December 1, 2017,
Hunt #42, P.M.
The sun set at 4:45 on
my last archery hunt of 2017 prior to
the gun season. There were a few deer
out in the field but not many. No does
walked by. Checked six cameras. Very
limited buck movement the last week and
it was only two of the regulars that
call that farm home. Crazy how quiet it
can get when the rut is over. Saw a
truck on a ridge in the distance. I
assume that was a gun hunter glassing
for the the next day. Heard a fair
amount of gun shots around sunset. Don't
know if they were cheating or if they
were sighting in their gun. Suspicious.
November 26, 2017,
Hunt #41, P.M.
Setup in one of my
ladder stands. It was near a couple of
cameras that had not been checked in a
while. Wind was out of the south. Had a
doe way down in the bottom of the canyon
snort at me for a good 45 minutes. She
was at least 200 yards away. Also had a
turkey at about 150 yards. The darn
turkey putted for a good 20 minutes.
It's interesting that deer know the
difference between a happy cluck and an
alarm putt. A deer immediately goes from
content to full attention when they hear
that sound. "Man is in the
woods!" Yes I was and you guys saw
me and smelled me. No does presented a
Captured some good
smart phone video of a very nice 2-year
November 25, 2017,
Hunt #40, P.M.
Sat the stand I shot
the gross 160 but looking for a doe this
time. No go. Too far out plus the
majority of the deer are migrating to a
better food source it appears. Will
probably need to change to a different
game plan. Saw a few bucks feeding but
nothing remotely close to a shooter. The
cameras are capturing a few decent ones
yet but nothing really big. The larger
of the the bucks seem to be single. Had
a few pictures of bucks standing in
scrapes. With this good weather, I've
been seeing more people out and about.
Hoping the pheasant hunting and other
outdoor activities send a bonus buck on
to the farm and the weather holds for
access late season. Until then will
focus on bald deer and continue the
mental inventory of the antlered
November 19, 2017,
Hunt #39, P.M.
Doe hunt. Setup on the
ground at a lower elevation than my shot
would be. Only good location. First deer
that went by at 24 yards had no clue I
was there. Button buck. They rarely do
when I am lower in elevation. Had some
tall grass in front of me also. Next
thing I saw was a decent rack.
Videotaped a nice 4x4 on the same path
as the first button buck. One of my
Browning cameras captured some good
photos. As he got further past me I saw
the doe he was following. She must have
been over the knoll from me. Cool
encounter. Last deer was a doe. She
busted me on her way out. I was way too
fidgety by that time. Hunt was about
over. I was rubber necking like crazy
looking around me.
November 18, 2017,
Hunt #38, P.M.
Pulled some cameras
late morning. Headed back to the
cornfield to hopefully throw an arrow at
a doe. Too windy to be on edge. Sat out
of the wind. Saw three bucks and a flock
of turkeys and I do have a turkey tag.
November 17, 2017,
Hunt #37, P.M.
Back to my hideout on
a doe mission. Had two pass by at 40
yards on my right. Too quiet for me to
make the movements I needed to. Needed
to turn 180 degrees to shoot. Hoping to
get a shot soon to see how the Slick
Trick Standard 125 grain broadhead
November 17, 2017,
Hunt #36, A.M.
Sat in the tree on a
doe mission. Had two pass by about 60 to
70 yards east. That was it for me. Slow
morning. Checked some camera cards on a
November 15, 2017,
Hunt #35, P.M.
Regrouped in the truck
while I ate my sandwich. Knew where I
wanted to be but did not want to sit on
a hill with a 20 mph northwest wind for
3 hours. I assumed the deer would move
late with the heavy wind and they stayed
true to form. Movement really didn't
pickup until the last 45 minutes. Deer
came to fields and fed deliberately
including a few subordinate bucks.
Sunset arrived and after 3 hours sitting
in the relentless wind I had had enough.
