem to be as successful as they are. So it also goes with the passion of hunting.


We all have had our share of heartache


I have had opportunity to meet some great people within the outdoor industry. It’s an honor to share a common passion for hunting and the outdoors with like-minded people. As I have sat across the table with the well-known and not so well-known there is one thing they all have in common. They are people — people with a heart, hopes and heartaches. Behind the TV shows, trophies, and successful career, is a person who has had difficult times just like you.


Maybe your company has downsized and you are not able to buy that new bow or go on the guided hunt. Maybe your family is struggling financially and you haven’t been able to hunt like you want. Maybe due to your losses you’ve started thinking that life isn’t worth living. I’ve been there and I know how you feel. But in reality, your losses do not define who you are.


The problem is not the losses; the problem is the focus. It’s time we developed the warrior mind-set a — pattern of thinking where we take more pride in the ability to press on than we do in our ability to make an appearance. We need a shift in the way we see failure and defeat. If you’re still crawling, you’re not defeated. As Austin O’Malley said, “The fact that you have been knocked down is interesting, but the length of time you remain down is important.” It’s not the avoiding of hard times that makes us what we are, it’s getting up and playing the game while bleeding that makes us.


Never doubt you can make it


I want you to remember that there is more to life than having the latest hunting equipment and shooting the biggest deer. There is more to life than how many digits are in your annual income. You’re not less of a person because of your circumstances. God created you as a unique individual who has the strength to make it through your hard times. Never doubt it.


So as we traverse the roads filled with ups and downs, lets keep our focus on what really maters. It’s each other – not stuff. It’s our families and loves ones – not things. It’s ending the day knowing I did my absolute best. End this day by kicking self-pity in the tail and telling him to get lost. Bow your head and tell God you’re proud of who you are and thankful to be alive. Never give up, you can make it!




shed hunting

Shed Hunting Tips: Don’t Rush It

The thought of finding hidden treasure captivates something within us—maybe that’s why we are enamored with shed hunting. Who doesn’t enjoy the stories of treasure troves and lost fortunes connected with pirates or Old West outlaws. 
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As a child, it was Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island that inspired many days of digging in the barnyard pretending I was a buccaneer seeking Flint’s buried gold. I almost wonder if these childhood influences are still being carried out in the form of shed hunting?  


If you’re like me, shed hunting possesses the same anticipation as looking for lost fortune. Call it the adult Easter egg hunt or natures hide and seek, whatever compels us—it’s addictive. But, unlike the stories of lost loot, shed antlers don’t come with a treasure map marked with an X.


Shed Hunting 101 – Be Patient


There are some avid shed hunters already finding some envious bone and the temptation is to go tromp through your favorite honey hole hoping to locate a fresh thrown antler. But, if your trail camera shows the majority of bucks are still holding, don’t rush it.

 Shed Hunting


Our strategy for shed hunting this time of year is to walk edges and stay out of our bucks bedding or core areas. If we know the majority of bucks haven’t shed, our shed hunting consists of walking fence lines and glassing open hillsides. 


Limit Pressure When Shed Hunting


The goal is to limit the pressure we place on bucks. Too much pressure on a mature buck means he could easily travel to property we can’t shed hunt and there goes our chance of finding his trophy crown.


It’s hard to wait, especially when you know there’s a chance of finding some booner bone. Yet, we all know the reward will be worth it. Take it slow and you just might increase your chances of finding that trophy shed. 


Shed Hunt Whitetail


Deer hunting

Bow Season: Has It Ended or Just Begun

As the sun tucked itself behind the last of the clouds, I watched as two bucks and five does fed into the fading light. This was a good way to end the last day of archery season. Unfortunately, the 150-class buck I encountered earlier in the week was a no-show for this party.
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Before securing my boots into the Lone Wolf climber, I cherished the moment. This had been a good year. There had been several encounters and plenty of indelible experiences. Sharing these moments with my two boys made this season all the more memorable.


The highlight of the year was to hear my boys whisper from the other side of the tree, “Dad, deer!” I was going to miss the camaraderie. Shaking my head at how fast this season had passed, I stood there savoring the memories.


Then I realized—this is not an end—it’s only a beginning.


There are properties to scout


Having recently acquired several hundred acres of new hunting property, there is some serious scouting to do. Now that season’s over, it’s time to take a few Saturdays and bust the brush. We’ll be searching for prime bedding areas and learning the main travel corridors to and from food sources. Using GIS maps will enable us to assimilate this information and hang stands accordingly.


