Category Archives: Featured

bowhunting practice

Bowhunting Practice Made Perfect

Every year the same scene plays out over and over across the country. Archers engage in backyard bowhunting practice with the illusion that they are somehow preparing themselves for the rapidly approaching bow season. However, what many of these well-meaning bowhunters don’t know is that nothing could be further from the truth.
If you’re looking for the ultimate method for getting the most out of your bowhunting practice, if you want to make it perfect, then consider the following tips.
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Make Your Bowhunting Practice Situational

So many times treestand hunters conduct their bowhunting practice from the comfort of their freshly groomed yard. The problem with that is in no way does shooting flat-footed in the back yard resemble the environment they will be faced with when they head afield.
Whenever I am preparing for a hunt, no matter what it is, I always try to conduct a great deal of “situational” practice. In other words, I practice exactly how I will hunt. For example, if you hunt primarily from a treestand then you should be practicing from a treestand. Why? Because shooting from an elevated position requires a host of body mechanics that are different or unused when shooting on flat ground.
If you don’t create muscle memory during “situational” practice time then you stand a greater risk of botching the shot during crunch time. Also, shooting angles to the vitals will vary greatly depending on shot angle and distance.
bowhunting practice situational
The same goes when you are planning a spot and stalk hunt. Make sure your bowhunting practice includes a good deal of long-range shots from kneeling positions. Throw in some uneven terrain and high wind and you will be getting the most out of your time spent preparing.
Also, make sure to include a few practice sessions with your actual hunting attire. This will help give you an idea about what you’re hunting clothes will actually feel like when they are put to use in a real hunting situation.

Clutter Things Up

Conducting “situational” bowhunting practice is great but be sure to raise the level of difficulty by throwing some obstacles into the mix. For instance, not every whitetail bowshot will be void of arrow thwarting limbs.
The easiest way to recreate that sort of situation is to move your 3D target out of the freshly cut grass and back into the brush. This will force you to look at different shooting angles and how your bow/arrow set up reacts when faced with the task of shooting over or under obstructions.
Sometimes, even the smallest of obstacles can wreak havoc with a shooters thought process. In other words, some bowhunters panic and implode when an obstacle or two get thrown into the shooting scenario. If your eyes have already seen this (and overcame it) during your bowhunting practice then you stand a good chance of making the shot without even thinking about it when it really matters most.

Leave The Range Finder At Home

While I would never advocate leaving your rangefinder at home during a hunt, I do think it is a good idea to abandon it ever now and then during your bowhunting practice sessions.
The result might be a few bad shots, maybe even a lost arrow or two, but eventually that will lead to you strengthening your range-estimation skills. That will ultimately lead to you driving an arrow into the sweet spot of a buck that didn’t give you time to range him. The bottom line is never fully place the outcome of your hunt on a piece of technology. At the very least be prepared to get the job done in the event that it fails.

Get Your Blood Pumping

How many bow shots have you taken at whitetails with no elevation in heart rate or breathing? Probably the same as me—-none. So how can shooting under perfectly calm conditions (physically) prepare you for a nerve-racking shot at the buck of your dreams? It won’t.
The easiest way to reproduce those effects would be to increase your heart rate just prior to taking the shot. This can be done with some push-ups or a quick sprint.
bowhunting practice workout
Obviously, whenever you’re shooting from a treestand you can’t do this but whenever I conduct my bowhunting practice from an elevated position I try to sprint to the 3D target and remove my arrows.
I don’t sprint back however because I have arrows in hand. But the sprint does elevate my heart more than simply strolling up to the target.
Jogging between targets on a 3D course is also a great way to learn how to shoot under physical and mental stress. You may get more than a few weird looks from onlookers but who cares. This is bowhunting and nothing should be left to chance.

Ditch The Field Points

I am constantly amazed at the number of bowhunters who don’t incorporate broadheads into their bowhunting practice regimen. The results can be less than desirable. While sniper-like accuracy with field points does a lot to boost confidence it matters very little unless you can do the same with the broadhead you plan to hunt with. After all, broadheads (fixed or mechanical) rarely shoot the same as field points.
bowhunting practice broadhead
Even if your bow is properly tuned, your arrows are correctly spined and you’ve walk-back tuned your rest you can still expect a slight difference in impact point. For me, slight just isn’t going to cut it. That’s why I always keep extra broadheads lying around that are used for practice purposes. I shoot a fixed-blade head so if I want to shoot the same head all I have to do is swap out the blades and I’m ready to hunt.
Even mechanical broadheads will have some variance in how they shoot when compared to field points. That’s why manufacturers are now offering them with practice versions. Make good use of them or you could be sorry.

Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

It’s a familiar phrase when it comes to physical fitness but it has just as much impact when applied to your own shooting. What I mean is that if you want to be deadly at 40 yards then you should do a lot of shooting from 60 yards. The reason for this is simple.
After months of shooting at 60 paces, that 40 yard shot that once seemed intimidating will look more like a golf “tap-in”. And that’s exactly what you want. I routinely conduct my bowhunting practice from 60, 70 and even 80 yards. And, while I would never attempt a first shot at a whitetail at that range, the all-to-common 30, 40 and 50 yard shots are much, much easier to handle.
bowhunting practice comfort
In the end everyone’s shooting “comfort zone” will be different. And that is ok. No one can tell you how far you should feel comfortable shooting. If you’ve put in the time you will know exactly what you can handle and what you can’t. Just make sure you don’t step outside of that range no matter if it is the buck of your life standing down range or a slick-headed doe.