My Windshear clothing can only keep me
warm so long. It was after sunset and
most of the deer that were feeding had
ventured on over the hill out of the
wind and out of my sight. A few
straggling bald deer came out and hit
the field behind me. I turned around and
made one last check and saw a buck. I
was pretty sure it was one of my target
bucks. Where he came from I do not know.
He was scent checking
each and every doe in the field. I hit
my grunt tube to hopefully convince him
another buck was around. After
deliberately scent checking each doe he
headed for my grunt. I glassed him one
more time to make sure he was the one on
the list. It was him. Nice frame. Small
body. Not busted up. That's a miracle
this time of year. He was coming and I
was going to have a shot if I chose to.
Not too much earlier I had practice drew
on a couple of does and a small buck.
And settled the pin during each practice
draw. My mind was in the right place. He
was going to offer me a 20 yard shot.
The Hoyt one pin slider was dialed to
20. I drew and settled the pin. Center
mass. Behind the leg (one of the few
times I remember doing that). My thumb tripped
the trigger on the STAN SX3. Thwaack!
Arrow went clear through and the blue
Nocturnal nock stuck in the ground. The deer bolted but did not act
extremely hurt. What just happened? Was
it a gut shot? He ran off about 40 yards
but did not seem to be hurt. Then his
legs got wobbly and I assumed the hunt
was over. Finally! He tipped over. I
gave him 20 minutes and reflected on the
blue nock sticking in the grass. All my
kinetic energy and momentum research had
paid off. The heavy arrow tipped with
the QAD Exodus had worked like
I hoped. All the practice had paid off.
All the effort to get the mind right at
the moment of truth had paid off. Not
the biggest bull in the woods but the
process, the work, the strategizing had
all paid off. There was a buck that
needed loaded in the truck. Thanks to
Ken and John for helping with the field
dressing and truck loading and thanks to
Mike for the offer of assistance. That
means a lot to this guy. Ever in debt to
these great friends.
Whitetail hunting in
Iowa is truthfully an addiction for me and watching Mother Nature do her
whitetail rut thing in November is my
annual therapy. The Iowa deer woods is
November 15, 2017,
Hunt #34, A.M.
Headed after the old
4x4 again. Location should have been
good but wind was swirling badly. I was
out of the strong northwest wind and
knew the deer would be too. Just too low
in the valley. Saw my target buck again
but he and the other deer knew I was
there. Dang it! Just cannot hunt this
area so far down the hill. Frustrating.
So close but no chance with the swirling
winds. Checked a couple of cameras and
pulled one. No shooters on any cards.
November 14, 2017,
Hunt #33, P.M.
Sat on the field edge
tonight. Windy! Deer were out fairly
early but not many. Then a dandy 5x5
followed a doe into the field. Not a
shooter but darn close. I checked behind
me and here came another one. Bigger
yet. He saw the deer in the field and
was running to the action. He was 50
yards upwind. I grunted. I grunted. I
grunted. He kept going. Not even a
slight look my direction. More deer
eventually headed for the field but no
shooters. A good hunt again but not
quite close enough.
My release finger is
itchy. Darn itchy. Need to stay
November 14, 2017,
Hunt #32, A.M.
This morning started
extremely slow. Let me say that again.
Extremely slow. It picked up when a
small racked three year old came through
and shortly behind him came a two year
old. Things slowed down again and it was
calm so I decided to rattle. I rattled
in two fawns. Good job GP. You must
really sound realistic. I waited a while
and rattled again. This time a two year
old responded to the call. He heard
something up on the hill in the other
direction which sounded like a buck
grunting and chasing a doe. He turned,
let out a grunt, and went running after
the ruckus. The rest of the morning was
I walked a couple of
hundred yards to check a camera that one
of my target bucks has been going by on
a regular basis. Sure as shinola he had
been by the camera twice in the last
couple of days and during the midday on
one occurrence so I decided to lean
against a tree and wait for an hour or
two just to see if he showed. I was
jacking around looking at my phone and
looked back in the timber and there he
is looking at me. Busted. Dang it! High
noon! He was far enough away that he
wasn't sure. He stood motionless staring
a laser beam right through me. I finally
saw the doe. She had not seen me. So in
imperceptible movements, I became one
with the tree. Ha! That's hard for a big
guy to do. The doe kept feeding and he
stayed vigilant. She fed away, then
turned and started to come my direction.
