Category Archives: Deer Hunting


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.






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.


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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

whitetail grunt snort wheeze

The Whitetail Grunt-Snort-Wheeze: Why, Where, When and How

Whitetail deer are communicative by nature. By using vocal, visual and olfactory cues the entire herd is able to establish its pecking order, respond to danger and reproduce effectively. Understanding and interpreting a whitetail’s communication, such as the snort-wheeze can be key when attempting to harvest a trophy whitetail.
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Successful hunters understand the effectiveness of using grunt tubes and doe bleats in order to mimic a whitetails vocal communication. These calls produce definite results and when used properly can aid in bringing a deer within shooting range of your setup. With the rut getting into full swing in most areas, there is no better time of year to begin communicating with your quarry.
An often overlooked, yet extremely effective whitetail call is the grunt-snort-wheeze.


The grunt-snort-wheeze is the most threatening of vocalizations produced by a male whitetail deer. This sound is produced primarily during the peak rut and consists of a drawn-out expulsion of air through the pinched nostrils of the deer. Made by a dominant or mature buck the grunt-snort-wheeze sends a “back off Jack” message to an encroaching underling. This sound is used as a defense mechanism to protect territory, hence preserving a bucks breeding rights.
By using this sound the hunter gives a mature buck exactly what he’s after, a cue that there must be an available doe in the area. A mature buck that is searching for where the hot doe’s are; even if another buck is already tending them, will gladly take up the challenge of the snort-wheeze for the exchange of a hot date.
The grunt-snort-wheeze call seems to work predominately on more mature bucks that may not necessarily be seeking to fight for dominance but are intent on finding the hot doe in the area. We would recommend you not use this call on younger bucks. This call will send a message to a younger buck that he might get his tail whipped if he doesn’t “get out of dodge.”


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If you know of a good travel corridor, breeding-staging area or can set up close to where a mature buck is bedded, these are all great places to use a grunt-snort-wheeze. A few years ago we used the snort-wheeze to call a buck to within shooting range from over 500 yards away. This call is amazingly effective in an area where bucks are tending does and competing for territory.
If you plan on rattling, grunting or using the snort-wheeze, be sure when placing your stand or blind that you have thick cover nearby. If you set up and call in an open or sparse area, the first time a mature buck comes in and cannot see the deer that made the grunt-snort-wheeze, there’s a good chance he will figure out something is wrong. Having thick cover around or behind your setup will give the buck the perception that the vocal deer is in the cover. With adequate cover the buck will be more likely to come in for an inspection and get close enough for the shot.
When using the snort-wheeze remember that a mature buck will try to approach from down wind. If you can set up in such a way as to cut him off before he can get directly downwind, this will obviously work to your advantage. This is one benefit of using a decoy with any vocalization. Although the wind is always a factor and the setup must be made accordingly, the sight of the decoy is likely to override the bucks instinct of trying to find you with his nose.


With the grunt-snort-wheeze being the voice of a mature or dominant buck, it’s best to use during the peak of the rut. In pre-rut we have incorporated the snort-wheeze into a rattling, grunting sequence with good results, but optimal results have definitely been peak rut when bucks are on their feet cruising for does during the mid-morning to mid-day.
Across the years bucks have been most responsive to the snort-wheeze in between 10am and 2pm. Although mature bucks may hang up with an estrus doe during the day, most breeding activity takes place under the cover of darkness. After a buck breeds a doe he will begin to seek out other does that are coming into estrus, thus traveling through the mid-day. We are not saying that you shouldn’t snort-wheeze in early morning or late evening, but a buck that has run with the girls all night seems to be more apt to come to a call after his morning or afternoon nap.
Remember when calling that whitetail have incredibly acute hearing and the innate ability to accurately pinpoint the source of a sound. As with all aspects of whitetail hunting, be patient! Allow time for the buck to investigate the origins of the vocalization on his schedule and not yours.


Mimicking the grunt-snort-wheeze is very elementary. First, loosely place your top teeth on your bottom lip. Then in a drawn-out expulsion of air follow the cadence of (phiit,phiit,phiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii). For volume, cup your hand and use as a sound chamber. You can either use one or two hands depending on volume and how far you want the sound to travel.
There are many grunt calls on the market that include a hollow chamber designed specifically for the grunt-snort-wheeze. These calls will help to increase the volume of the call and allow you to use a combination of a grunt along with the snort wheeze.
The snort-wheeze is a very effective tool for the whitetail hunter. If you experiment with the call this year please let us know the results. The object of the snort-wheeze is simple… you want to be the one being hunted.
snort wheeze sound


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.


wicked tree gear wicked tough saw


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.

Being a hunting community: Do you place value on other hunters?

He’s the father who remembers his ‘guided hunts’ being through a grocery store, led by a little hand that called him daddy. She’s the mother who scrimped to buy her arrows in a half-dozen, because her quiver was filled with a family. He’s the foster parent who would have loved to bought the latest in hunting gear, but he invested his dollars in a young persons future. She’s the single mother; who in spite of what the critic said, took her son hunting every chance she could.

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Within the hunting community fine folks like these often remain hidden. Hidden, because their trophies are recorded in the form of cherished memories, not in a book. Hidden, because they are not poster-children for a popular product. Hidden, because they are not defined by an antler score or by the things they possess. Hidden, because their trophies are measured by thrill not inches. Yet, woven within each of their stories is a common thread – they are hunters.


Hunter’s come from all walks of life and it’s our distinct differences that make the community unique. Made up of male, female, rich, poor, celebrities, and unknowns, we are diverse in scope and skill. Unfortunately, as hunters we often determine the value of one another by defining whether or not someone is a ‘successful’ hunter. But an individual’s value cannot be measured by how much better or how much less their deer scored. As a hunting community we cannot afford to allow each other’s value to be measured by shallow self-interest. The wise men and women who gave us the privilege of hunting, passed on something to be cherished. We have been given a heritage that places value on every individual in the overall community based upon what we enjoy. As hunters we value one other based upon the memories we make and the satisfaction we share. A passion for the outdoors is our common bond.


Hunter’s don’t need a name, title or numerous records in the books to be an important part of the hunting community. Any mother who teaches her kids what a game trail looks like is above par. The dad who tells his kids the secrets of a mature whitetail or an old Tom turkey is a valuable asset to the hunting community. The grandfather who has a deep appreciation for the outdoors and is passing on traditions to his grandkids, is a true celebrity.


If you’re a hunter, hold your head up high and enjoy a great hunting season. If no one knows you by the show you produce or the records you hold; so what, your part of the community – you’re a hunter.



Food Plots – No tractor, Few tools, No problem

If a lack of equipment has keep you from planting a food plot – think again. Bill Winke of Midwest Whitetail, a true authority on food plots and big whitetail, has put together some helpful videos for the no tractor and few tools, whitetail hunter. Watch as Bill gives tips on how  to make the best food plot using simple hand tools without a tractor.

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Watch as Bill gives tips on how  to make the best food plot using simple hand tools.
Bill Winke – Poor Mans Plots – Video


Bill Winke – Poor Man Plots – Part 2 – Video 


Although you might fall into the no tractor category, you may have some of the tools shown. If not, these tools can be rented for a minimal amount at your local tool rental. Fall will be here before you know it – time to get some seed in the ground – with or without a tractor.