If your current bowhunting practice routine isn’t giving you the results you want then it is time to change things up. Consider the aforementioned tips to take your game to the next level and feel free to add a few of your own in the comment section below. Best of luck this fall!

Whitetail Pre Orbital Gland Lure Secrets

I will be the first to admit that over the course of my bowhunting career I haven’t had a lot of luck hunting over scrapes despite what all of the popular magazine articles might suggest.
In fact, I’ve never filled a tag while perched high above a pawed out piece of earth waiting for a buck (any buck) to return and do it again. However, a few years ago I found a better alternative. One that peaks the curiosity of the mature buck in the area and keeps him coming back to investigate.
I’m talking about using whitetail pre orbital gland lure as a means to inventory big bucks and eventually kill them. I know it sounds complicated but it really isn’t. This process can be used alone or can be used in conjunction with existing scrapes or mock scrapes to make them even more attractive.
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What Is The Whitetail Pre Orbital Gland

The whitetail pre orbital gland is a trench-like slit found on the bare skin extending out from the whitetails eyes. These glands are lined by a combination of sebaceous and sudoriferous glands which produce a waxy secretion that contains pheromones and other chemical compounds.
whitetail pre orbital gland location
Deer and other ungulates regularly deposit these secretions on twigs and grass in a way to communicate with each other.
Information gathered from these secretions not only help deer communicate but they also help the local bucks establish a “hierarchy” amongst themselves. It is this desire to establish and maintain a pyramid of dominance that gives the savvy hunter a behavior he can exploit.
The idea is to introduce an intruder into the mix while bucks are still in bachelor groups and basically know each other.

How is Whitetail Pre Orbital Gland Lure Different?

There are several advantages to using whitetail pre orbital gland lures.

  1. They can be used anywhere, anytime of the season.
  2. Bucks have a distinct identity and pre orbital scent plays a role in publicizing that.
  3. It is waxy and doesn’t wash off as easily as urine-based deer lures.

Unlike urine-based deer lures, whitetail pre orbital gland lure doesn’t dissipate rapidly. Urine-based lures will evaporate very quickly because they are water-based.
pre orbital lure location
Not only that, urine breaks down (chemically) turning into ammonia shortly after it hits the ground. Bucks visiting this urine-based lure probably have no idea “what” peed there.
A better analogy would be that they only know that “something” urinated in that spot. However, with pre orbital gland odors that simply isn’t the case.
The scent lasts longer and doesn’t breakdown before deer have a chance to interpret it. This allows them to get the right message when encountering the odor.

Advantages Of Using Pre Orbital Gland Lure

One of things I like about using whitetail pre orbital gland lure is that it can be done in the mid-late summer months when not much is going on and everyone else is hanging out by the pool.
Incorporating this tactic during the late summer allows me to take an inventory of the bucks in the area. Within a few months of doctoring my sites I have a pretty good idea about the type of bucks that are roaming around my hunting area.
If no mature bucks show up it is a pretty good assumption that I’ve either messed up on the location (more on that in a minute), cut corners on my scent control or there simply aren’t any true giants in my area.
Using this tactic during the summer has another distinct advantage—bachelor groups. During this time bucks are hanging together in groups.
pre orbital buck licking branch
They are getting to know each other (through scent) and they are establishing their pecking order. Some of this scent communicating comes in the way of “licking branches”.
You are probably familiar with the licking branch but I dare say it is during the fall months when it is accompanied by a scrape underneath. That branch is still there and it is still vital in the grand scheme of things despite the fact that it doesn’t include a scrape.
Also, if you attract one buck from a bachelor group to your set up you will typically attract them all. That is the basis for the success of Pre Orbital gland lure.

Essential Tools For The Pre Orbital Set Up

Before heading afield there are a few things you are going to need. They include:
whitetail pre orbital gear

  1. Rubber Boots
  2. Rubber Gloves
  3. Scent Control Spray
  4. Clean Clothes
  5. Scouting Camera
  6. Clean Pliers For Breaking Limb


Where To Create A Pre Orbital Gland Lure Trap

When it comes to using whitetail pre orbital gland lure location means everything. Start by looking for high traffic areas that see a lot of deer movement. These are easy to find by the heavy trails.
whitetail pre orbital gland licking branch
However, don’t be afraid to experiment with areas that you know hold deer but aren’t accompanied by heavy deer trails. After all, mature bucks don’t always follow the norm and they can sometimes move through an area without following the path that “regular” deer use.

Creating The Pre Orbital Gland Lure Set Up

Locate a suitable branch, one that is not dead and is very flexible. Break the limb (about chest height) in a way so that it doesn’t fall to the ground but leaves a great amount of surface area exposed.
Next apply 2-3 drops of the Pre Orbital Gland Lure to the exposed fibers of the broken limb. That’s it.
whitetail pre orbital lure application
The process isn’t very complicated. However, locating the right spot takes a little forethought. In fact, spend a little extra time contemplating where you will placing your lure.

Additional Considerations

I like to take my set up a step further by adding deer inderdigital gland lure to the ground underneath the doctored limb. This simply adds another scent to the overall set up and strengthens the illusion that an intruder buck was indeed in the area.
Also, before embarking on the journey into your hunting area make certain that you are as odor free as possible. Treat each trip to your set up as if you were hunting.
Return trips to re-freshen your set up and swap SD cards in your camera should be conducted about ever 10-14 days. Anything sooner will only complicate your ability to fly under the radar.