This might actually happen. She kept
coming. He was about 40 yards behind her
like a soldier at attention. She kept
coming. Bow is in my hand. Dang. I can't
believe this is happening. Then she made
a slow turn away, feeding all the while
and started heading away. This is not
going to happen and it didn't. Great
November 13, 2017,
Hunt #31, P.M.
Was in the stand
early. Saw a couple of 120 class chasing
does and fawns and the lopsided 4x4
showed up tending a doe at about 5. He's
definitely four or five and should
probably be shot but just don't want to
put my tag on him at this point.
Otherwise that was it. Slow in this
spot. This spot has not produced for
about 3 weeks now. Something has
changed. Most likely the quality of
November 13, 2017,
Hunt #30, A.M.
New spot. Perfect for
south wind. Had three 130s go by. Was
peaking around my tree and had the first
buck staring right at me at about 30
yards. He let me off the hook and
continued on his way and passed by at 20
yards. Cool encounter. Two other bucks
were a little further away and checked a
scrape and headed over the hill.
November 12, 2017,
Hunt #29, P.M.
Really wanted to head
to the same area as the morning but I
knew better because on this farm, when
the wind dies down to calm or near calm,
the deer always head for the fields.
Deep timber hunting is not very good. I
decided to hunt one of my stands near a
field edge. This is one of those nights
that bowhunters dream about. Not too hot
and not too cold. Little to no wind.
Deer were hitting the field early. I had
some bald deer saunter by right in my sweet spot
and on the upwind side for a change.
Just like they are supposed to do. Bad
thing about no wind nights is it is
difficult to move and get the shot off.
Every sound just seems louder. The field
was alive with deer. It was
I could hear something
that sounded like a dog yipping. It
started to get closer. Deer were on
alert and looking to the west. Here came
a piece of crap little ankle clamp...no
owner attached by the way and he totally
cleared the field. Little bastard! One
mulligan! That's it! Came all the way
east and all the back west. Yipping all
the way! Well over 400 yards. Maybe 600?
At quitting time deer
started to filter out again and I had a
dandy buck following a small bodied doe
right by my stand. 20 yards. This deer
has the makings of something special. He
just needs one or two more years I
think. He got a pass.
I stopped a couple of
times on my walk out just to soak in the
last colors of the setting sun and
wonder what might have been.
November 12, 2017,
Hunt #28, A.M.
Went to an area of the
farm I have purposely left alone for two
seasons. Access is lengthy and I wanted
the deer to have some sanctuary. I am
looking for two bucks that have not
shown themselves anywhere on camera for
more than a week or during my hunts. One
in particular is an ancient old 4x4. It
appears I found an area that is part of
his routine visits. Just need to figure
out how to hunt it. I also probed a
little deeper to pull one of my cameras
that has been on a four week soak. Found
some good rubs. It's a remote location.
The morning hunt was
really good as I sat on the edge of this
area to observe. Heard a grunt and could
definitely see a buck tending to a doe
but no way to identify specifics. Had
lots of subordinate bucks roaming and
checking. It crazy to watch this as they
know the game and are always close
enough to steal the lady if the
opportunity occurs but not close enough
to piss off the old man.
I pulled the camera
card specifically setup for the old 4x4.
It has been in this area a few weeks but
for the most part left unchecked.
Earlier this week I was hunting a stand
a few hundred yards away and decided to
check the camera. I had pictures that
showed on numerous days the buck had
passed by the camera but it was clear
that I needed to move it. I set it up on
a scrape. I left the camera around
10:30. The old 4x4 showed up on camera
around 1:30. He had to have known I was
there and was following my boot tracks.