There are trail cameras to hang


Now that we can legally put out food and mineral, it’s time to move some trail cameras and establish what bucks we have on our property. Drawing a multitude of deer to a few strategically placed feeding sources, just might give us some pleasant surprises. We’ve already had some good bucks on the SD cards, so we’re excited to see what else might show up. Being a mixture of row crops, creek bottoms and heavy oak ridges, this property is bound to hold some bruisers.


There are sheds to find


With testosterone levels dropping, it won’t be long until the bucks will be laying some bone in the dirt. Having seen several bucks whose headgear would make a nice addition to our antler pile, we have the necessary inspiration to cover a lot of ground. There are several South-facing slopes that just might hold some large pointed pieces of protein. Hopefully it’ll be our good fortune to find them.


There are predators to kill


Plenty of coyote sign and a visible den are sure signs that we have excess predators. It’s the time to put the Fox Pro caller to work and reduce the number of predators on the property. Although predator hunting is fun, it’s also a must for adequately preserving the deer herd.


(At Christmas my children surprised me with Flambeau Lone Howler decoy. We named it Delilah and will be putting her out to help lure, Mr. Sampson Coyote. I think their gift was a hint they would like to make some fur fly this winter.)


There are new trees to locate


Post season is a great time to locate suitable trees to hang a stand. A tree might look good in early season and leave you completely exposed when it gets late and the leaves fall. I’ve already noticed a couple of suitable trees that I want to hang a stand in for next season. These trees offer good late season cover and allow for a proper entrance and exit routes.


There are shooting lanes to trim


There’s no reason to wait till next July to trim shooting lanes. Once we’ve located our stand locations, we’ll trim shooting lanes. Remember when trimming lanes that vertical lanes allow more cover than horizontal. It’s also important this time of year to consider the spring growth. Allow yourself some added room when cutting back limbs. Trimming shooting lanes this far in advance of the fall season will give your area plenty of time to recover from the disturbance and help to limit unnecessary scent within your prime hunting areas.


There are food plots to plant


We’re still working on our food plot strategy and will be working with the QDMA to make the plots as productive as possible. This means soil samples, ample fertilization, tillage and planting. We will also be working with landowners to help them understand our long-term commitment to quality habitat. Our property also holds Eastern wild turkeys, meaning our food plots will be serving a dual purpose.


There are 3D shoots to enjoy


Post-season means the start of indoor 3D archery shoots. Our family enjoys the competition and it’s a great way to spend the weekend when it’s cold outside. Shooting under pressure helps to keep us sharp and it’s a great way to meet other archers who share the same passion.


It’s not an end


As I planted my feet into the climber and made my decent, I realized again—there’s no off-season. The enjoyment and hard work of whitetail hunting goes on 365 days a year.


Bow season hasn’t ended — it’s just begun.




Beating The Late Season Bowhunter Blues

Psyched by pre-season scouting you marked the calendar like a kid at Christmas – the first day of archery season couldn’t arrive soon enough. Motivated by the giants on your hit list, those first few weeks in the treestand were euphoria. Each new sunrise was laced with the anticipation that this would be the day you’d bring home Mr. Talltines.
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Now things have changed. It’s post rut and the bucks have been pressured for several weeks. The countless hours of sitting in the stand have left you wondering if the bucks on your trail camera were a mere pre-season mirage. Disappointment has caused second-guessing and your asking yourself, what did I do wrong?


Although you may be suffering from a case of bowhunter blues, this is not the time to confuse feeling with fact. The fact is, late season bowhunting is a great opportunity to harvest the deer of a lifetime.


Now is the time to take a step back, re-strategize and make the last few weeks of bow season really count.

Go Scouting Again


Seemingly able to vanish into thin air, late season bucks can make you believe they have the ability of a Disney super-hero. Changing weather, hunting pressure, food sources and post-rut recovery are factors that determine where a buck will reside late season. If you’re having a hard time locating your trophy, stop hunting and take the time to do some serious late-season scouting.


Implement whatever tactics are necessary to find where your buck is hanging out. If it means repositioning your trail cameras, using a spotting scope to glass certain food sources or setting up a ground blind at a safe distance and watching through a pair of binoculars, scouting will be your ticket to late season success.


Not only will scouting help you locate your deer, but just one glimpse of that bruiser buck will get you out of the doldrums and help energize you for the late season.