Where To Get Pre Orbital Gland Lure Scent

I buy my pre orbital gland lure directly from because it is of the highest quality and is NOT a synthetic scent. Simply put it is the real thing made from a single buck. Go online for this and other highly effective lures.
Do you have a favorite technique for luring in early season bucks? If so, let us know in the comment section below. Remember, there is no off season.

Havalon Hydra Knife

Havalon Hydra Review: More Than A Knife

The all-new Havalon Hydra redefines an ancient tool our ancestors called a—knife. Created unlike any of its predecessors, the Havalon Hydra is a stroke of genius bred with pure ingenuity.
Built on a precept that believes good is never good enough, the Hydra is an all-in-one knife/saw combo suitable for any outdoor excursion. Think of the Havalon Hydra as a handheld ‘transformer’ at your disposal, always ready to morph itself into a razor sharp blade or saw in a matter of seconds.
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Havalon Hydra: Seven In One

In reality the Havalon Hydra is seven knives in one. With a quick and easy system offering interchangeable blades the Hydra can deliver a razor sharp edge for whatever you’re cutting or sawing.
While the Hydra’s more compact family members, such as the Piranta-Stag, are suitable for making quick work when field dressing or caping game, the Hydra is designed to be more than a handy hunting knife. Whether fish, fowl or four-legged beast, the Hydra is equipped to make light work of any cut of meat.
Havalon Hydra Knives
The Hydra’s handy package comes with a saw (#115SW), fillet blade (#127XT), a hunter blade (#115XT), along with four different Piranta blades (#60A, #70A, #22XT and #22), all designed to turn your favorite wild game into a succulent meal.
Providing a total of seventeen blades in seven different styles, you might call the Havalon Hydra a Swiss Army Knife for the meat-lover.
The foundation of the Havalon Hydra offers an ergonomic design manufactured from aluminum alloy. Measuring 5-7/8” long the Hydra’s handle offers superior grip and comfort—ideal when spending long sessions on the cutting board.
Havalon Hydra Review
An additional feature provided by the Havalon Hydra is the Piranta safety lock. Locking the Piranta blade into a closed and fixed position, this feature provides both protection and peace of mind.
Obviously the Havalon Hydra will be traveling with us this fall. Gone are the days of packing several knives when on an out-of-town hunting trip. Now all we have to do is slip the Hydra’s handy carrying case into our travel pack and we’re good to go.
Havalon Hydra Knife Case

The Hydra And Real Life

Digging into our stash of highly prized venison backstrap, we sought to christen the Hydra with a delectable cut of venison. We were not disappointed. The Hydra willingly and adequately filleted and cut just as we expected. The Hydra blades were razor sharp and fastened solidly to the handle. Changing blades was simple and the additional blades store needly in the Hydra’s Cordura case.
This knife has definitely found a place at the top of our ‘favorite gear’ list.
Havalon Hydra Saw Knife


For those who find the thought of a double-blade knife a discomfort, let me offer a little logic. If you don’t like the thought of two blades, with one razor sharp blade under your hand, just remove it. You don’t ‘have’ to use the Hydra with two blades.
You can count on this little jewel doing plenty of work for our family and I fully expect the Hydra to make light work of venison steaks this fall.
For more information on the Havalon Hydra check out Havalon Knives.
Havalon Hydra Set

Early Season Bowhunting Tips

10 Early Season Bowhunting Mistakes

With the opening day of bow season quickly approaching everyone is confident that he/she will fill their tag on an early season buck. Sure, some will. However, if your game plan includes the following mistakes—you won’t.
The opening days/weeks of deer season revolve around one thing—food. And, for the most part, your best chances of success will occur in the late evening hours just before sunset. Hitting your treestand in the pre-dawn darkness with the zeal of a middle school boy attending his first homecoming dance will only cause more harm than good.
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Early season hunts are a great way to get a head start on filling your freezer.

Getting Up Early

You see, no matter how early you arrive in the woods you’re likely going to bump the very deer you are hunting right off of the food source. This is especially true if you are hunting food plots or other agricultural food sources. Still, even big-woods bowhunters will have a tough time getting to the stand undetected.
Getting to the stand in the morning unnoticed can be done if you know the whereabouts of the bedding area and can come in from the back side and set up on a transition route. Even then you run the risk of bumping deer. Your best bet is to wait until midday and sneak in close to the groceries and plan an evening hunt.

Slacking On Your Scent Control

Early season means hot, humid and sticky hunting conditions. The result is an abundance of sweat. Sweat equals odor. Odor will kill your odds of filling a whitetail tag no matter what phase of the season you’re in. However, it’s more easily manufactured during the early season.
It’s no secret that scent control should be a staple of your overall hunting routine but in the early season it is perhaps more important than any other time. This is simply because of the high temperatures and the limited amount of clothing that you are wearing.
Early Season Bowhunting tactics

Choose your scent control system wisely; especially during the hot conditions you’ll face during the early season.

In other words, you’re going to sweat, a lot, and you’re not going to be able to hide it under 5 layers of clothing like you would during the cold conditions of the rut. Also, bucks won’t be running around in a wonder lust condition throwing caution to the wind in early/late September. Instead, they will be using the wind to the utmost as they make their way from bedding areas to food sources. Therefore, if you’re going to slack on your scent control (not that you ever should) the early season isn’t exactly the best time.

