Category Archives: Deer Hunting

deer urine

Deer Urine, Tampons and Q-Tips

Yep, you read it right, it does say “deer urine” and “tampons.” Oh, and just in case you’re still rubbing your eyes in disbelief, check out the photo. There are 40 scent free, ultra absorbing Tampons in that box. If you don’t know what they are used for, go talk to your mother. For those of you that are a little more informed, shake your head and get a death grip on your man card.
Deer urine and tampons, what in the…?
[post_thumbnail size=”post-hero”]
Maybe it’s because I’m getting old, but I actually did go to CVS and buy these Tampons. Life is life and there is no need to get embarrassed about life, especially, when life’s necessities just might help you tag a mature buck. Some of you are already asking, what’s with the Tampons? Hang on, we’ll get there.
For the bowhunter, the rut is the highlight of the year. Does are giving off pheromones and mature bucks are taking more risks than normal. The avid bowhunter knows there is little that compares to hunting the rut. Whether you are seeing the chase phase or breeding phase in your area, the rut is a phenomena we all enjoy watching unfold.
Using deer urine as an attractant can be an effective tool when hunting the rut. This time of year the whitetail buck is using his olfactory abilities to both find does and figure out if a particular doe is ready to breed. You’ve probably seen a buck get close to a doe and do what most call lip-curling, biologists call it “Flehmening.” This simple action allows the buck to determine if he can proceed with what he already had on his mind.

Pheromones Are The Ticket

For those fortunate enough to live close to a “urine farmer” or deer breeder, now is the time to go buy your deer urine. Breeding season is in full swing and estrus does are giving off an abundance of pheromones. This means the urine collected during this time is the urine you want to purchase.
For those who don’t have direct access to fresh deer urine, I would suggest doing a Google search and finding a company that does not add preservatives to their doe urine. You will pay more for quality urine, but it’s the abundance of pheromones that makes all the difference. Deer know what fresh urine smells like and they also know what old urine smells like. Whatever urine you use, try to purchase urine that is fresh as possible. Once purchased, keep it in the freezer for longevity and simply thaw it out as needed.

1. Deer Urine Strategy

We’ve all heard the deer urine jokes thrown at the avid hunter. I hear it every year from a friend who doesn’t hunt and is constantly telling me how warped I am for wanting to smell like deer pee. Obviously, he doesn’t have clue. Although I laugh at his jokes, I have resisted the temptation to put a tampon soaked in deer urine under the front seat of his car.
When using deer urine this time of year, try to mimic how nature takes it course. When a doe is in full estrus she will drip mucus, leaving a trail for a buck to follow. A doe will also do their business anywhere. If you have spent anytime in the woods, you have smelled that familiar small of deer urine telling you that deer don’t take off to private places when nature calls.
As mentioned, when a doe urinates and discharges during the rut, she gives off pheromones. These pheromones are key to a buck knowing whether or not there is a hot doe in the area and if she is ready to be bred. A doe will also urinate more than normal while in estrus, leaving plenty of scent for a love-crazed buck to find her.
Using deer urine as an attractant for a lovesick buck can be a great way to lure him into your hunting area.

2. Using Q-Tips

When a doe comes into estrus she will have regular vaginal discharge. The “drag rag” is an old trick that mimics this scent trail and has fooled many a lonely buck into thinking a doe has just passed that way.
Q-Tips also work great for creating a line of scent that mimics a doe’s discharge. Just shove a Q-Tip down into the ground and drip some deer urine on the cotton swab. You now have a miniature wick that will give off the smell of the doe for a considerable amount of time.
fresh deer urine
You can arrange the Q-Tips any way you prefer and by using the wind to your advantage, they will allow scent to drift in areas where it would be inconvenient to use a drag rag.

3. Tampons

I know this will leave some guys heads shaking and others saying, “Ain’t no way.” That’s fine! If you’re not secure enough in your manhood I understand. My boys wouldn’t even go in CVS when they figured out what I was going after. They also proclaimed their father certifiably insane. However, if you knew how well these things work you might reconsider.
Most scent wicks in the hunting department are extremely thin. Unfortunately, this allows more surface area to be exposed to the air. Meaning, the scent from the deer urine will evaporate sooner. With the tampon, it is made to absorb and retain moisture making it a superb wick for fresh deer urine. They are also sterile, affordable and efficient.
Simply tie the Tampon where you want the smell of doe in estrus to permeate or place it where the wind will carry the scent downwind. Remember to place the Tampon where you won’t have your own scent mingling with the scent from the deer urine. Once doctored with doe urine the Tampon can also be placed above a primary scrape for added aroma.
Say whatever you want to say, it works. So if you are man enough to try it, hold your head up high and slap that box of Tampons on the counter like you own the place. If your not man enough, then have your sister, girlfriend, wife or mom do the buying.
For those of you that wonder what in the world my wife thinks? Let’s just say she doesn’t say a whole lot, she just shakes her head.
deer urine scrape