Also saw two coyotes.
It's interesting to watch as deer always
run but on many occasions they come back
to keep tabs on the furry little
critters. On the other side of my I had
another coyote make a mad dash for a
spike that was in my area. It was one of
those mornings that seemed to be alive
with animal movement.
November 11, 2017,
Hunt #27, P.M.
Back to my hideout.
Only one fawn passed by but there were
numerous deer in the fields I was
watching. There were a couple of 130
class bucks tending does and other
smaller bucks mostly feeding which was
surprising. There was one buck that was
all over the field checking for girl
Kind of a weird year.
This cold weather definitely has the
deer hitting the feedbag hard. I grunted
at a couple of bucks to get them to walk
by my hideout and leave a buck trail but
no interest in my callings.
Where did my bucks go?
November 11, 2017,
Hunt #26, A.M.
Sat on the ground in a
new spot. My elevation is lower relative
to any deer passing by. For those of you
that haven't tried it, give it a try,
it's different and the deer almost never
detect you until it's way too late. I
had two small bucks go by at less that
15 yards. They never had a clue I was
there. Wind easily in my favor with a
vertical bluff behind me. I had not
hunted this spot before always hunted a
little east. I like to hunt the ground a
few times before I commit to a stand.
I have a tree stand to
the east of me. Not the best with an
easterly component wind and this wind
had some east in it. Saw two different
bucks tending two different does by the
stand. A 130 and mid 140s. The 140s is
really getting busted up.
Walked down the hill
about 250 yards to have a midday lunch.
Prepared for a shot if given. This is a
part of the farm I never enter except in
March. I had bucks going by for most of
the time I was there. No shooters but
proof there is some midday movement yet.
Good time spent watching and learning a
part of the farm I stay out of for the
November 10, 2017,
Hunt #25, P.M.
Went back to the same
spot for more evening observation. My
ground hideout. Wanted to watch the open
to see if I could learn anything. Late
deer movement with the wind and other
human activity. Saw quite a few deer
including another big framed 9 that
needs another year. However it requires
discipline from others not to shoot.
Pretty sure he's only 3. He came out and
fed and didn't show much interest to the
ladies though he did chase a fawn onto
the field. The cold has the bucks
feeding more than I normally see during
rut just to keep up any sort of energy
with the cold.
How many easterly wind
stands does a guy need this year? Dang,
there have been a lot of easterly winds.
The one place that is perfect for an
east wind for me at night hasn't shown
any shooters on camera so I am reluctant
to spend too much time hunting it. Will
eventually hunt it hoping for a bonus
buck and we all love bonus bucks.
November 10, 2017,
Hunt #24, A.M.
totally different this morning. Sat on
the field edge for a morning hunt. I
NEVER do that. Saw quite a few deer
including some smaller bucks tending
does but did not see any shooters. Deer
fed for a good hour past sunrise. Saw
some chasing and tending. Had a real
nice 5x4 with some extras come strolling
by a shooting window about 8:30. He
needs another year for sure. Could be
special but need everybody in the area
to do the same. I did move out of the
wind to a different draw for about an
hour or so. Almost immediately had a
fawn come running over the hill. I
thought the game was on. Nothing
Darn cold again. Wind
just seems to be relentless this year. I
spend quiet times drawing my bow just to
get the feel with all the bulky clothes
on. It's kind of like blind bale
shooting. Just keeping the mind ready
for the 10-second cluster of an event
that hopefully will occur.
November 9, 2017,
Hunt #23, P.M.
Great hunt! Saw lots
of deer. Wind still brutal. Lots of
bucks tending and scent checking does.
Had a good encounter with a nice buck.
Watched him for a long distance.
Probably would have shot. Had him at 60
yards with his doe. They were just about
downwind so I tried a couple of low
grunts and a wheeze. No go for the doe.
Now is the time a guy
needs to be disciplined and I'm looking
in the mirror as I type this. The nice
looking three year olds can be mighty
November 9, 2017,
Hunt #22, A.M.