You Shot All Summer From The Ground

Unless you plan to hunt from a ground blind on opening day then practicing for weeks standing flat footed in the back yard can be counterproductive. In fact, doing so could cost you the buck of your dreams. Even worse, you could end up wounding an animal and never finding it. How?
You see, shooting from an elevated position presents all sorts of mechanical differences than what is required when shooting from the ground. For instance, bending at the waste in order to keep the angle between the eye and the peep sight consistent is crucial to making a killing shot from a treestand.
Early Season bowhunting mistakes

Hitting the 3D range with your buddies is a better alternative than simply standing in the backyard shooting arrow after mundane arrow into a blank backdrop.

In addition, arrow impact and shot angles change dramatically when shooting from above an animal as opposed to eye level. Only through “situational” practice, shooting from an elevated positions, can you see firsthand which angles present the biggest problems and which will lead to a short blood trail.

You Spent Too Little Time Scouting

Perhaps the best time to pattern a big buck is in the weeks leading up to opening day. Food dominates the thoughts of a deer at this time and they pretty much stick to the same routine unless an outside variable like scouting pressure or changes in food availability change that.
Early Season Bowhunting

Spending time in the pool is great but summer should also be spent figuring out where the deer are feeding and bedding and when they are doing it.

Therefore if you’re going to scout then do it from a distance with quality optics. That will help you keep the element of surprise while still maintaining tabs on the comings and goings of the deer herd. If you hunt in a mountainous settings then trail cameras can be a good scouting tool. Just be sure to check them during the late morning hours when your odds of bumping into deer are the lowest.

You Don’t Know The Favored Food Source

Speaking of food sources it shouldn’t come as a surprise that if you don’t know the preferred food source of the deer then you probably aren’t going to be able to formulate a solid early season game plan.
It is important to stay one step ahead of the deer by understanding which food sources will be available not only when the season opens but in the weeks that follow too. This applies to those hunting over food plots as well as the hardwoods.
Bowhunting Early Season

Attractants are a good alternative to bringing bucks in close when natural food sources are scarce or hard to find.

Those hunting hardwoods need to know the availability of mast crops as well as which ridges hold oaks that are actually dropping them. Also, the bounty of food plots can change depending on how hard they’ve been hit during the preseason and how the weather has affected their overall growth.
The bottom line…know your food sources and their conditions before the season starts not after.

You Dismissed The Attraction Of Water

Unless you’re hunting in areas that harbor creeks, streams or ponds, you really should consider the importance of a water source. Dry, humid conditions will certainly drive deer to any nearby watering holes. Setting up somewhere nearby can certainly be just as deadly as hunting over a food source given the right circumstances.

No Exit Strategy

Hunting near food in the early season means you are going to get caught in your stand while deer are feeding nearby. How are you going to handle this situation?
One option would be to have a landowner or friend drive up (if your stand is on a field edge) and push the deer off of the food source once the sun goes down. This will take the attention off of you and place it on the unexpected intruder.
Another option would be to use a predator call to push the deer away. A little can go a long way so start off softly and if the situation demands it you can get a little more aggressive with your calling in order to achieve the results you want.

Checking Your Trail Camera Too Often

Trail cameras are a double edged sword. On one side they are an awesome scouting tool. On the other they can lead to tipping off the very buck you are chasing. However, that is usually the result of checking the camera too often in the weeks leading up to opening day.
If you know a good buck is using the area then hang a camera and check it once or twice and forget about it until you actually move in to hunt. Checking the camera might reveal the buck isn’t using the area any more but that is much better than pushing him out of the area because you bumped him going in and out to pull camera cards.
10 Early Season Bowhunting

Scouting cameras are only helpful if their use doesn’t disturb the deer you are hunting.

Personally, I would rather adjust my stand sight simply because a buck is no longer there than have to do so because I spooked him. That is the surest way to never see him again. If you live in an area with good cellular service then one of the wireless scouting cameras may be just what you are looking for. If not, limit your trips in and out to view the images.

You Left Your Old Nocks On Your Arrows

This might sound petty but think about the beating your arrow’s nocks have taken over the course of a summer of hard shooting. That sort of beating will certainly take its toll not only your equipment but your shooting as well.
Certainly some of those ‘flyers’ you experienced on the target range can be attributed to worn out knocks. The last thing you want is to pull a ‘rogue’ arrow from your quiver when it’s time to make a shot in the field. Thus, simply buying a new set of nocks and installing them a week or so before the opener will tighten up your groups and boost your shooting confidence and we all know that a confident shooter is a deadly one.

You Didn’t Test Your Broadheads

Why go through all of the above steps and then miss your shot because your broadheads didn’t fly like your field points? The point is you shouldn’t.
And while poor broadhead flight can be attributed to many different things (one being the failure to Walk-Back tune your arrow rest) you’re never going to know your broadheads aren’t flying well until you shoot them. That shouldn’t be the first arrow you loose during the season.
Early Season Bowhunting Preparation

Walk back tuning is a great way to improve broadhead performance.

Make it a point to test shoot your broadheads (fixed or mechanical) before the season starts to ensure they are flying properly. If not, you could run the risk of blowing your one and only chance at the buck of your dreams.


The early season can be a great time to simply put some fresh venison in the freezer or arrow the buck of your dreams. It can also be a nightmare. The choice is up to you which scenario has the likelihood of playing out.

