Category Archives: Bowhunting


10 Tips for Deer Recovery: What to do after the shot

Your hands are shaking, your heart is beating, and opportunity is knocking at the bottom of your treestand. The pin settles behind the shoulder and the squeeze of a release trigger begins. Arrow shaft, broadhead and kinetic energy soon meet hair, flesh and vital organs. In a matter of a few moments you’ve had an adrenaline dump, a shot sequence and now it’s time to recover the animal.

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Here are some simple tips to incorporate into your recovery strategy.


1. Watch Closely


Although everything is happening at a fast pace, at the moment of the shot watch closely and make a mental note as to the exact location where the animal was standing. After the shot, do your best to mark the exact tree or bush the deer might have run past. If you’re able to watch it for some distance, stay focused on which patch of brush or thicket the deer ran into last. Use these landmarks to give you a general direction the animal traveled and as starting locations if the blood trail is sparse.


If you have a cell phone or digital camera, take some pictures from your blind or treestand of where the animal was standing. Especially when hunting from a treestand things can look very different when you get on the ground and start trying to replay the shot scenario. Viewing the pictures can help you remember exactly where the animal was standing and identify key directional markers.


2. Listen Intently


It’s natural to want to grab your phone or give some release to the pent-up emotion, but before you text your buddies or start your celebration, give it a few minutes. Cup your hand to your ear and listen intently in the direction the animal ran. The sound of your expired animal falling down can be a key factor in finding your trophy.


3. Wait Patiently


You can be a respectable marksman, but once in a while everyone makes a not-so-perfect shot. After the shot, set your watch and disciple your mind to wait at least 45 minutes before tracking your animal. This is definitely the longest 45 minutes any hunter will experience during the season, but it will pay big dividends. Remaining quiet and stationary will help ensure you don’t push the animal any further than necessary.


Once you confirm that the shot was lethal, pursue carefully. If the blood is dark or smells like “gut” back out and wait several hours before resuming the search.


3. Look Diligently


Look carefully and do your best to locate your arrow before tracking your harvest. Your arrow will tell you about the shot placement and how good or bad your shot might have been. The telltale sign on your arrow, such as bright red blood or white hair and fat, will let you know if you can begin recovery or back out.


4. Tread Lightly


One drop of blood might be the all important landmark that speeds up your recovery. Avoid disturbing limbs, leaves or any other natural debris that might have a splattering of blood on it. Before stepping on or over it, be sure to carefully study any item that might have been in the path of your animal. If searching in thick brush, get on your knees and study limbs or small trees at the approximate height of the entry and exit wounds. A drop of blood on an undisturbed leaf or twig might be the roadmap to your trophy.


5. Go Slowly


“Buck or doe, slow is the way to go.” You’re not in a race so take it easy. Look diligently with every single step. Avoid the temptation to hurry. Study the area right where you are, find blood then move ahead. blood trailing deer

6. Mark Individually


Take the path of patience and mark where the last drop of blood was found. Toilet paper works well for this and is biodegradable. Placing the toilet paper on a limb at eye level will allow you to look back, see over the undergrowth and will help to determine a general direction the animal is traveling.


A small spray bottle filled with hydrogen peroxide can also benefit your deer recovery. If you question whether a small red spot is definitely blood, spray the hydrogen peroxide on the spot – if it’s blood, it will immediately bubble up.


7. Back-out Humbly


“When in doubt back out” is an age-old adage, but it’s definitely worth implementing. If there is even a slight possibility your hit is less than lethal and the animal will require additional time to expire, back out, wait it out and continue your recovery efforts after the appropriate time has passed.


8. Persist Unconditionally


You owe it to the animal to look repeatedly and unconditionally. If you know you hit the deer and have given it ample time to expire, don’t give up after the first few hours of searching. When sure of a lethal hit and yet there is little sign, have some friend’s help you search. Use a GPS to grid the area in which the animal was most likely to have expired.


9. Reflect Graciously


When you find your animal take time to reflect on a great hunt and the privilege you have to be in the great outdoors. Take plenty of time to photograph your trophy in its natural environment. This animal is the reward of many hours spent scouting, preparing and waiting. Savor the moment.