hunting with kids

First Deer Of The 2013 Season

When a familiar voice informed me that there were depredation/management tags waiting for my boys, I was jacked. As a dad who enjoys taking his boys hunting every chance I can, this was great news to share with my kids. I doubt my boys have ever been more excited at Christmas then when I shared the news that we were packing up and heading on a hunting trip in the middle of August.
[post_thumbnail size=”post-hero”]
Although our permits were for does only, the anticipation of harvesting the first deer of the season spread rabidly through the house. Bouncing from room to room my kids had a pile of camo clothing packed and sitting by the door in a matter of minutes.  If only they could get ready for school with this much enthusiasm.
The first night started off with deer in the field from the very beginning of the hunt. Sneaking along a grass-lined ditch bank we found a place to set up where we could be assured of a shot within 250 yards. For the next 4 ½ hours we watched numerous bucks, does and fawns feed on the field of black beans. Ripping them up by the roots, the large deer herd treated these cash crops like an all you can eat salad bar.
Glassing carefully so as to only harvest a dry doe, we had to pass on several shot opportunities. It was a real test of patience when my boys would hear me say, “no, I think she has fawns.” Finally after a few hours, the shot presented itself.

A mature doe stood alone and fed broadside at just over 200 yards. With one son running the camera and the other on the trigger, it was an amusing display of teenage testosterone as they worked together in an attempt to get it all on video. Finally they got settled in and the shot rang out. A perfectly placed shot was reflected by a mule kick from the doe. It was a moment filled with high fives and hugs. The youngest had just harvested his first deer.

Although he would rather shoot a recurve any day, he was happy to help manage the deer herd, save some crops and take part in the DNR’s study for Bovine Tuberculosis.
We headed home with two mature does in the cooler and two happy boys in the back seat. Although, what we really took home were the memories of another successful hunt and the quality time that we shared together. What a great way to start the 2013 hunting season.


kids hunting


hunting with boys


10 Tips: How To Get Permission to Hunt

Most every hunter knows getting permission to hunt on private property is not an easy task. Gone are the good ole’ days when fencerows were absent of ‘No Hunting’ signs. It’s little wonder, with large-scale reluctancy on the part of landowners, that ‘getting permission to hunt’ has become a key topic in outdoor articles, blogs and forums all across the hunting community.
But a greater issue rests in a recent poll, which suggests ‘accessibility’ has even contributed to the lack of new hunter recruitment. That said, I would have to agree that knocking on doors and asking permission to hunt is rather daunting in today’s society. Because more often than not, hunters are told, no.
[post_thumbnail size=”post-hero”]
Across the last several years I’ve had the privilege of gaining access to several thousand acres of private property. I’m indebted to landowners, ranchers and farmers who were co-operative when it came to granting permission to hunt. Although I cannot say every landowner I asked permission to hunt on their property said yes, I can say with hard work and perseverance you can still gain permission to hunt on private property.

Tip #1 – Forget the Phone

Even if you have the greatest of phone skills, it will work to your advantage if you meet the property owner face to face. (I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone say, “I called them, and they said, no!”) I learned a long time ago that trying to gain access on the phone lessened my chances of getting permission to hunt. That property owner needs to put a face with the request. Put forth the effort to meet the property owner personally.


Tip #2 – Dress For Success

Yes, I’m serious. As much as we might not like the word ‘profiling’ we’re all guilty to some degree. When addressing a property owner the last thing you want to do is look like you got dressed in front of an airplane propeller. Dress respectable but don’t overdress. You can’t go wrong looking presentable.


Tip #3 – Think Person Not Potential

Remember, you’re getting ready to talk to a person. Look them in the eye, give a proper introduction and shake their hand. No matter how excited you are about the potential, this moment is not about your ego or how big of deer you hope to harvest on the property. These few minutes you have with the property owner are not about how great of a hunter you are. Leave your ego at home and unless asked, leave out your hunting stories. No matter how much potential you see in the property, when asking permission to hunt, don’t make the conversation about you—make it about the property owner.