Wow! Brutal wind.
Lasted about 4 hours and it was painful.
I even added a layer this morning. Had a
good flurry of action this morning. had
a good flurry of action for about 10
minutes and that was it. Small bucks
chasing like crazy and one 3 year old on
a searching mission. Checked a camera
that had been on a 3 week soak. Found
one of my shooters I have been hunting.
Seems every time I
hunt this spot I find limbs that need
trimmed. Feeling the need for some
chainsaw action. It's tight quarters and
I have a couple of skanky locust trees that
could be tipped over. Hate those thorny
November 8, 2017,
Hunt #21, P.M.
farms. Wanted to be closer to feed and I
had hunted the other farm enough. Giving
it an evening off. The afternoon started
off great. I heard the unmistakable
snorting and grunting as a tending buck
chased off another buck. I've seen that
a lot. I always wonder what the snorting
is all about. The tending buck ended up
being a mature 130s buck that has
already gotten a pass from me.
A little later to the
north a 110 class buck and little basket
rack were tending to a doe. What the
heck is up with that? Frustrating. Where
are the bigger bucks? I saw lots of
subordinate bucks meandering through the
CRP but none of them had any emotion.
Must be tired. Sure hope they get out of
that funk in the very near future. Like
I saw very few does
except for the tended does. Not sure
what's up with that. Just a bad night
for deer movement I guess.
November 8, 2017,
Hunt #20, A.M.
Morning was dead calm
to start. Once the wind did pickup it
was out of the southwest. I was setting
on a trail that connected different
blocks of timber and doe groups.
Sightings started off slow. Saw the
first buck to the south and things
picked up after that. Saw deer
constantly for 3 hours and 360 degrees
around me. Some that went downwind of my
ground position at about 15 yards would
look and continue on. Others would take
off down the hill. One of these downwind
encounters was a 130 class buck. He
trotted down the hill on the trail of
his doe and fawn. Soon I heard a clash
of antlers! I couldn't see the other
buck. The clash lasted about 5 seconds.
Deer were constantly going by. Most of
them on the upwind side of me...where I
expected them to go. I was at a high
vantage point and could see deer moving
everywhere in the river bottom. Main
issue? No shooters anywhere. Lots of subordinate
bucks chasing, seeking and
One thing I hate and
it is all my fault but am limited to
ingress and egress is when they catch my
entry trail. The real mature does almost
always come looking for me. Hate that!
All in all it was good
November 7, 2017,
Hunt #19, P.M.
My wife wanted to go
out. Ran home to pick her up over lunch.
Got back in good time. Set her on the
field edge where she could see deer and
try and call in a shooter. It almost
worked on a tall racked buck but his doe
ruined the evening hunt.
My hunt was slow. Had
a broken tined 4x4 following a doe and
fawn to the field near quitting time.
Wasn't even a lot of noise in the timber
of dry leaves. Quiet hunt for me. I do
believe one of my target bucks is down.
Will move on to something else on the
list. That's the way it is in November.
It's great to live in Iowa though. If
you look hard enough you might just find
another shooter...or two (wink, wink).
November 7, 2017,
Hunt #18, A.M.
Supposedly the best
day of the year. Sat near a field edge
which I usually never do on a morning
hunt. Lots of deer in the field (in the
dark) on the walk in. Snorts and my hat
light told me so. Got settled. No more
than put my binocular harness on and
something with a big crown on its head
walked under the tree. Too dark to tell.
Once the darkness finally became day,
the field was filled with deer and there
were a couple of decent bucks. One was
seeking like crazy. A three year old
with potential. Deer stayed on the field
for a long time. Wind was cold. Called
it quits earlier than normal.
November 6, 2017,
Hunt #17, P.M.
consisted of two separate hunts. A
midday, picnic type event and a late
afternoon hunt closer to feed. Only deer
during the midday were four bald deer. I
spent the time making a ground blind
too. I tried a new spot this evening.