10. Recover Respectively


All life is sustained by death. Respect the life you have just taken and appreciate the fact that you have been blessed with sustenance. Our friends at Lone Wolf Treestands illustrate this concept with their poster entitled “Reverence”.


If you have any additional tracking tips feel free to drop us a note.


REVERENCE – Today I give thanks, he never knew I was there.

Make Your Clothes Smell Like the Woods You Hunt

For centuries man has attempted to compete against a deer’s sense of smell. We have come a long way from wood smoke and mud, but the challenge remains the same. With the nose of a whitetail having up to 297-million olfactory receptors, the quest to fool a deer’s sense of smell often seems futile.
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There have been dozens of articles written about the importance of hunting the wind and that factor will always remain paramount. Cleanliness and hygiene are also a vital part of pursuing whitetails. However, there are a host of things that will help you gain an advantage over the wily whitetail and this might be one tip to add to your list.
While storing hunting clothes in a scent proof tote add a bag of leaves, dirt and forest floor for a natural cover scent.

My personal preference is to use only natural cover scents while hunting. Using the Rubbermaid® Action Packer for storing hunting clothes, I like to add a bag of forest floor from the exact place I am hunting. While not leaving an overwhelming odor, the leaves, dirt, acorns or cornstalks do add a light natural smell to your hunting clothes.
Your local Wal-Mart should carry a Tide® High Performance Wash Bag with Optimesh Technology that works perfect for this application. This wash bag is made of ultra-fine mesh which keeps leaves, dirt, acorns, etc. in the bag, yet it allows the aroma to filter out. The Tide High Performance bag is also zippered, this allows easy access for removing or freshening up your scent.
This is just one small step in trying to gain an advantage over Mr. Talltines. We would love to hear some of your tips and techniques for scent control.


Simple Steps For A Scent Free Trail Camera

No matter what our individual regimen’s for scent reduction might look like, as whitetail hunters we understand the importance of scent control.
From scent free soaps, scented dryer sheets, chlorophyll pills, or scent elimination sprays, there are a host of opinions as to what works and why. The non-debatable issue is – it’s tough to fool a whitetail’s nose. So shouldn’t scent control begin with a scent free trail camera?
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Whitetail enthusiasts spend millions each year trying to avoid detection. While there is no such thing as a magic potion, there are benefits to going the extra mile when attempting to reduce human odor. And limiting the impact you have on any given area you hunt, will undoubtedly increase the odds of success this hunting season.
Whitetails survive day after day by being acutely aware of their surroundings. When a hunter positions a trail camera in the living room of a trophy whitetail, precaution should be taken in order to avoid ‘tipping off’ your quarry. From the bolts, bungee strap, or security box that holds the camera, to the camera itself, taking the time to eliminate as much odor as possible will only work to your advantage.
Here are some simple tips that will help you hang a scent free trail camera.

  • Before setting up your camera make sure it is clean and free of any foreign odors. This also applies to all hardware used to mount the camera.


  • When setting up your camera, use a pair of surgical gloves. This will limit the amount of human odor left on the camera during mounting and setup.


  • Bring along a clean rag, stored in a zip lock bag and a small bottle of scent elimination spray. Spray the camera and all hardware and use the clean rag to wipe the camera lens of any residue.


  • When retrieving your SD card or changing batteries, wear surgical gloves. Before leaving, clean the camera with a scent elimination spray of your choice.


  • Rainy days are the preferred time to check trail cameras. The rain naturally eliminates human odors.


  • Last but not least, always wear ‘clean’ rubber boots when checking your cameras. Odor control is especially important when entering and exiting any area you plan on hunting.

We hope these simple tips not only help Mr. Talltines to pose for your camera, but you’ll have a chance to see him in season as well.

If you have any additional tips for a scent free trail camera, please feel free to share those with us!


Scent Free Trail Camera Tips


Interview: Jeff Simpson / Fencepost Films – [The Short Season] 111° West

Jeff Simpson is known throughout the outdoor industry as a man of many talents. As a Sitka Gear athlete, entrepreneur, Midwest Sales Manager for Sitka Gear accomplished photographer, father and family man, his roster is packed with noteworthy accomplishments.
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Not only is he predominately known for his passionate pursuit of trophy Whitetail, but Jeff is widely recognized as the owner/operator of Fencepost Films. Under Jeff’s leadership Fencepost Films has introduced it’s revolutionary approach to the world of hunting media. With unparalleled style, Fencepost Films brings the viewer on an unforgettable outdoor experience. The cliche seen one – seen them all will not be attached to any production that makes it out of F2’s editing room.