Tip #4 – Engagement Is Key

Several years ago I listened to an executive share how he engaged new clients. Before meeting with the potential client he would have his staff find out specific interests of the client. One potential client in particular had traveled extensively to Africa, so the executive redecorated his office in African artifacts. Immediately when entering the office the client was engaged in conversation about Africa. Due to the engagement, the potential client became a customer. This principle is very important when gaining permission to hunt on private property.
If you approach a farmer, look for an antique tractor parked behind the shop and ask him about it. Let him tell you 45-minutes worth of stories about that piece of equipment. Whether a dog, cat, flower bed, antique car or manicured lawn, use whatever you can to engage the property owner. Engagement is key.
hunting private property


Tip #5 – Don’t Rush It

If it takes an elderly gentleman two hours to tell you about all 32 of his grandkids, shake your head yes and listen. I learned a long time ago that property owners have some strange ways of figuring out who you are. If you don’t care about them personally, you won’t care about their property. Patience is the key when dealing with a property owner.
If you can stand all day in a treestand, then you’re qualified to listen longer than you may want to (even if they tell the same story twice.) Whatever you do, try not to ask for permission to hunt when you are pressed for time. Visit the proprty owner when you have the time to talk. If you’re rushed, the property owner will sense it. Hurrying through a conversation is not the foundation on which to build a good relationship.


Tip #6 – Respect

Addressing the property owner as Mr. or Mrs. is always in order. Yes, Sir, and Yes, Ma’am, may sound like you spent time south of the Mason Dixon line, and that’s okay. People appreciate manners and being polite will earn you some respect. Treat this interaction with professionalism and the property owner with the same type of respect.


Tip #7 – Thank You

No matter the outcome, yes or no, tell the property owner, ‘Thank you!’ Express your appreciation to the property owner for taking the time to talk to you. If you are told no, put on the game face, even your hopes of getting permission to hunt are shattered. We all have been told, no. Don’t take it personal and don’t get an attitude. Keep a good attitude and treat the property owner like you would want to be treated. It’s not your property.


Tip #8 – Build The Relationship

If you’re granted permission to hunt on a certain piece of property, it will do you a world of good to spend some time with the property owner. It will make a lasting impression to simply drive to the farm and visit with the farmer. If he doesn’t care, just hang out and ask him questions about his interest and hobbies.
Volunteering to do work for the property owner without payment will show them how much you value the privileges granted to you. When Christmas rolls around, be sure to buy a gift for the property owner. Your expression of thankfulness will go a long way. Don’t forget when hunting the property to call ahead and let the property owner know you’re going to be hunting. Little things matter in every relationship.


Tip #9 – Your Indebted Not Entitled

Unfortunately, I’ve seen hunters who over time began to think the property they got permission to hunt on belonged to them. They lost their sense of indebtedness and begin to take on an attitude of entitlement. Never forget you’ve been granted a privilege. Don’t take it for granted.


Tip #10 – Don’t Get Discouraged When Asking Permission To Hunt

Several years ago during pre-season scouting, we glassed up two of the biggest Whitetails I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, both deer were on property that was not accessible. I tried every tactic in the book to get permission to hunt that particular piece of property and was consistently told, no.


Of course, I was a little frustrated. I did however gain permission to hunt on the adjoining farm. During the rut those two big boys decided to leave ‘Mr. POSTED’s’ property. They wandered over on my side of the fence and guess what—I was able to harvest one of my nicest bucks to date. Don’t get discouraged, be strategic and it will pay off in the long run.


Having recently moved to a new state, I know what it’s like to start the ‘permission process’ all over again. You might get told “no” a hundred times. Just keep knocking and believing the next door you knock on will be the one. Never give up!


bow hunting private property


Grilled Venison Backstrap Kabobs Recipe

Just the thought of grilled venison backstrap can make your mouth water. With its flavorsome and tender qualities, few cuts of meat are as appetizing as grilled venison backstrap.
If you’re like me, a secret stash of venison backstrap is guarded under lock and key. Not literally, but almost. As bowhunters, we recognize a package of venison backstrap is more than just a piece of venison, it’s the reward of a successful hunt tucked neatly into the freezer.
Now that the weather is perfect for grilling, thaw out that stash of venison backstrap and treat yourself to a dinner filled with the perfect blend of wild and zesty.
[post_thumbnail size=”post-hero”]
There are plenty of ways to fix mouthwatering grilled venison backstrap. One of our personal favorites is grilled venison backstrap kabobs with peanut sauce and grilled romaine. Blending the luscious flavors of peppers, mushrooms and onions compliments the already heavenly taste of backstrap. The peanut sauce adds a full-bodied flavor to your palate and the grilled romaine provides a side of green and is a healthy addition to an already lean meal.