Preseason Giveaway

The Bowhunter’s Pre-Season Giveaway

Knowing how much quality hunting gear means to the bowhunter, we’ve decided to offer one lucky guy, or gal, a chance to begin this year’s hunting season with some brand new hunting gear. Starting today and running through September 1st, you’ll have a chance to win all (yes, all) the hunting gear featured in this giveaway.
This giveaway includes products from Vortex Optics, Costa Sunglasses, Lone Wolf Treestands, Badlands Packs, Bushnell, Stic-n-Pic, Havalon Knives, Hunter Safety System, Duel Game Calls, Scott Archery, DeerLab, and more. Here’s how The Bowhunter’s Pre-Season Giveaway will work:
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Simply SIGN UP below, and provide us with your name and email. It’s that simple. There’s no Facebook pages to like, no Tweets to retweet or blood to donate. All we want to do this year is make some bowhunter very happy! (See details below.)
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Details: You must be 18 years of age and live in the United States to enter this giveaway. By entering this giveaway you are agreeing to receive email updates from 365 Whitetail. The information you provide will be also be shared with the individual companies that have provided products for this giveaway. For detailed information on the individual products included in this giveaway, please see below.

Vortex Optics – Diamondback 8×32 Roof Prism Binocular

The Vortex Diamondback 8×32 binocular provides superior quality in a compact, bowhunter friendly package. Offering multicoated lenses, phase-corrected prisms, and waterproof/fogproof contruction, these binoculars will have you seeing like you’re supposed to. While there are several optics companies making quality optics, few know hunting like the team at Vortex. Vortex Optics are designed by hunters for hunters and not only that, Vortex knows the outdoors is not a friend of glass. Therefore they offer a VIP Warranty with every purchase. What’s a VIP Warranty? Check this out: Vortex VIP Warranty
Vortex Diamondback 8x32

Primos Trail Camera – Proof Cam 01

The all-new Primos Proof Cam 01 trail camera represents the dawning of a new era for trail camera users. In order to move forward Primos has gone back to the basics—back to what hunters want. The Proof Cam 01 offers 10 Mega Pixels, 36–850nM low glow LED’s, 70ft night range, 0.7 second trigger speed, and features photo, HD video and HD time lapse. The all-new Proof Cam 01 operates on 8 AA batteries, provides a battery life of 9-months, and comes with 1 year warranty.
Primos Proof Cam 01

Lone Wolf Treestands – Alpha Tech F1

When it comes to treestands, there’s no question Lone Wolf Treestands ranks at the top. Each treestand is made and assembled in the United States by a team that understands both safety and stealth. The Lone Wolf Alpha Tech F1 delivers the necessary function every treestand hunter demands—quiet and comfortable. Constructed of 100% aluminum and weighing in at only 13.6 pounds, the Alpha Tech F1 offers unparalleled stability. The Alpha Tech F1 also offers a roomy 30″ x 19-1/2″ platform, an extra thick contoured foam set pad and includes a 6-point safety harness that meets industry standards.
Lone Wolf Alpha Tech F1

Slick Trick – 100gr Standard / 4 Blade Broadheads

If you’re looking for a broadhead with versatility at its core—look no further. With perfect geometry for extreme penetration and incredible flight, the Slick Trick Standard 100gr broadhead cuts a devastating four-blade hole with extraordinary performance. This 1” four-blade design out cuts seemingly larger 1 1/8” three-blade broadhead designs by 18%, resulting in larger holes, maximum hemorrhaging and much shorter blood trails. Eight broadheads included in this giveaway.
Slick Trick 100 Standard

Costa Sunglasses – Gift Certificate (Your Choice)

Built on the premise that clarity and durability can co-exist, Costa sunglasses offer dedicated sportsmen optimum clarity and unrivaled quality. Worthy of whatever thrill you pursue, Costa’s are designed to be just as hardcore as your adventure. Whether you consider yourself an avid angler or hunting enthusiast, Costa designed eyewear will stand up to your playground.
Included in this giveaway is a gift certificate for one pair of the Costa sunglasses in the style of your choice.
Costa Sunglasses

Badlands Silent Series – Reaper Pack

Known for their unconditional lifetime warranty and quality hunting packs, the Badlands brand is no stranger to the bowhunter. The all-new Badlands Silent Series packs are designed, crafted and named for those who pursue their quarry with stealth—and from a treestand. The 1800 cubit inch Reaper offers an ingenious easy-open main compartment that can be operated with one hand and quickly sealed shut with a flip of the wrist. This pack is constructed of a proprietary fabric developed by Badlands called Mutex™, which is guaranteed to stay soft and quiet in even the most extreme hunting conditions. Revolutionary Mutex™ is then backed with a sound-absorbing, acoustical foam, all but muting any internal sound caused by your gear. As with all Badlands Silent Series Packs, there are also no buckles or zippers to give you away when silence matters most.
Badlands Reaper Pack

Havalon Knives – Piranta-Stag Hunting/Skinning Knife

While we’ve been fans of the original Havalon Piranta for some time, the new Piranta-Stag features a stronger, thicker 60A blade and a larger handle. Literally these knives are razor sharp, so once you start using a Piranta-Stag, you’ll never use anything else.
Giveaway includes the Piranta-Stag, 6 additional stainless steel #60A blades and a nylon holster. 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed. Havalon products are beyond good, they’re simply amazing.
Havalon Piranta Stag

Scott Archery – Shark Caliper Release

Scott releases are known for their quality, which is why the Scott Shark release has become a best seller among bowhunters. This duel-caliper release provides even distribution of friction resulting in enhanced accuracy. For the predator who prefers a caliper release, you can’t go wrong with a Shark. This giveaway includes a Scott Shark in Realtree AP, with a buckle style strap.