Think Thick


Small but dense wood lots are a favorite hangout for late season whitetail. With the undergrowth shedding the last of its leaves, deer are seeking to find security in thick cover. This doesn’t mean a buck will altogether abandon his general core area but he will likely migrate to the thickest part of it.


The size of a patch of cover is less important than the quality of cover. This time of year the small and overlooked pieces of property can become inhabited by a buck seeking sanctuary and relief from hunting pressure.


These small and ignored gems can often be located a few hundred feet from a house or residential area. Don’t be too proud to hang your stand or set up your blind within sight of someone’s home.


In spite of how small an area might be, if it has good cover and is close to a food source, you should check it out. You might be surprised at the quality of deer that are finding a haven there.


Find The Food


Post-rut bucks are worn out from long nights and hot dates. This makes finding a viable food source number one when trying to come up with a late season strategy. From acorns to corn stubble, it’s important to take the time and locate the best food source in your area.


A buck might pass up acorns in early season when he has crops to dine on, but when crops are gone and he’s in need of some sustenance, he’ll come back to the rich nutrients of an acorn. Hunting over this type of food source is vital during the late season.


Knowing you’re hunting in an area where a buck feels secure, has ample cover and is close to sufficient food, will help to give your confidence a much-needed boost.


Stay The Course


Early season confidence prompts carefulness. Maintaining that carefulness is just as important in late season. Waiting for the right wind, maintaining proper scent control and continuing to access your stand as carefully as possible, are fundamentals that can’t be ditched during moments of disappointment.


Don’t allow fatigue and frustration to wear you down. Get some rest, stay sharp and re-focus on the goal at hand. If anyone is worn out, let it be the trophy you’re hunting and not you.


Think Positive


If you’ve done your homework, there’s as much opportunity today as there was the first day of season – or maybe more. Bundle up, buck up, and brave another all day sit in the stand. It only takes a matter of moments for it all to come together. Don’t let a case of the late season blues keep you from harvesting the buck of your dreams.


Keep believing – a lot can happen in a short amount of time.




Hunting with kids

Tough Satisfaction Versus Easy Success (Hunting With A 12-Yr-Old Traditional Archer)

For as long as I can remember he’s had a knack for making things. Give him a few moments and with what looks like junk, he’ll make a fine piece of archery equipment. God only knows how many handcrafted bows I’ve tripped over in the last 5 years. In my book, they’re just sticks, to him they’re the beginning of a finely crafted longbow.

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He’s not like my other boys. He would rather shoot traditional archery than have the finest compound on the planet. His dream is to own a Hoyt Dorado.


His heroes are Fred Bear, Fred Eichler and anyone else who hunts with traditional archery equipment. He’s so enamored with Fred Eichler that his arrows have pink feathers and his Bear recurve has Fred’s signature – right above the arrow rest.


His idea of quality time is having dad throw clay pigeons for him to shoot. Actually, I’ve learned to dodge flu-flu arrows and judo points quite well.


At only 12-yrs-old, he’s the talk at local 3D shoots. Whether or not he has the high score – the sponsors and competitors are simply impressed by how well he shoots instinctively – so the lucky little bugger usually wins something.


Hunting whistle-pigs in Emmett, ID. One of many at 20 yards.

When this year’s deer season rolled around, it came as no surprise that my little traditional archer would want to harvest his first deer with a recurve. Try as I might to persuade him otherwise, my rational talks fell on deaf ears. He wanted nothing to do with a gun and knowing personally the deep satisfaction that comes with bowhunting, I relented.


No doubt there would be some that would disagree with my decision. To be truthful, I’ve battled it myself. Proficient as he is, I’m not into taking chances when it comes to proper shot placement. But in all fairness I had to ask myself, “Will I teach him that hunting is simply about easy success, or will I teach him the ultimate goal lies in a deep sense of satisfaction?”



On our very first bowhunt together, four corn-fed does made their way across the backside of our family farm and passed directly to the left of our treestands. Working their way to the 20-yrd mark, we stopped the largest doe with a grunt. This was the limit of his effective shooting range and he waited until the doe was perfectly broadside. After carefully drawing his bow, he released the arrow just as I had watched him do countless times before. With this being his very first encounter with a whitetail, I was impressed that he stuck to the fundamentals. 

I watched as the slightly startled doe lumber off and heard a loud whisper laced with disgust as it said – “I missed.”