The area is almost unhuntable due to
terrain and other features but made it
work. I saw deer heading for feed late.
I could see a big bodied critter with a
big set of horns in the field and on the
horizon checking does. Cold today. Need
to dress better tomorrow.
November 6, 2017,
Hunt #16, A.M.
high. Results were low. I love hunting
during the Iowa whitetail rut and
watching and listening to Mother Nature
do her thing. The first sound to break
the silence besides cars and trucks on
the highway was the sound of an owl.
First time I heard the screeching sound
was my first morning hunt on my own.
I've never been a fan of darkness. On my
maiden voyage years ago, I no more than
closed the car door and began my trek to
my stand when the sound of a woman
screaming landed on my ears. I tell you
what the hair on the back of neck was at
attention. I quickly realized it was an
owl. Wow! I knew then why I hated the
This morning's hunt
started with promise. I could hear
grunting in the dark.
Best action I had this
morning was a 115 class buck herding his
doe like a cutting horse. I saw a few
more does returning from feed and a
small buck walked under the tree but
that was it. My stand was really
chapping my hide with some minor noises
so I called it quits early and reset the
new ladder. Checked a few cameras.
November 5, 2017,
Hunt #15, P.M.
Sat a stand for the
first time on the edge of a cornfield.
Saw a lot of deer but no shooters. Had a
wad of bald deer come out downwind and
totally ruin my night, so I thought. Not
sure why they came out in a totally
stupid location. They trail out was no
easy task either.
Long day. Lots of deer
on the fields.
November 5, 2017,
Hunt #14, A.M.
Windy. Cold. Wasn't
ready for that. Two layers of Windshear
handled it well though. Had a young buck
under the tree at first light. Saw a few
more bucks and then nothing.
Took my saw in to cut
a couple of branches. Seems like I'm
always doing that. there is a locust
tree about ten yards away with a branch
that is definitely in my shooting lane.
My Hooyman is 10' long extended. It was
all I could do to stretch that saw and
my body to get that limb cut. Big hole
to shoot through now.
Checked some cameras.
I love bonus bucks. Especially when they
November 4, 2017,
Hunt #13, All Day
Great hunt. I need a
southwest wind though. I thought an
easterly wind would work at this
location but not a good idea. Saw a lot
of bucks from start all the way up to
two o'clock. Numerous bucks chased does
by my stand location. It was quiet from
2-2:30 and then movement again.
Heard some serious
fighting east of me in the morning but
could not see the bucks. They were
150-200 yards away but sounded like they
were within shooting distance. Loud!
Very dense tone to the antlers and lots
of noise. It happened twice. Definitely
a hot doe on the other side of the
canyon. Saw what I think was a shooter
about 1:30 but not sure. He stole the
doe from a 130 class buck. He walked by
one of my cameras but at a distance. He
sure looked healthy but my camera
picture doesn't support what I saw in my
binoculars. May have got my hopes up.
Seven hours in a stand will do that I
First time I sat this
new ladder stand. Very comfortable but
had a squeak from the metal tube rubbing
on the tree. At 9:30 I had had enough
and reset the stand. No harm no foul.
The last two hunts
have been good. Just not sure there is
anything extra special running around.
November 3, 2017,
Hunt #12, P.M.
Good hunt. Grunted in
three bucks. One was a 130 class buck
tending a doe, He was probably three or
four. Wanted to see who had come to take
his date from him. Offered me a 20 yard
quartering away shot. Good activity for
the evening hunt. Deer came from all
directions. Had a nice 5x5 with a busted
G4 show up at dark. 20 yards. I wanted a
good look at this buck. He doesn't look
as big on the hoof as in the pictures.
Wife went along too.
She had some close encounters with a few
October 29, 2017,
Hunt #11, P.M.