Grilled Venison Backstrap Kabob Ingredients

• 1-2 lbs of venison backstrap, cut into approx. 2-inch cubes
• 2 red peppers, cut into 2-inch slices
• 2 green peppers, cut into 2-inch slices
• 2 sweet onions, cut into 2-inch slices
• 1 10oz package of white button mushrooms

Venison Backstrap Kabob Marinade

• ¾ cup of olive oil
• ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar
• ¾ cup of soy sauce (preferably low sodium)
• 1 tsp of garlic salt
• ¼ cup of brown sugar
• 2 tbsp of Sriracha chili sauce
• 1 tsp of PB2 powdered peanut butter
In a gallon ziplock bag, mix the marinade ingredients. Place the cubed venison backstrap into the ziplock and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours.
When you’re ready to cook, remove the venison backstrap and thread evenly, with the slices of onion and peppers, onto the metal skewers. Keep the venison backstrap, peppers and onions tight. This will help seal the moisture in the backstrap. Place the sliced mushrooms on the end of the skewers to hold the venison backstrap and peppers together and in place.
Preheat grill on high. Place skewers on grill and cook on medium heat for approximately 8 minutes. Turn the skewer(s) over and cook until the venison backstrap is to its desired doneness.

venison backstrap

Peanut Dipping Sauce

• 1 cup of natural creamy peanut butter
• 1 tbsp of brown sugar
• 3 tsp of soy sauce (preferably low sodium)
• 1 tsp of Sriracha chili sauce
• 3 tbsp of Hoisin sauce
• 2 tbsp of lime juice
• 1 tsp of sesame oil
• ¼ cup of water
Mix ingredients together and whisk until color is even. If the sauce is too thick add more water until you reach the desired consistency. If you’re a peanut butter aficionado, you will enjoy the flavor this adds to the venison kabob.

Grilled Romaine

• 2 large heads of romaine, cut in half lengthwise
• Olive Oil
• Sea Salt
• Peppercorns
Evenly sprinkle the head of romaine with olive oil. Grind peppercorns and pepper as desired. Salt to flavor. Simply wait until the venison backstap kabobs are almost ready to be removed from the grill and place the oiled, salted and peppered romaine on the grill.
Cook romaine until leaf edges are dark and serve. It may sound crazy, but grilled romaine is a delectable addition to your grilled venison backstrap kabobs.

A Wonderful Memory and Delicious Family Meal

Having dug through various venison backstrap recipes and altered them to our liking, this meal has become a family favorite. My wife even asked, “Are you sure this is venison?”
As we bowed our head and thanked God for providing another meal, I will have to be honest and tell you my mind wandered. Another bow season is quickly approaching and as I was praying, I was dreaming. Since this was the backstrap from my son’s bow kill, I was already envisioning another successful season. I think God understands that to enjoy the meal and cherish the memories are both part of the hunt. Amen!

Whitetail Fawn Recruitment

Coyotes And Whitetail Fawn Recruitment

The coyote meticulously zigzagged its way across the meadow. Every move mimicked the proficient efforts of an experienced bird dog. Intentionally keeping the wind in its face, the predator diligently worked towards the unsuspecting prey. Without a doubt, this four-legged hunter was operating by a deliberate and calculated strategy.
Sensing the impending danger a mature doe stood to confront her stalker—it was an instant impasse. The doe stood her ground and so did the coyote.  After a few tense moments, the doe made a sudden lunge and charged her menace. What ensued was a drag race of survival.
Running as close to the coyote as possible the doe repeatedly kicked her front legs in an effort to strike the predator with a hoof. Tucking tail the coyote realized it was no match for these weapons and surrendered in temporary defeat. This day’s score ended with—deer one, coyote zero.
[post_thumbnail size=”post-hero”]
As the doe returned to her original bedding area, it occurred to me this battle had not ultimately been between doe and coyote. The objective of both hunter and hunted was bedded in the tall grass, it was a newborn fawn.

Increasing Coyote Populations

Over the course of the last several years there have been numerous reports on the widespread increase of coyote populations. These studies confirm the coyote to be an adept omnivore whose ability to survive has made it adaptable to both rural and metropolitan areas.
Through a merger of urban expansion and translocation, coyotes now thrive across much of the North America. Expanding their range to include most of the Northeast and Southeast United States, coyotes are now familiar residents in areas where at one time they were considered complete strangers.
Just over two decades ago it was considered uncommon to see the allusive coyote in the rural Midwest, much less catch a glimpse of it in populated residential areas, but today we have become accustomed to seeing the coyote almost anywhere. These common sightings only confirm the coyote’s continued and rapid proliferation.
Whitetail researchers recognize this exponential growth in coyote numbers can make a definite impact on overall deer populations. Although much debate surrounds the coyote, its impact on fawn recruitment has been readily documented.