As a father, this was a very bittersweet moment. Whether it was a miss or the deer ducked – who knew. What I did know was, he was proficient enough to make the shot. I also knew we could’ve easily filled a tag if he wasn’t set on hunting with traditional archery equipment. This was a chip shot with a gun and a very possible shot if he’d chosen to use a compound bow with sights. But his sights were set on the challenge and for that I was very proud.


As we walked across the field in the darkness, I put my arm around his shoulders and told him how proud I was. I also reminded him that he’d chosen to set the bar for personal satisfaction at a level that the majority of bowhunters will never attempt to achieve.


If the ultimate reward comes by harvesting a deer with a recurve, then I’ll encourage my son to pursue a tough satisfaction – not easy success.




bowhunting miss

Five Simple Strategies for Rebuilding Confidence after a Miss

In case you didn’t know, the story of Robin Hood is only a legend. Perfect people, perfect shots and perfect hunts don’t exist 100% of the time. Unlike Friar Tuck, we haven’t been granted the privilege of living in a fairy-tale world. Humans who hunt are prone to error.
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Today’s hunting culture puts a great deal of emphasis on making accurate shots and rightly so. As hunters, we owe it to the animals we hunt to make sure our shots are ethical and within our optimum effective range.
Unfortunately, the ethics police seem to stand guard on every blog and forum to enforce standards of ‘how far is too far,’ dish out heaping spoonfuls of would’a, should’a, could’a and gladly heap criticism on the man or woman who might have blown it. The only problem with our trend toward perfectionism is that it doesn’t exist. Even the best of archers and marksmen can make a mistake.
Although it takes time and effort to build self-assurance with a bow or gun, a missed shot can destroy a hunter’s hard-earned confidence in a matter of moments. But a slow walk and long sulk ‘from tree stand to truck’ does nothing to rebuild belief in one’s own ability. So how do we deal with the destructive thoughts and emotions that come with a missed shot on a trophy animal?
Moving through and getting beyond our errors is the key to rebuilding confidence. It has been said, “Errors become mistakes when we perceive them and respond to them incorrectly. Mistakes become failures when we continually respond to them incorrectly.”
Knowing what steps to take can help ensure we don’t fall into the failure trap.


Forfeit the Blame Game

When a miss occurs there is a human tendency to place blame on anything that exempts us from responsibility. In an effort not to look bad, we blame a jumped string, twig, branch, sun, wind—anything to avoid putting blame on the guilty culprit known as me, my and I.
It’s no secret that blame never rebuilt anyone’s confidence. A bold face admission of a miss will be the fastest way to regain your confidence. As Eloise Ristad stated so well, “When we give ourselves permission to fail, we at the same time give ourselves permission to excel.”

For the hunter who spent countless hours preparing, practicing and making sure the weapon of choice were ready for the moment, it’s tough to swallow your pride and say, I blew it. Just remember, there have been great men such as Fred Bear, who missed plenty of shots and were humble enough to simply admit, “I missed.”


Slay the Second-Guess Syndrome

Hunters (myself included) could learn a lot from the old adage, “To over-analyze is to paralyze.” Missed shots walk the human mind through the dangerous mine fields of, what if, hows come, maybe, and so on. This analyzing generates scenarios and questions that we could dwell on ad infinitum. The only problem with second-guessing oneself is that it provides doubts and apprehension, not the necessary encouragement to rebuild confidence.


Be aware that second-guessing is nothing more than self-criticism in a more rational form. It’s okay to learn from cause and effect, but allowing your mind to dwell on hindsight and self-judgment is a confidence killer.

In order to put confidence back in motion there comes a time when we man up, put on our big boy pants, stop second-guessing and refocus on the next opportunity. This is the defining moment that will either make you an achiever or a failure.


Learn to be an achiever—achievers have the ability to put past events behind them and move on. No one goes forward by second-guessing.


Isolate the Incident

You might have missed a shot, but you haven’t missed every shot. Walk yourself down memory lane to the hours spent practicing and relive the shots that were perfect. Focusing on past success is an important factor in regaining your confidence.


Bob Butera, former president of the New Jersey Devils hockey team, was asked what makes a winner. He answered, “What distinguishes winners from losers is that winners concentrate at all times on what they can do, not what they can’t do. If a guy is a great shooter but not a great skater, we tell him to only think about the shot, the shot, the shot—never about some other guy outskating him. The idea is to remember your successes.”
Don’t allow one miss to define you as a failure. Keep in mind the many perfect shots you’ve made and allow those successes to define you.