Hunter Safety System – HSS-UltraLite Flex Harness

The HSS-UltraLite Flex is the lightest, most flexible harness to hit the market. The HSS-UltraLite Flex features a series of individual, padded hexagons that provide a comfortable, snug fit and unprecedented flexibility. New HSS 1.25” upper-body webbing, tether and waist buckle continues to provide the strength you expect from HSS without the added weight and bulk.
The HSS Flex incorporates individual, padded hexagons to provide comfort and maximum flexibility, a patented HSS design that eliminates dangerous dangling straps
 and weave-through buckles, and a secure, mesh cell phone pocket for your convenience.

Drake’s Adventures – Trick or Treat

Drake’s Adventures book series will captivate your kids page after page. And there’s no better way to introduce youngsters to the outdoors than with high-quality sounds coupled with adventure. Trick or Treat captures the exciting moments Drake and his father spend hunting a buck named ‘Spider.’ “Feel the hair rise as a smaller buck turns tail and bounds away, just to have the best buck on their farm come in with his hair bristled and ready for battle.”
Drakes Adventures Trick Treat

Deer Lab – 1 Year Subscription

Managing Trail Camera photos has never been easier. Now with DeerLab’s Trail Camera Software you can conveniently keep track of not only photos, but individual bucks as well. Plus this unique software automatically taps into your closest weather station and coordinates it with your photo’s time stamp. This means you can track what wind, temperature, or barometric pressure your hit list buck is moving to. For information on additional features visit DeerLab.

Bass & Bucks – $50 Gift Card / Online Store

Stocking over 800 new and used bows, Bass & Bucks is Indiana’s premier archery retailer. Included in this giveaway is a $50 gift card to be used on Bass & Bucks’ new on-line store. From Elite Archery, Scott, Black Eagle and a host of other quality brands, here’s your chance to make your gear list complete. Looking for a new bow, check out Bass & Bucks.
bass and bucks

Duel Game Calls – Stretchback Grunt Call

Duel Game Calls is not just another call maker. Setting themselves apart by using duel chamber technology, Duel Game Calls produces some of the most realistic calls on the market. Watch Weston Clark demo the call here.
Duel Stretchback Grunt Call

Stic-n-Pic – Mini Ground Mount

Stic-n-pic trail camera mounts are some of the most innovative mounts on the market today. Just released this year is their new Mini Ground Mount. The mini mount comes in a small convenient package along with offering all the advantages we have come to expect from Stic-n-Pic.
Stick n pic mini ground mount
Thank you for participating in The Pre-Season Bowhunter’s Giveaway. Hopefully, you’ll be the winner!

Huntlete Bowhunting

Becoming A Huntlete: “Where do I begin?”

With all of the buzz centered around incorporating fitness into bowhunting and target archery, its not hard to get motivated and want to take part in what seems to be a revolution in the industry.
Undoubtedly, this increase in fitness awareness is playing a pivotal role in the lives of many bowhunters. The testimonies of how ‘being in shape’ enabled a backcountry bowhunter to arrow his trophy are increasing on a regular basis.
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For those whose occupation may demand physical activity, the discipline of staying in shape may be simply part of their day-to-day activities, but for others, it doesn’t come as easy. Furthermore, understanding the process of exercise and nutrition can seem daunting—even overwhelming.
Growing up as an athlete, I quickly noticed the benefits of being in shape during my hunts. Hunting from the ground, unlike most folks in Indiana who hunt from a treestand, meant spending a lot of time walking and covering the ‘hills and hollers’ looking for ‘The One,’ and being in good condition made the effort all that much easier.
Bowhunting athlete
After high school I went on to earn a degree in Exercise Science, which provided me the opportunity to help others by designing specific training programs and nutrition advice in order to help them achieve their fitness goals.
While I have several theories on why so many people become (and stay) out of shape, I’m going to break it down into three main points. In each of these I’ll discuss the issue and the steps to take to correct it.

If you can begin to change your behavior, you can change your LIFESTYLE.


Food Is Fuel

From a very young age American’s as a whole tend to use food as a reward system to reinforce positive behavior. This is partly where our sugar dependency, addiction and cravings come from. After years and years of giving into sweets, it becomes harder and harder to do without them, or so we think.
So how can we overcome this?
Huntlete Zach Ballif
First: we develop a schedule for when we eat our meals and avoid eating out of boredom or giving into our cravings. We use alternative foods like fruits, and peanut butter to kill those cravings for something sweet.
Over the last 50-years our ‘normal’ portions of food, at home and in restaurants, has increased drastically—and we’ve always been taught to, “clean our plates,” right? Large portions lead to overeating, which can leave us feeling sluggish and sometimes miserable after a meal.
How do we combat this?
When planning our meals for the day, we need to adhere to a plan that consists of smaller and more frequent meals throughout the day. We eat when we’re hungry and only until we’re no longer hungry. This keeps us feeling lighter and more energetic, which in turn allows us to be more active throughout the day.