Great day. Helped hang
a couple of stands and setup a blind or
two. Checked some cameras. Nothing
special on camera except a lot of
coyotes. Man did my cameras capture a
lot of coyote pictures and a couple of
large dogs. Darn near looked like
Hunted in the
afternoon. Hung my old Screaming Eagle
next to my newer Big Game ladder as
planned. My Screaming Eagle is
absolutely quiet. Had a number of deer
go by and not one noise from my stand.
Saw a fair number of 120-130 type deer
on the move. One mature 130 class 4x4
was definitely tending a doe in the
switch grass. He escorted some smaller
bucks away. One smaller buck was so
frustrated he took his frustration out
on a tall weed. As he was rubbing the
dominant deer headed his way. The
subordinate quickly headed on his way in
the opposite direction. I love to watch
this interaction. Never get enough of
The wind was in the
process of changing direction the last
hour or so (which I knew was going to
happen). I think one old nag got a whiff
of me during the change. The currents
popped from the east on me for a very
small amount of time (this was not
planned). The 5 or so deer with her were
instantly on alert. She looked intently
but never snorted....but she would not
leave either. Finally she wondered off
but as many old nags do she came back to
look for me again but by this time the
wind had committed to the WNW. But not
to be outdone, she knew where I was at
and circled downwind about 30 yards. She
got a confirmation whiff and headed back
to the upwind side of the tree and
eventually headed on her way to feed.
Weird. They must know me too well.
"That lump on the side of that tree
is no danger. No worries when he's
around". HA! We shall see as I have
three doe tags waiting for vacation to
begin. And this location is definitely
one where I plan to release an arrow at
an old doe.
October 28, 2017,
Hunt #10, P.M.
Family affair hunt.
Wife and daughter were along. My wife
was at full draw on a nice one but a doe
ruined the shot opportunity. I had a
dandy 5x5 pass by upwind about 30 yards
away. He then circled behind me and
ended up downwind at about 7 yards. He
had been feeding in the corn and then
decided to check out the does north of
me. He could have followed the same
trail back as he brought out but no he
has to go by downwind. And I was on the
ground. 150ish type buck. Not sure I
recognized him. Might have been bigger
than I think too. He really looked big
at 7 yards. Pace is definitely on the
October 27, 2017,
Hunt #9, P.M.
Windy! I checked a few
cameras I hadn't checked in a couple of
weeks. Spooked a couple of bucks on the
way in. No shooters. Saw a few
deer from stand. My setup overlooked
multiple trails and a scrape. Can't
believe we went from 70 degree weather
to 20 degree winchills in less than 10
minutes it seems. I had on all my
windshear gear. BRRRR! Plus we are half
done with the season...almost. Cameras
still fail to show any top end bucks.
It's decision time as my vacation begins
soon. There is one buck I would
definitely sling an arrow at but he has
been a no-show for 3 months. Most likely
close but not a resident of my hunting
Spent a bunch of time
setting up my wife's bow. Cut some new
Easton Axis 400s too. Her setup appears
pretty close. Just need to set the sight
and should be good to go.
I've had a gut feeling
this year that the full rut runnin' and
gunnin' would be a little later this
year. Really nothing to support it, just
a feeling. I hope I'm right as my
vacation time has been delayed a few
days from normal. If I miss some dates,
it will suck because it's 12-months to
the next go-around.
October 22, 2017,
Hunt #8, P.M.
Well that was a good
hunt and I have the video to prove it.
Had a nice 150ish looking buck 5 yards
from the tree looking straight up at me.
My guess is he is 3 or 4. Not sure. At 5
yards he looked 4. He sure appeared to
be tending to an old long nose doe. I
wonder if she's going to be the first
one to come into estrous? He followed
her south to the feed but came back
shortly when a mid 30s ten started
working over the brush pile out in front
of me. They both eventually hit a
licking branch 35 yards west of me and
headed back south.
Had four bucks go by
and three of them were 3 years old or
greater. Early in the evening I heard
the unmistakable clash of dense horn.