It was a real privilege to spend some time talking to Jeff about his latest production, [The Short Season] – 111° West. Set in the heart of the Rocky Mountains this film encapsulates Jeff’s own adventure as he pursues Montana’s allusive Elk. Documenting his daily quest for a trophy bull, this film is another example of Jeff’s vast array of abilities. We are excited to bring to you this interview and trust you will visit Fencepost Films for more info.


365: Hi Jeff… hows it going? It’s a real privilege to finally get to meet you.

JS: Great meeting you as well.


365: I would like to congratulate you and your wife. The ‘little guy’ definitely looks like a keeper.

JS: Thanks, he has been awesome.  Now we just have to let him know that sleeping in later than 4am is perfectly acceptable.


365: (Laugh) You have a beautiful family. I am sure they are a great inspiration for your work.

JS: For sure! They are the reason I work as hard as I do.



365: Great YETI Coolers ad by the way. How many miles did it take to shoot that compilation?

JS: Oh, I have no idea… It took a full year to shoot.  I basically rigged up a tripod and camera in the back of my truck.  My older son, Brady, was not happy with it.  I more less kicked him out of the truck for a year.  I was scared he would kick the tripod and move it, so we used my wife’s vehicle… but he’s like me and prefers being in the truck.


365: Having lived in the West for the last several years, our family really enjoyed the 111° West kickoff. It so encapsulates the entire experience of hunting in the Rocky Mountains. So tell me what inspired you to produce The Short Season 111° West?

JS: First, Thanks. The inspiration for 111° West was really just another step in this journey I have going on filming hunts. The Short Season (TS2) is really the project that I’ve wanted to execute on for years now. The project is taking a HUGE step forward this season for a couple different reasons. First, I’ve added some ridiculous talent here at F2 and am excited to show what we are capturing this year… its plain sick! And Second, we have identified some really great outdoorsmen/athletes to follow this year. Its going to be a lot of fun introducing the world to them and telling their stories.


365: What is the one thing that you enjoy most about Elk hunting?

JS: Eating elk. (laugh)  I really want Sage and Brady to be raised primarily on elk meat, so thats a big motivation… but I’m sure you are asking about hunting them as well. In the field, I love the majestic nature of a huge bull. With mature whitetails being number one… mature bull elk are a close second for me.


365: What have you come to believe is the key element for being a successful Elk hunter?

JS: Physical fitness, understanding the wind and the ability to effectively bivy in and stay out in the wilderness are all key.


365: Whether in philosophy or practice – what is the one thing you brought back with you from this Montana experience?

JS: As I said in the film, it was just another chapter. This time we dealt with elk that had more predator pressure than any herd I’ve ever hunted, so I learned a lot. I feel like I could go in that same spot and do MUCH better this year. Its just learning all the different things that influence the elk’s behavior and piecing the puzzle together on each hunt. History is a great source of knowledge.


365: Where is your next Elk hunt planned?

JS: Southern Colorado here in a couple weeks… cant wait for this hunt!!!!


365: We can’t tell all the secrets, but you have some exciting new venues to shoot. Do you care to elaborate?

JS: We will have cameras in Utah, CO, Canada, KS, SD, OR, MO, NE and Argentina/Chile this year. Big year!


365: We can’t wait to see what you will produce from this season. Thanks so much Jeff for taking the time for the interview. It was great to get to spend this time together and we look forward to seeing you again soon. Any parting words for the aspiring Elk hunter?

JS: Thank you!  Parting words… one foot in front of the other and respect/enjoy the beauty and nature you are in while out there! Safe and Happy hunting!


The Short Season Jeff Simpson


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ALL Photographs contained within this blog post are Copyright Fencepost Films and can not be used without prior written permission.

Avoiding dehydration

Avoiding Dehydration While Hunting

Keeping a keen edge on our mental focus is one of the keys to being a successful hunter. As the predator, lightning quick reflexes and the ability to make nanosecond decisions are to our advantage. There is no substitute for being mentally razor sharp. A simple assistant to acuteness that cannot be overlooked is – water.