No Excuses

Discipline—a word some may not be too fond of—but necessary to keep us on track, help us chase our goals and force us to ignore all the excuses we come up with (to skip out on a day here and there) or give in to our cravings for sugar. Even the top athletes in the world have days where they are tired, sore, not feeling up to the task of getting in a solid workout. But these athletes get in there and grind anyway because they know they’ll be better for it tomorrow.
Becoming a huntlete
The best are the best because they work while others sleep (don’t take that to mean that sleep isn’t important—we’ll discuss that at a later date). The bottom line is, if you stick to your plan, you will achieve your goals. After all, cheating never accomplished anything.

In It For the Long Haul

The fact of the matter is the majority of folks who are on-again, off-again dieters gain back more weight than they lost when they fall off of a diet. Why? In part it’s due to them reaching their short-term goal, after which they become complacent, and fall back on their old habits. When you begin to embrace fitness, you have to commit fully to the lifestyle.
Realizing everything is long-term and you’re improving not only your hunting and archery, but also your overall quality of life will keep you motivated. And depending on the bad habits you’ve kicked, you could be adding years to your life!
The best way to avoid complacency and the risk of ‘falling off of the wagon’ is to ALWAYS have a new goal after reaching an old one. Goal setting keeps you honest and always striving for something, helps to avoid boredom in the gym, and rids you of the feeling that you’re, “Just going through the motions.”
Continually seek motivation through social media fitness pages, the pages of other bow hunters who are also fitness junkies (there are plenty of us out there), or try finding a partner to train with. A training partner will keep you accountable and allow you to push each other throughout your workouts.
This simple breakdown should give you a few important tools to combat bad behavioral habits that have developed over the years and show you how to take your first steps toward becoming the Huntlete that you dream of becoming. After all, there’s only one way to get the edge on the competition in this game and that is to train harder, go farther, and hunt longer.
For more information on how you can become a ‘Huntlete’ feel free to check out Huntlete Fitness, where I offer online training programs, articles and nutritional advice specific to what each individual is looking for.

Under Armour Fat Tire Review

Under Armour Fat Tire GTX Trail Running Shoe

The thing about running shoes is I’ve never really found a pair that had it all. Sure, there have been some that offered just the right amount of stability but left a lot to be desired in comfort. Some were comfortable but didn’t hold up to the long hours of rigorous workouts. And then some were just disappointing all around.
However, the radical, outside the box, Under Armour Fat Tire GTX Trail Running Shoe is something much different. In my opinion, it might just be the perfect running shoe—at least for me.
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Nothing on the market today looks like the Under Armour Fat Tire shoe. Likewise, I think you will be hard pressed to find anything that performs like it either.

The Foundation

If you’re going to build something then nothing is more critical than getting the foundation right. It only takes a glance to see that the Under Armour Fat Tire was built with a unique (and highly effective) foundation.
Drawing its inspiration from the highly popular Fat Tire mountain bikes, the GTX is constructed of a Michelin (yes, like the tire) Wild Gripper outsole rubber compound that cradles your feet in nearly 2-inches of unmatched, impact absorbing comfort! And, while the sole has a unique, slightly curved shape, it doesn’t hinder walking or running. Instead, it adds to the already soothing feel of the shoe.
Under Armour Fat Tire GTX Trail Running Shoe

The thick sole of the Under Armour Fat Tire might have a different look to it but only after trying it out for yourself will you truly appreciate everything it does.

Running proves these points in spades as the composite textile and foam construction found on the inside of the Under Armour Fat Tire absorbs impacts with the road, rocks, treadmill—you name it. And, when the shoe does meet an obstacle you can hardly notice due to the Michelin material and the amount used. In addition, the unique traction lugs on the bottom of the Fat Tire offer unmatched cross-slope grip with performance over all types of terrain.
Under Armour Fat Tire

The grip of the Under Armour Fat Tire is superb for just about any conditions you may find yourself running in.

Performance On the Outside

The great features of the Under Armour Fat Tire GTX don’t stop at the sole. On the outside users will be pleased with the solid construction and durability that Under Armour garments are known for world wide. This includes the 100% waterproof Gore-Tex membrane that provides a barrier between your foot and the elements. This feature also allows for air flow to keep your feet cool and comfortable yet dry.
Under Armour Fat Tire GTX Shoe

The new Under Armour exclusive Ridge Reaper camo is highly attractive and adorns the outside of the GTX Fat Tire model.

Lace It Up

Adding to the performance list of this shoe is the BOA Closure System. With this you can literally tighten the shoe to your exact comfort/performance specifications in a matter of seconds. No old-fashioned laces to contend with. Simply push the BOA dial in and turn clockwise to tighten. To loosen, pull the dial out and the steel lace, nylon guides release themselves from the spool.
This feature might be one of my favorites simply because it adds a custom ‘dialed-in’ fit to the shoe depending on the situation at hand. Sometimes I like my shoes tight when I’m hitting the trail pretty hard. Other times, when I’m just kicking around, I like them loose; but not too loose. The BOA system gives me the option to meet both circumstances effortlessly.
Under Armour Fat Tire Running Shoe

The BOA Closure System eliminates the hassle of stretch and weight found in ordinary lacing systems and is guaranteed for the life of the product.