Cancel Your Ticket to the City of Self-Pity

As James Allen writes, “A man is literally what he thinks… .” So beating yourself up over a miss will do nothing to reconstruct the necessary confidence you need for your next shot opportunity. Resist the temptation to internalizing your mistake and continually dwell on thoughts of how worthless you are. Those thoughts are simply not true.
Remember, you’re involved in a sport that attempts to tackle nature’s elements and match wits with its instincts. You have enlisted in the ultimate mind game. Staying focused and believing that you have the ability to succeed is a self-fulfilling necessity to overcome any adversity.


Psychologist Simone Caruthers says, “Life is a series of outcomes. Sometimes the outcome is what you want. Great. Figure out what you did right. Sometimes the outcome is what you don’t want. Great. Figure out what you did so you don’t do it again.”

A miss does not make you a failure. Don’t take the miss personal. Non-personalization is the secret to rebuilt confidence. As has been said, “get over yourself—everyone else has.”


Step Back Up to the Plate

Your attitude after the miss will become the very emotion you put into the next opportunity. This is no time to climb down from the tree stand or leave the ground blind (unless you have to fix a malfunctioning weapon). This is the time to vent your emotions, grit your teeth and go right back to hunting.


Pushing the resume button will insure you continue to push through the emotions. The feelings will come and go, but learn to separate feelings from reality. As J.I. Packer said so well, ”A moment of conscious triumph makes one feel that after this nothing will really mater; a moment of realized disaster makes one feel that this is the end of everything. But neither feeling is realistic, for neither event is really what it is felt to be.” Failure is not a feeling; it’s an act of refusing to try again. You’re not a failure, so learn, endure and press on.


The greatest of hunters have had their misses. They became even better hunters by learning how to move beyond the miss and keep trying. There’s no shame in a miss. The shame is allowing the miss to define you as a failure.


First bow buck

The Day Dad Ditched His Ego (My son’s first bow buck)

It’s natural for any father to want to give his kids the best. A good education, a happy home and a stable environment are just a few of the things we try to provide our children. As parent’s we strive to furnish what’s best.


At the start of the Indiana hunting season I set out to give my son the best. Knowing his desire to harvest a deer with a bow, I had grand visions of a 150-inch buck mounted on my boy’s bedroom wall. Knowing the quality of bucks in our hunting area, my fatherly pride kicked in and I though how awesome it would be to share the story of a trophy whitetail harvested by my 14-yr-old, especially if he accomplished the feat with a bow.
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As I contemplated the big picture, reality slowly set in. As a dad, I had to ditch my ego. As I considered what the best things are, I knew there were more important things I had to give him.


The best thing I could give him was an enjoyable time while hunting together. His teen years are but fleeting moments and in a blink of an eye they will be gone. Before you know it he’ll be in college and away from home. The best thing I could do was make indelible memories that both of us will cherish. Moments we will look back on without regret.


As bad as I wanted him to harvest a trophy whitetail, this year was going to be about us having fun. So we hung two Lone Wolf treestands side by side and enjoyed one another’s company. We had good times while 20 foot off the ground.


Another best was to teach him proper treestand safety. There is no substitute for being safety conscience. It would be best if I taught him to always wear a safety harness and how to adjust it properly. I also needed to make sure he understood how to remain tethered while climbing up and down the tree. It was best if safety trumped an antler score.


Listening to him talk about harvesting a deer with his bow, I noticed he had some reservations. As confident as he is during a 3D shoot, that confidence wasn’t rolling over into the real world. He was making statements such as “Dad, I just want to make a good shot, do you think I can do it with my bow?”


Watching him practice every day after school, I had no doubt he was proficient. He just needed some confidence. The best thing I could give him was the confidence of having that first bow harvest under his belt.



Knowing that confidence comes with a clean shot and quick kill, another ‘best I could give’ was some parameters. We discussed how far we were comfortable with him shooting a deer and set the limit at 30 yards. Although we regularly practice at over 50 yards, there would be no shots taken if he had the slightest of hesitation or was uncomfortable. Only broadside or quartering away shots would be acceptable and when the shot presented itself, I would relay the range so he would know the distance. It would be best for him to have an ethical harvest.