Coyote Predation And Deer Fawn Recruitment

Comprehensive studies suggest that with the increase in coyote numbers comes the concurrent decline in deer fawn recruitment. These studies, done in several Southeastern states, attribute coyote-fawn predation as a direct contributor to falling deer numbers.
Dr. John Kilgo, a research biologist with the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station, conducted one such study. This research was performed at the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Savannah River Site (SRS), consisting of a 300 square mile, forested area in western South Carolina. Prompted by concerns over the coyote’s direct effects on deer populations, the study covered coyote habitat, survival and mortality along with the predator’s direct impact on fawn survival.
In his report entitled, Coyotes in the East: Are They Impacting Deer? Dr. Kilgo states, “To date, the SRS research has found that coyotes are, in fact, taking a tremendous toll on fawns. Of 60 fawns monitored over the course of the work, only 16 have survived until autumn, when they are old enough to be safe from predation and can be considered part of the huntable population. That means that 44 fawns, or 73 percent, did not survive. Predation by bobcats and coyotes has accounted for all but one of the deaths. The great majority of the predation, though, has been by coyotes: 36 of the 44 (82 percent) have been either confirmed or probable coyote predation, 6 have been bobcat predation, and 2 have been attributed to unknown predators. The risk of predation is greatest in the first month of a fawn’s life. By about 6 weeks of age, they seem generally able to evade predators, and no fawns have been killed by predators after 10 weeks. Genetic analysis has revealed that many different coyotes kill fawns, with only two individual coyotes being responsible for more than one kill.”
Whitetail Fawn Recruitment
Dr. Grant Woods, a wildlife biologist and pioneer in the Quality Deer Management movement, recently devoted several articles to the coyote predation issue. Dr. Woods cited a study done by one of his graduate students in which 20 plus coyotes and 10 bobcats were removed from a 2000-acre property. This particular property saw a 150% plus increase in fawns the following fawning season.
Dr. Woods consensus on coyote predation parallels that of Dr. Kilgo, and was summed up in this statement, “Whatever the theories and realities were, the current impact of predators on deer, turkey, quail and other game species are real and measurable!” Further studies have provided detailed information much like those already cited. Undoubtedly, the overall impact coyotes have on fawn recruitment is significant.
The biologist’s findings cannot be ignored by hunters. It’s all too easy to ignore the responsibility of applying proper predator management to a hunting portfolio. The ultimatum is clear—if we are to have sufficient bucks to harvest, there must be adequate numbers of fawns added into the population each year.

Pressure And Stress From Predators

It doesn’t require a degree in biology to experience the stress coyotes can put on a deer population. If a hunter spends any time in a treestand, you are sure to see a coyote following or running a deer. Put out a few trail cameras and you will have ample photos of a coyote or a pack of coyotes chasing deer. These practical observations give an adequate education in the fact coyotes and whitetails don’t cohabitate.
Although whitetail research confirms the coyote primarily seeks fawns rather than mature deer as a food source, these studies also confirm predators place unduly amounts of stress on deer herds. Dr. Aaron Moen of Cornell University carried out a research project in which he determined stress to have a definite impact on deer and fawn heart rates. From antler growth to increased metabolism, he noted any perceived form of predation has a negative impact on a whitetails physical health.
Deer are already under significant stress going into the winter months. This especially applies to mature bucks headed into peak rut. Expending energy reserves, they mark scrapes, make rubs and put on miles in an attempt to find the estrous doe. This involves inadequate nutrition, little rest, battling for dominance and loss of fat storage, which in turn creates immense strain on their bodies.
During the rut many bowhunters have rattled or grunted in an opportunistic coyote. These coyotes instinctively knew what was going on and even if they came in out of curiosity; if a buck or bucks were present they would have fled at the sight of a predator. These encounters only add stress and waste even more energy out of a bucks depleted reserves.
Not only do coyote encounters tax deer physically, they also create a predator awareness that breeds vigilance. One biologist reported that is not uncommon to observe fewer deer during daylight hours when a particular property holds a larger number of predators. He also stated that when the number of predators was reduced, the number of game sightings increased within weeks.
Coyote Hunting
Taking into consideration the threat, pressure and added stress that coyotes put on a deer herd, hunters must carefully consider all aspects of management. Understanding how predators affect hunting areas can help when forming a strategy; a plan that will help to insure the future of successful harvests and as well as provide for Quality Deer Management and adequate fawn recruitment.

Having A Predator Strategy

Gone are the days when hunting had few consequences. If hunting will have a future, deer hunters will have to become proficient managers in the aiding of whitetail survival. Hanging treestands and trail cameras isn’t enough. Taking the required steps to reduce pressure, create habitat and provide adequate nutrition, will be necessary in reducing predation and increasing fawn recruitment.