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The human brain fires neurons which enable us to make sharp and snappy decisions. Given that your body is around 70% water and the brain is about 80% water, hydration is of the utmost importance. Daniel G. Amen, M.D. a clinical neuroscientist and medical director of the Amen Clinic for Behavioral Medicine in California says “Your brain is 80 percent water and if it’s not hydrated, your neurons can’t perform properly.”


Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D., EatingWell Nutrition Editor writes, “Staying hydrated keeps your memory sharp, your mood stable and your motivation intact. When you’re well-hydrated, you can also think through a problem more easily. Researchers hypothesize that not having enough water could reduce oxygen flow to the brain or temporarily shrink neurons — or being thirsty could simply distract you.”


Researchers such as Dr. Amen recommend you drink at least 84 ounces of water a day. “It is best to have your liquids unpolluted with artificial sweeteners, sugar, caffeine, or alcohol. You can use herbal, non-caffeinated tea bags, such as raspberry or strawberry flavored, and make unsweetened iced tea. Green tea is also good for brain function as it contains chemicals that enhance mental relaxation and alertness.”


“But one size doesn’t fit all,” says Leslie Bonci, R.D., C.S.S.D., director of sports nutrition at the Center for Sports Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and dietitian for the Pittsburgh Steelers. “Your size and activity level affect your fluid requirements. Simply put, the larger and more active you are, the more you’ll need.”


“The easiest thing that anybody could do on a daily basis is monitor their urine color,” says Douglas Casa, Ph.D., A.T.C., who studies hydration at the University of Connecticut. “Lighter urine color – like lemonade – means you’re generally well-hydrated. If it’s darker, like apple juice, you are most likely dehydrated.”


Dehydration can began to occur in just a few hours. If your thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Whether chasing turkey, elk or sitting in a tree stand, stay on top of the game by committing to systematic hydration. “Depending on the season, the heat index, the strenuousness of the hike, and other factors that increase your body’s perspiration, you may want to remind yourself of this additional rule of thumb: you will sweat around 1/2 to 1 quart of fluid for every hour that you walk in the heat. If you purchase a 2- or 3- liter hydration bladder, that should contain the minimum amount of fluid needed to get you through a 3 to 6 hour hike in the heat. Depending on the circumstances, this still may not be enough.”


Regardless of the season that you’re planning on hunting – plan on hydrating. Maintaining your body’s proper fluid balance may mean the difference between a successful and unsuccessful hunt.


Turkey Hunting Tips

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He was an accomplished turkey hunter, yet very eager to share his turkey hunting tips. As I sat mesmerized by the display of iridescent feathers shimmering in the morning light, serenaded by thunderous gobbles and humored by the duo of dancing birds, this opening act in wild turkey theatrics sealed our fate. While seated in the shadow of the Oklahoma oaks during a premier Rio Grande performance, I listened as my mentor explained turkey hunting tips in that old fencerow. That morning became the birthplace of a passion – a passion to hunt the wild turkey.
Champion call maker Bill Barker with a beautiful Oklahoma Rio Grande turkey.

Since that memorable morning when champion call maker Bill Barker shared his turkey hunting tips and introduced us to the wild world of clucks and purrs, turkey hunting has been on the roster of passionate pursuits. Whether the Merriam’s wild turkey in the mountains of Idaho or the Rio Grande wild turkey in the flat land of the Southwest, we have attempted to chase these bearded birds each and every spring.


Displaying a collection of blocky beards or tacking a tail-fan to the wall has been just a small segment of the success. A greater sense of satisfaction is found in passing along the passion to first time turkey hunters through sharing the turkey hunting tips that had been shared with us. 


Where it all began …

If you are new to the world of turkey hunting and don’t have a clue where to begin, here are some turkey hunting tips to get you started. Whether you’re curious about how to locate turkey’s, call turkey’s or clean the bird you’ve bagged, that information is included in these helpful recourses. Hopefully these instructive articles will push aside trepidation, kick “I can’t” in the tail and help you to get out there and getcha’ some gobble.


For all things turkey hunting tips – click on the links below.