What started out as a cold November morning quickly turned into a rather balmy day. With little deer activity combined with the heat of the warm sun made it a challenge to stay in the stand. Around 11am I sent a text to my wife and told her about the lack of deer activity. Informing her that we were coming home early afternoon to prepare for a dinner invitation that evening, I figured our hunt was over. No sooner had I sent the text when I heard leaves resounding with the familiar cadence of a deer walking. At that instant an excited whisper came from the other side of the tree, “Dad, deer!”


Turning slowly I watched as my son took his bow off the hanger and proceeded to draw. At 20 yards, then 15 yards, now at 10 yards, we both realized this young buck was going to walk right past our tree. Allowing the buck to pass by us for a quartering away shot, I grunted and the deer stood broadside in a shooting lane.



The sound of a string, arrow and running deer made for a beautiful ensemble. Serenaded by crashing brush, we listened to the crescendo with the knowledge that his first bow kill was down. As we smiled and bumped fist, the last image in my mind was a perfectly placed arrow disappearing into the boiler room. This had been best.


There will be no taxidermy bill to pay and no mount on the bedroom wall. A better trophy is the newfound confidence in a 14-yr-old bowhunter that tells him what he needed to know.


So glad I ditched my ego. Some things are just best.





Lone Wolf Treestands

How to Silence Your Lone Wolf Treestand

When attempting to harvest an animal that survives by its acute instincts, the margin of error remains razor-thin. A quarry as vigilant as a mature whitetail leaves little room for mistakes. Getting in close to a trophy whitetail takes wolf-like dedication.
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Understanding the stealth and dedication necessary for the treestand hunter,Lone Wolf Portable Treestands is committed to being the hunters confidante. With a reputation built on lightweight cast aluminum stands, the Lone Wolf brand remains separated from the pack. Staying quiet even in the coldest conditions, the Lone Wolf stand design is optimum when pursing wary game.


While hanging the Lone Wolf Alpha this season we had a few unwanted moments that were based on human error. These instance were caused by the strap buckle swinging into the aluminum body and creating a loud metal-to-metal clang. Realizing this careless mistake could cost us our trophy for the season; we decided to look for a solution.



Searching for a combination of neoprene and rubber to cover the strap buckle, we stumbled upon: Yakgrips – Comfort Kayak Paddle Grips. Designed to reduce fatigue and prevent blisters for kayakers, the Yakgrips were exactly what our “quest for quietness” called for.



The inside of the Yakgrip sleeve is rubber lined, making a tacky surface that will adhere to the buckle. The outside of the sleeve is neoprene, making it quite and water-resistant. A perfect solution to eliminate noise caused by buckle-to-treestand contact.


Step 1


Measure the Yakgrip into equal parts and cut exactly in half. Each portion should measure approximately 3 inches in length.



Step 2


Select your favorite household dish soap and drop a few drops into a cup of water. Slosh the soap and water until bubbles appear. Lather the interior of the Yakgrips with the soapy water.



Step 3


Slip the trimmed pieces of the Yackgrips over each of the Lone Wolf strap buckles. Allow to air dry before tightening or loosening the strap.


Lone Wolf Treestands


With the Buckles covered, your Alpha treestand is the epitome of stealth. If the buckle should swing into the aluminum body it remains quiet. This same tip can be applied to the straps for the Lone Wolf Climbing Sticks or the Lone Wolf One Piece Ladder Stick.


If you would be interested in Lone Wolf Treestands offering neoprene buckle covers, please leave us a note or comment. Lone Wolf is very curious as to your interest.




In God we trust, On Lone Wolf we stand.

For more information on the Lone Wolf brand please visit Lone Wolf Portable Treestands


Having a Mantra Can Make Your Hunt More Successful

Elk hunter extraordinaire and extreme athlete Cameron Hanes often quotes, “We are what we think.” Even the Bible says, “…as a man thinks, so he is.” Medical science concurs with this fact and has determined that there is a definite mind-body connection. If our thinking affects our actions, then mantras are important. In critical moments, mantras reinforce concentration, help to eliminate stress and serve to steady our nerves. These mantras can be nothing more than short sayings that bring focus to the mind and motivation to the will.

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Host of Easton Bowhunting TV and traditional archer Fred Eichler recently shared one of his mantras. Fred found his mantra through renowned bowhunter Chuck Adams. Fred said even after years of hunting success, he still experiences a host of emotions when coming face-to-face with the hunted animal. His adrenaline starts to flow, his heart races, and his breathing gets heavier. In that moment he brings his mantra to mind and tells himself, “It ain’t gonna happen.” A simple but complex mantra. These four words have repeatedly helped Fred rid himself of anticipation, settle his nerves and make the shot on numerous trophy animals.