Hunting and Trapping

When statistics consistently show fawn survival rates can double if coyotes are adequately trapped and hunted, can only mean one thing—hunters must trap and hunt predators. Whether we like it or not, the coyote is here to stay. Our only hope is to offset predation with a proper predator management program.
There is a considerable amount of information available to the novice coyote hunter and trapper. Like all hunting and trapping, it takes time to learn and become proficient at harvesting predators. Take the time to talk to an experienced trapper and educate yourself on the animal you pursue, this will help to diminish the chances of educating your quarry. With time and patience, you can become proficient at managing predators.

Fawning Areas

Although, most whitetail researchers have encouraged limiting the threat of predators through hunting and trapping, they also recognize this is not enough. There must also be adequate provision for the whitetail herd, this includes providing proper nutrients and habitat.

Research has established that fawns are the most vulnerable to predators in their first few hours and days of life. Creating areas of security can help to reduce the number of fawn mortalities and help to increase fawn recruitment. Lindsay Thomas, Jr., Editor of QDMA’s Quality Whitetails addressed this issue in an article entitled QDM and Coyotes, in which he states, “When you have good fawning cover and a lot of it, the coyote has a harder time detecting that prey. Tall grasses interspersed with forbs make good fawning cover. You don’t want a deep thicket, because the doe can’t get in there herself. The fawn can get down out of sight in mixed grasses and forbs, and when it does begin to emit more odor, the grass is minimizing wind movements.”

Proper Nutrition

Today’s market is saturated with deer attractants and supplements. These supplement companies often advertise antler growth as the primary objective. Many articles have been written that focus primarily on a buck’s need of nutrients following the rut. Although bucks should be considered, the necessary supplements a doe requires after fawning often goes unmentioned.


Fawn-survival research shows that feeding and protecting her offspring imposes an enormous load on the overall health of the whitetail doe. Due to lactation a doe must increase its intake of forage. A lack of adequate nutrition can result in poor fetal development, neonatal mortality and fawn abandonment. Providing quality nutrients for your deer herd isn’t just about antlers. Nutrition is a valuable asset to bucks, does and future offspring.

Quality Habitat

Habitat improvement does more than provide ample food source for deer, this added cover also allows whitetails to gain an advantage in avoiding predators. Biologists suggest this type of management may also increase small game numbers and local rodent populations. In turn the opportunistic coyote won’t have to rely predominately on young and tender venison.


Hunters should also incorporate a sanctuary into their habitat strategy. This serves as an area where deer can retreat from all hunting pressure and any human activity. A sanctuary will aid in reducing pressure, which is a key factor in harvesting mature bucks.


Analysts suggest a successful strategy for limiting predation must be a multi-faceted approach. To hope for a magic wand that would disperse the problematic coyote is wishful thinking. As hunters, our goal must be to understand the effects predators have on deer and set out to establish and manage a quality deer herd as effectively as possible. It will take dedication and commitment, but it’s our only hope in limiting the destructiveness of predators on fawns and future deer herds.


Tree Stand Placement And Trimming Shooting Lanes

Both treestand placement and properly trimmed shooting lanes are an important part of a well-planned whitetail strategy. Consider how you’d feel if someone came into your home and turned over the couch, tipped over the chair and left the door standing wide open—you wouldn’t appreciate it. So it is for the whitetail that’s had a bowhunter come in and mess up his living room by over trimming. That buck’s going to know something isn’t right and may have second thoughts on getting too close to that area again.
In an honest attempt to be ethical and insure shooting lanes are unobstructed, bowhunters often lessen their chances of harvest by over trimming shooting lanes, removing excessive undergrowth and not carefully considering the disorder they leave behind for the deer that live there. When considering stand placement and trimming shooting lanes, there are some simple but important aspects to consider before excessively removing foliage.
[post_thumbnail size=”post-hero”]

Treestand Placement Tips

The acute instincts of a whitetail make it an admirable animal to pursue. The challenge of harvesting such an allusive creature drives us to spend countless hours scouting for prime locations in which to hang a stand. The discerning bowhunter knows proper treestand placement is an important key to a successful archery season. 
While scouting, we’ve all found what looked to be the very living room of a true trophy—the ideal place for treestand placement. The area may have had well-used game trails, a significant number of rubs and maybe a scrape or two. By using trail cameras, we nailed down the location of the bucks bedroom, kitchen or favorite place for a dating rendezvous. These factors helped to determine our choice of treestand placement and we hung a stand in hopes we would intercept the buck traveling from one location to another.
The items we often forget to consider in our scouting for the perfect place to hang a treestand are: 1. Natural screening, 2. Thermal covering and 3. Canopy covering. These three elements make up the overall natural cover provided to deer by the natural foliage in a particular area. This cover also creates a safe surrounding and depending on the region, a cool or warm environment for the deer to bed, feed or travel in.
As the bowhunter considers proper stand placement, remember to take into consideration how the removal of undergrowth, limbs and trees will affect the natural screening, thermal and canopy coverings. These seemingly small details can have a great impact on future harvest success.