Turkey Hunting Basics: A Beginners Guide to Chasing Long-Beards by Dustin DeCroo


1. Scouting for Turkey 


Tips For Scouting Wild Turkeys by Cole Daniels  – 

6 Tips for Scouting Spring Turkeys by by Doug Howlett  –

Spring Thunder Video – Scouting/Bowhunting Tips –

Spring Turkey Scouting Tips by Philip Bourjaily  –


2. Sounds of Turkey 

How to Call Like a Turkey By Doug Howlett –

Beginner’s Guide to Turkey Calls & Calling – 

Understanding Turkey Calls and Turkey Sounds –

Turkey Calls, Tips and How To’s –  


3. Setup for Turkey 

Choose a Setup by John Higley – 

Turkey Hunting Tips With Scott Ellis: Where to Set Up –
Turkey Decoying To The Next Level by John Fletcher – 

Setting Up on Gobbling Turkeys to Hunt More Efficiently by John Phillips –


4. Shot placement on a Turkey 

Shot Placement on a Turkey – Where to Aim –

Chasing Spring Gobblers with a Bow by Brandon Wikman –

Wild Turkey Vitals and Shot Placement – 


5. Savoring your Turkey 

Cleaning a Turkey – 

Cleaning Your Wild Turkey –

Recipe: Walnut Parmesan Wild Turkey Strips by Tiffany Haugen –

Recipe: Blackened Wild Turkey Alfredo – Ohio DNR


6. Showing off your Turkey 

Mounting Your Own Turkey Tail and Beard By Larry Beckett –

Preserving a Turkey’s Trophy Parts by Lovett Williams –

Turkey Fan Mounting –


No matter the outcome of your first Turkey hunt, it will be a memorable one. Here’s to a great hunt!


scout for turkey

Arrow Lube for 3D archery

The Three Little Pigs and Arrow Lube On a Retractor

In childhood we heard how the “The Three Little Pigs” were threatened with “huff and puff.” Enshrined in our culture is the saga of a big bad wolf, brick house, and a boiling pot. Like our tip for today, it is “huff and puff” that set the wheels of innovation in motion.

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3D archery shooters attempting to extract arrows from stubborn targets understand “huff and puff.” Its no fairy tale when tugging on carbon arrows tightly pinned in foam. That’s why most 3D shooters won’t be without their favorite arrow lubricant. Stored in neat little applicator bottles this slimy stuff is essential for extracting arrows.


Arrow lube is not something you want to lose during a 3D shoot. Once again the threat of “huff and puff” got the pigs thinking. With some creativity they set out to find a better way to keep the lubricant handy.


Think – Fly Fishing


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Gadgets and gear in the fly-fishing world are frequently attached to retractors, often known as “zingers”. When the tool is not in use it is stored neatly in its place. When the tool is needed just give it a tug and its convenient tether will reach where you need it. When finished, let go of the implement and its spring loaded cable retracts to its original position.


Using a double retractor we set out to outsmart the wolf. With the retractor pinned neatly on the inside of the quiver pocket, the lube stays conveniently located. The arrow lube bottle is fastened to the retractor using a “fly floatant” holder. Now you can effortlessly use the lube and ‘whala’ the retractor takes it right back home. For convenience we also elected to fasten our bow string wax in the same way. This tip may not build a brick house or boil the “Big Bad Wolf” but it might save you some “huff and puff.”


3D arrow lube


Spot-Hogg Hogg–It Eliminating Bow Sight Shine

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The world of bowhunting is a university in its own right. The lessons and learning curve seem endless. Accepting the fact that there is too much to learn to ever graduate is essential. Sometimes the most trivial will make us more proficient when it comes to the aspects of archery.


For several years now I have been a Spot-Hogg aficionado. The functionality and durability of their bow sights have served my family well. We are such devoted loyalist’s that even the wife and kids have a Spot-Hogg.


Spending a considerable amount time shooting indoor 3D, I noticed that it was difficult to control the brightness of the Spot-Hogg Hogg-it pins when used with a wrap. Under florescent lighting I was fighting significant glare from off the fiber optic pins. This was in not making a positive contribution to my 3D score. In talking to Spot-Hogg they offered this little tip.


Find a silicone wristband of your choice. Wrap the wristband around the Spot-Hogg wrap. Adjust the wristband as needed. You can now control how much light enters the fibers when shooting indoors or out. Spot on! This was exactly what the Hogg called for.