The Scent That Kills

Under Armour fans are familiar with the great lengths the company has made to keep hunters undetected in the field. The Under Armour Fat Tire follows this same mind set with the incorporation of Cupron on the inside of the shoe. What is Cupron? It is an anti-bacterial, copper infused sock liner that kills 99.9% of athletes foot fungus after 12 hours of contact.
And, while this product is marketed as a running shoe I can see it being used in certain hunting situations. With the addition of Cupron Technology the Fat Tire provides high performance during training but also won’t contribute to game-spooking odors (should you take it afield) the way ordinary running shoes can or will.

When The Rubber Meets The Road

So how does the Under Armour Fat Tire perform? Flawlessly! I’ve honestly tried to find something about this shoe that I dislike but I can’t. If I wanted to be picky I guess I could point out that if the BOA Closure System were to fail it would take more than a shoe string to fix. However, as I mentioned it does have a lifetime warranty so it’s really no concern to me.
Nevertheless, the first time I slipped these shoes on my feet I knew they were unique and special. As a former athlete in high school and college my body (particularly my knees) doesn’t always agree with the constant pounding that goes with trail running or just running in general.
Under Armour Fat Tire GTX Shoe Review

Do yourself a favor and try to find a flaw with the new Under Armour Fat Tire.

The Under Armour Fat Tire is honestly the most comfortable running shoe I’ve ever used, simply because it creates such a fine cushion between my feet and the road. This translates to less shock on my knee joints and even my back. Both of which allow me to train harder for hunting season or just overall better health.

Moving Forward

One change I would like to see made to this shoe is the introduction of a slightly more aggressive tread for really rugged terrain. Why? Well, if I could take the overall feel of this running shoe and incorporate it into an all-out hunting boot—look out. That would really be something special.
However, the UA Fat Tire GTX Trail Running Shoe is already special in so many ways. The only thing missing—is your foot.

funnels and pinch points

Create Your Own Funnels And Pinch Points

Bill Winke says it can take up to three years to figure out the exact tree to hang a stand in when bowhunting a specific location. Most bowhunters know that placing a treestand fifty-yards in one direction or another can make all the difference between having a close encounter and putting meat in the freezer.
But what if the prevailing wind direction, terrain, lack of trees or some other situation, prohibit you from having an ideal stand location—then what? In that case you can build a man made funnel or pinch point, which will result in the deer being forced to relocate, rather than you having to.
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Last year we gained permission to hunt a particular piece of property that holds an abundance of whitetail. Since permission was granted after bow season had started, we restricted our scouting in order to limit the overall pressure on the herd. This also meant stand placement was based solely upon our knowledge of whitetail behavior, visible sign around field edges and terrain features.
As expected, the strategy worked fairly well but was not ideal. After spending a considerable amount of time scouting the property this spring, we are making the necessary adjustments. One of those is to funnel the deer within bow range by creating funnels and pinch points out of deadfall and natural vegetation.

Too Far. Too Close.

While attempting to find the perfect tree in which to hang a treestand, there have been numerous times when I’ve thought, “If only there were a tree, with plenty of cover, right here.” Unfortunately, Mother Nature isn’t interested in where I place my treestand when it plants its seedlings.
Ideally I prefer to hang my stand 20-25 yards from a travel corridor. While some might prefer closer distances than 20-25 yards, I’ve found a 20-25 yard shot provides an ethical yardage along with a security cushion that blankets movement on the part of the hunter and aids in masking any noise he or she might make.
There have also been times when my setup left me wishing I were closer to the majority of deer movement. I may have had a perfect tree, which provided plenty of cover, but I was not in the best possible location for killing a deer with a bow.
These ideal stand sites aren’t always available, but you can make a location work for you by changing ‘where’ the deer travel. In the photo above you can see how deer travel past one of our stands and into a small crop field. Originally, because of the natural deadfall and having multiple entry points into the food source, deer would travel outside our shooting lanes in an attempt to avoid logs and other debris.
By removing fallen logs and other deadfall to open up a clear path of travel and by using that same debris and other natural vegetation we have created barriers to block off other entry points into the field. While there is a significant amount of sweat equity in cutting trees and moving brush, the hard work has enabled us to ‘funnel’ and ‘pinch’ deer into our shooting lanes.
bowhunting funnels and pinch points

Right Location. Wrong Tree.

Another scenario for which you may want to create your own funnel or pinch point is when you have located an ideal travel route but cannot locate an ideal tree.
Because I enjoy hunting during the late season, when natural cover is sparse, I prefer a to hang my late season stands in a tree that offers plenty of cover. This will normally be a tree with large limbs under and/or above my stand to help break up my silhouette. Unfortunately, where deer travel and where the ideal tree decided to grow may not intersect.
By barricading the current travel route and creating a new one that forces deer to travel closer to the ‘ideal’ tree, the hunter can have the best of both worlds, especially if you’re planning on hunting during the late season.

Creating Barricades

There seems to be no shortage of creative bowhunters who have used old snow fence, logs, brush, or hinge cut trees in order to create funnels or pinch points. These bowhunters repeatedly attribute their hunting success to these man-made blockades. The variety of items used to create obstructions would also suggest there is no right or wrong item to use when creating man made funnels or pinch points.
The caveat when creating your own funnels and pinch points is to make sure your work is done early enough in the season for deer to get accustomed to the new travel route and insure all human scent has dissipated from the area well before season gets here.
While ideally it’d be nice if every stand site made it easy to sneak in and hang a stand with minimal disruption of the natural vegetation and a whitetail’s travel route—unfortunately the word ‘ideal’ isn’t always in Mother Nature’s vocabulary.