Trim Shooting Lanes With Caution

Trimming shooting lanes during the early summer will give you an edge in the upcoming archery season. Not only will the summer months eliminate any remaining scent in a particular area, but you’ll have several months for deer to adjust to the slightest change in their natural surroundings.
tree stand placement

When trimming shooting lanes post-season, remember that less is better. The more you alter the natural landscape overall, the more you’re sure to tip off a wary buck that something is awry. When trimming shooting lanes, the ultimate goal is to leave the area as natural looking as possible. 
When choosing a particular tree for stand placement, consider one that has a large trunk, several limbs growing out from the trunk or various smaller trees surrounding it. This will serve to your advantage and provide ample cover later in the season. The additional limbs and foliage will also offer a natural canopy and help break up your silhouette.
After setting up your stand location, carefully consider how the limbs you trim will change the natural canopy. You’d be better served in some cases to drag an obstruction into a game trail and make a new alternate trail with a better line-of-sight than to remove a tree that offers significant shade or has become a landmark within the whitetail’s domain.
In a recent discussion with a noted whitetail expert, the subjects of stand height, shooting lanes and natural canopy were being discussed. This professional suggested when choosing the ideal treestand height, to first consider the height of the foliage canopy in the particular area you’re hunting. Even if the canopy was seemingly low, he chose not to hang a stand above the canopy. This way the canopy offered natural concealment and would not leave him silhouetted in the skyline. A very interesting tip to consider when determining stand placement.

Trim Smaller Shooting Lanes But More Of Them

Many bowhunters fail to consider how much cover will be removed when attempting to trim a horizontal-style shooting lane. Instead, think vertical and trim multiple shooting lanes in a vertical fashion.
This style of trimming will provide more than ample shooting positions, furnish extra screening cover between you and the deer, and will leave enough canopy so your trimming will not be overly obtrusive in a buck’s home area.
It’s also good policy to use the buddy system when trimming shooting lanes. With the shooter in the treestand, direct the trimmer on the ground to the particular limbs or undergrowth that must be removed. Taking the time to gain a perspective from your treestand will provide a vantage point the trimmer will not have and insure you are not over trimming.
Every hunting area is different and you’ll have to judge your trimming accordingly. Always make safety a priority when trimming shooting lanes and never think in any situation that you can afford to go without a safety harness while in the process of stand placement.
Remember to trim conservatively and take time to consider that you’re messing around in someone else’s house.
trimming shooting lanes

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. 
[post_thumbnail size=”post-hero”]
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



Badlands Pursuit Daypack Review

The Badlands Pursuit Daypack is forged from the same quality that has given Badlands Packs a stellar reputation. “Badlands” may define inhospitable terrain, but the word also defines a brand. A trustworthy brand that has earned a reputation much like its namesake—from weathering adversity. 
[post_thumbnail size=”post-hero”]

The Badlands Brand 


For over a decade Badlands packs have been the choice of discerning outdoorsman. Through understanding the performance, design and comfort that should accompany a quality hunting pack, Badlands has established itself as a leader in hunting pack innovation.


Expanding on its stellar reputation, Badlands continues to introduce a variety of packs designed to meet the demands of an array of hunting environments. No matter if your hunting in the Midwest, West or Southeast, Badlands has a product that meets the needs of the individual hunter. This customization enables the bowhunter and rifle hunter to choose a pack that is suitable for their specific application and makes Badlands packs as functional as they are dependable.


The Badlands Pursuit Daypack


The Badlands Pursuit Daypack is a one of a kind daypack. Combining quality with simplicity the Badlands Pursuit pack was designed with the “no-frills” hunter in mind.


With 1500 cubic inches of storage the Badlands Pursuit pack boasts of more than ample room. Its foundation is Badland’s KX032 fabric backed by a urethane waterproof shell. Every seam is triple-stitched with Aramid thread and stress points are reinforced with Hypalon panels.


Badlands Pursuit


The Badlands Pursuit Daypack has three large compartments along with two pockets for hydration. These allow for usage of a hydration bladder or separate water bottles. There are two bedroll straps, which can serve for strapping on a bow, spotting scope or treestand. Additional mesh pockets provide organization and keep small but necessary items within reach.


The Badlands Pursuit pack comes in the popular Mossy Oak Break-Up camouflage. Mossy Oak’s innovative layering of perfectly shaped branches, leaves, and limbs delivers an incredibly effective pattern for woodland and bottomland hunting. Combining ghost shadows, enhanced 3-D illusion and realism of digitized elements, the woods comes to life in the details of this extraordinary camo pattern.