One would think that the likes of Fred Bear, Chuck Adams or the ‘motor city madman’ Ted Nugent would be free from the need of a mantra. Their experience and expertise would seem sufficient for any given hunting situation. In reality most successful hunters have one or more mantra’s. We would expect nothing less than a colorful description from ‘The Nuge’ of his shot saving mantra:


“As a mind clearing, calming, verbal mantra, throughout the shot preparation and sequence, I slowly say the sign of the cross, my little projectile management prayer. Eventually I staggered the prayer to coincide with stages of the shot procedure. As I concentrate on the “spot” I want to hit, I lift my bow into actual sight picture shooting position and say, “In the name of the Father”, then as I begin to draw, “And of the Son”, then when I come to solid anchor and my eyes are riveted to the exact point of desired arrow impact, I say, “And of the Holy Spirit,” finally I begin to tighten my back muscles, and at “Amen” I touch her off.”


Ted’s mantra may bring a smile, but what matters most are the results. Mantras are developed for a specific outcome. Whether focusing your mind or calming your nerves, your mantra can help pull you through a critical moment.


Here are three mantras that can be adapted to various hunting situations.


1. “It only takes five minutes”


Sitting all day with little or no deer activity can be wearisome, especially when the weather is less than favorable. Incorporating the “it only takes five minutes” mantra into those moments can help bring reality to your weary mind. If fighting the urge to bail out of the cold and go home, divide each hour into 15-minute segments. Begin each segment with a new hope that your trophy will show up in that 15-minute period. Focus on the truth of how long it takes for a deer to appear under your tree stand. You may sit there all day waiting for an opportunity, but when presented with a shot opportunity, it can all come together in five minutes or less.


There are no magic words to make a deer appear but there are helpful words to dwell on when our minds are weary and bodies tired. Continuing to believe that the opportunity will present itself just might be the very thing that puts you in the right place at the right time. Use this mantra to encourage yourself to hang tough. The trophy of a lifetime just might show up in a matter of moments.


having a hunting mantra


2. “Breathe, it’s only a deer”


SWAT teams, elite fighter units, and law enforcement officers have mastered the art of remaining calm during an adrenaline dump. Retired Army Lt. Col. David Grossman, who has trained thousands of those who put themselves in harm’s way, continually stresses the importance of proper breathing. “The more excited or stressed you are,” he explains, “the quicker and shallower your respiration will be and the higher your blood pressure and heart rate will jump. Too many people live in this state of alert, which compromises physical and mental performance.”


When a twig snaps, the leaves crunch, or we see a flicker in the brush, most of us have a tendency to breathe faster but much more shallow. When that elk or deer finally steps into the shooting lane and we receive an adrenaline dump, our breathing becomes even more rapid. Incorporating the “breathe, it’s only a deer” mantra can help to keep you breathing deep, your blood oxygenated, and benefit your nerves for a proper shot placement.


With the “breathe, it’s only a deer” mantra, take a deep breath from your diaphragm and hold for a count of four, exhale slowly and hold for a count of four. You might be surprised by how much more steady you will be under pressure after you make it a habit to control your breathing.


3. “Don’t look…pick a spot”


Stories abound of dedicated hunters who, when coming face to face with a trophy buck or bull, completely blew the shot. Even though they had practiced, were very capable, and had previously been successful, they simply focused on antlers and not aorta. The ‘pick a spot’ focus had not become second nature. When you determine the deer or elk is a shooter, immediately stop looking at what he has for headgear. Engage this mantra in your mind and repeatedly tell yourself, “don’t look…pick a spot.”


Keeping a razor-sharp focus during crunch time is a matter of disciple. The “pick a spot” mantra should bring your focus down to single animal hair. This might seem extreme, but success rest in the hands of those who are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve it.