With a weight of only 1 lb. 8 oz., numerous technical attributes and Badlands new Air Track Suspension—the Badlands Pursuit Daypack lives up to its name.


Badlands Pursuit Warranty


Badlands is known for having one of the best warranty’s in the hunting industry. They don’t care if you bought one of their packs at a garage sale or gear swap—it’s under warranty. If something malfunctions, they don’t ask whose fault it was. All they ask is that you use and abuse your pack as much as possible so they can learn how to make their products even better.


The Badlands promise is simple—“We’ll fix it for free.”




Exceeding all expectations, the Badlands Pursuit Daypack withstood an uncanny amount of abuse. Rain, snow and even ice were no match for the KX032 fabric. Through the hunting season we saw this pack overloaded, stressed and filled to the max. In spite of the assault, no zippers were broken, no seams were torn and the pack remained as good as new. Triple stitched with ample reinforcement gives this pack the quality we have come to expect from Badlands.  From its nylon buckles to heavy-duty zippers, this pack is designed to perform.




Retailing at under $100 the Badlands Pursuit daypack is the definition of value. Costing much less than some  inferior packs, the Pursuit is worth every dollar. Considering the lifetime warrenty, this pack is an investment—not an expense.




Considering its quality, warranty and economical price point, the Badlands Pursuit has a five-star rating all the way. The Pursuit is the perfect pack for the treestand or a stalk. If you’re in the market for a dependable daypack that won’t break the bank, check out the Pursuit at your nearest Badlands retailer.


For more information visit Badlands today.


Badlands Pursuit Pack




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.
[post_thumbnail size=”post-hero”]
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.



hunting with grandpa

A Christmas Memory: Grandpa’s Hunting Hatchet

It was Christmas and the old farmhouse rang with laughter. Gathered around the dining room table our family spent the evening sharing memories and spinning yarns. As always, this included the telling of hunting stories.
Seated at the far end of the table, my 93-year-old grandfather kept us in stitches. Blessed with good health and a sharp mind, he still remembers more than he has forgotten, including how to use his dry sense of humor.
Wanting my three boys to hear their great-grandfather’s hunting stories, I asked, “Grandpa, when did our family start hunting in Grayling, Michigan?” He cleared his throat and said, “It was around 1927… ” and for at least an hour we sat captivated by his stories.
[post_thumbnail size=”post-hero”]
His gnarled hands motioned as he described drooping pine boughs and big antlers. Tales of bad blizzards and the biggest buck he ever saw captivated our attention. Spellbound, we listened of the War years when ammo was scarce and all he had was a couple rounds for an old .32 Winchester Special.
We grew tense as grandpa remembered being lost in the big Michigan woods. His experiences of tenting in the cold and stalking bucks in the snow were book worthy. We smiled as he told of all the effort that went into crippling an old car across the miles, just so he could hunt another season.
It was an honor to listen to sixty plus years of hunting reminisces.
When Grandfather finished, I asked if he had kept his little red hunting hatchet and he assured me that he did. This was the little red hatchet he carried for as long we had hunted together.
It was with that little red hatchet and a swift stroke that Grandpa would send a piece of pine bark flying. Exposing a bright white blaze on selected trees, those marks would become my roadmap to and from where I was hunting. With a Marbles compass and those ivory crescents, he made sure I could find my way in the dawn or darkness.
My interest in the hatchet is founded in the belief – this isn’t an ordinary hatchet. Maybe I’m just sentimental, but in my heart I believe the hatchet represents a whole lot more.
There is a legacy represented in that pitch stained piece of steel. That hatchet is a memoir of a mentor who passed on a heritage of hunting and the great outdoors. Every tree he blazed not only pointed me forward but it pointed back to a man who found it important to give his grandson an appreciation for the finer things in life. From that old Remington to his dog-eared Bible, he taught me there are some things you hold on to forever.
Today, my reason for hunting exceeds a high scoring set of antlers. Through experience I have learned there is value in spending time in the outdoors. The passion that began with a little red hatchet is now carved deeply into my family’s lifestyle.
As grandfather finished his stories, my mind began to wander. On this Christmas, I realized the greatest gift I had ever been given couldn’t be packaged under a tree. The greatest gift my grandfather ever gave was the time he spent teaching me about the great outdoors.
Eight-five years have passed since my grandfather started hunting. Times have changed and hunting has changed with them. The one thing that remains the same is my opportunity to teach another generation about the best things in life.
You may not own a little red hatched, but each of us holds the power to blaze a way for the next generation. Lets pass on the marks made by the little red hatchet. Take the time to introduce someone to hunting and God’s great outdoors. It may be the best gift you’ll ever give.

By  expressly for The Sportsman Channel