Having a hunting mantra might seem a little bizarre, crazy and even humorous. Your mantra is not something that has to be shared and varying personalities will tailor the mantra to what works for them. Sayings as strange as “jelly beans” and “I’m Randy Ulmer” have been the seldom-admitted mantras of the successful hunter. Whatever mantra you incorporate into your hunting experience will have to suit and benefit you. Albert Gray said it best, “The common denominator of success lies in forming the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.”





having a hunting mantra


Wicked Tree Gear Wicked Tough Hand Saw Review

Wicked Tree Gear engineered the Wicked Tough Hand Saw to be a trusted tool for any hunting application: trimming shooting lanes, lopping limbs for tree stand placement, brushing your ground blind, and whatever else may come. Unlike its rivals, the Wicked Tough Hand Saw was designed to withstand abuse. This bad boy needs no babying. The Wicked Tree Gear hand saw lives up to its name – Wicked Tough.
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The Brand


The Wicked Tough Hand Saw was birthed in the heart of trophy whitetail country. Designed by whitetail aficionado Todd Pringnitzan, the Wicked Tough saw is no ordinary invention. Todd states the innovation came from his own personal experience with inferior saws.


“I put a ton of time into hanging and trimming stands each season, and I got sick of breaking multiple plastic hand saws every year. I wanted to build something better! As an engineer I knew the importance of quality products from my die-hard bowhunting background and in filming hunts for our DVD series (White Knuckle Productions) and online show (Whitetails, Inc.). The Wicked Tough Hand Saw is something I’ve been dreaming of for years. I’m just excited to have a saw to use in the field this season that will rip through anything I put in-front of it, and won’t break.”


The Build


wicked tree gear hunting sawAlong with its uncompromising qualities, the Wicked Tough saw was conceived to be user-friendly. With its ergonomically-molded aluminum handle and easy-grip black rubber inlay, the patented design allows for proper fit and function.


In hand, the Wicked Tough saw balances nicely. While cutting, the Wicked Tough saw design allows for proper stress on the blade without discomfort to the hand or wrist.


Measuring at just over 8 inches when folded and weighing in at just .5 lbs, this saw is a pleasure to use and is a welcomed visitor to any hunting pack. The Wicked Tough Hand Saw has undoubtedly met the demand for practicality and performance within the world of passionate outdoorsmen.


The Blade


Fastened with a proprietary locking nut and bolt, the Wicked Tough Hand Saw blade integrates nicely into the rugged aluminum shroud. There are no exposed edges to tear clothing or your favorite hunting pack. A hardened steel ‘fail-safe’ design eliminates the blade lock failure that is so prevalent among underling saws, keeping the Wicked Tough saw blade securely locked during use. Strong enough to withstand the rowdy conduct of stubborn limbs, the Fail Safe Blade Lock Design is functional and dependable.


Made of high-carbon steel, the Wicked Sharp blade cuts quickly and smoothly. The cutting teeth are designed to prevent the blade from binding under stress, making cutting pesky limbs an easy chore. A side-by-side cutting comparison between a leading brand saw and the Wicked Tough saw was no real match at all. The Wicked Tough saw blade cut twice as fast as the leading brand. This blade has no fluff and is definitely wicked tough.


The Brawn


Wicked Gear SawWicked Tree Gear’s claim of “won’t break” is rather intriguing and inviting. Putting the saw through its paces was a challenge to be enjoyed. Limbs up to 6 inches in diameter were no match for the Wicked Tough saw. Small limbs were hacked machete style with no damage to the saw. Cutting into the dirt while making a mock scrape left the blade unscathed. With Herculean proportions, the Wicked Tough saw is even tough enough to be driven over. Robust claims are a dime a dozen, but obviously Wicked Tree Gear is not about pretending, they are about delivering.




The build and performance of this saw are truly exceptional. After being purposely abused and driven over multiple times the Wicked Tough saw indisputably retained its integrity. With its resilient construction the Wicked Tough saw is just that–Wicked Tough. Complete with a lifetime warranty makes this saw a must for every serious hunter.




Constructed of state-of-the-art materials, the Wicked Tough saw was strong enough to withstand be driven over by a full size Suburban more than once. Its superior design makes it the epitome of quality.




Purposely abused and driven over multiple times reassured us as to the reliability of this saw. The saw’s rigid design stood up to testing that reached far beyond normal use. The reliability of the Wicked Tough Hand Saw speaks for itself.



Priced far below the cost of inferior hand saws the Wicked Tough saw is a definite value.



Quality and performance coupled with a lifetime warranty, this is one saw that any avid outdoorsman should not be without. Camping, hunting, or for the backyard, Wicked Tree Gear’s Wicked Tough Hand Saw is the answer to the need for a capable and dependable saw.


For more information on the Wicked Tough Hand Saw visit Wicked Tree Gear.


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