Definitely two heavy weights that gave
it a go for about three seconds. I could
tell there was messing around down in
the canyon near the sound of the clash
and the 150 eventually came out but not
sure who he tangled with.
This is a new set and
my first time in. I thought an evening
southwest wind would work but I am going
to need more north in the wind based on
how the deer went by the tree.
Definitely could smell me but let me off
It was beautiful
night. Above 30 for pressure. Clear sky.
No wind. Too quiet. Not sure I could
have got a shot off if I wanted too.
October 20, 2017,
Hunt #7, P.M.
Hunted one of my new archer type ladder
stands for the first time. So far so
good. Stand was quiet. I filled the
tubes with expandable foam during
deployment. The mesh platform was quiet.
This stand maker runs their platform
support tubes perpendicular to the long
axis centerline. Much better idea. Will
see if it lasts. The ladder is in a spot
that I've avoided due to access. Great
funnel. Decided to put a stand up this
year. See what happens. Had a few bald
deer go by. No idea I was there. Wind
was out of the SSE. It was a little
undependable in this low area but I
passed the first night. Saw two bucks.
Deer were eating acorns and headed for
the harvested soybean field. Checked a
couple of cameras going in and a few
headed out. Nothing special. Might be a
tough year for this farm.
Three new pieces of
equipment were put into play this hunt,
my new HSS lifeline, the new stand and
my new STAN SX3 release. The release
arrived at my house on Thursday. First
thing I did was follow the instructions
to get the trigger travel, trigger
tension and thumb barrel knob set up.
Then headed for the paper tuning pit.
The first draw or two is always iffy.
You don't know if your bow is going to
fire during the draw or not. So far so
good. This is where I was absolutely
amazed by this precision piece of
equipment. Every single arrow shot
through paper was a bullet hole. I shot
close to 20 arrows. That has never
happened for me. Every. Single. One.
With my Tru Ball Max 4 caliper release I
would always get a minor tear every now
and then but not with this release.
I don't like a big
bulky T-handle release so ordered the
medium handle. It is a smidge and I mean
a smidge small but the STAN cutouts I
printed show me the large would have
been too big. The cutouts show me it is
almost identical in size to my Max 4 and
I love its size. Perfect! My release is
the 4-finger (quattro) medium. I shot it
well enough that I put it on my D-loop
in the tree last night. The trigger is
setup for zero travel. Tension is
plenty. I don't like hair triggers. Need
to practice at distance with it but
work, windy weather and darkness
prohibit that now.
October 15, 2017,
Hunt #6, P.M.
Dang! Half-way through
October already. Still no day-one type
bucks at the top of the hunt list...that
I have captured on camera anyway. A few
nice ones for sure but none that a guy
would put on the day-one list. Hunt was
good. Saw all bald deer except one dink
at quitting time. A couple weeks of
final inventory and then it's go
time...unless a bonus day-one buck would
appear before then. Not holding my
breath for that.
My darn ladder stand
continues to squeak and I've tightened
all the bolts. That cheap mesh metal
sucks....big time! Beef it up stand
makers!!! Wish I would have purchased 20
Screaming Eagle tree stands 30 years
ago. Best stand ever made. And still
made I think. I have a plan for my
squeaky stand. Going to retire the stand
to just the ladder and hang one of my
Screaming Eagle stands right next to it.
Should work. It's a double-trunked tree.
Tree is too good of a spot not to keep
it there. Had a good dozen deer go by
last night. Just need a quiet stand.
Shot some arrows in
the wind on an open ridge yesterday.
Dumb idea but wanted to shoot some
distance. All shooting in the wind does
is lower your confidence. Found out my
sight is out of whack for some reason. I
assume those side plates made the
difference. Different grip. Never would
have guessed that. 20 yards is good but
I'm shooting too high at 35...note to
self...35=32 on the sight tape. Looks
like I have some work to do the next two
weeks to find the right sight tape. I
know the rest is good. I shot three
arrows through paper the day before.
Three bullet holes. Only difference is
Ordered me a new thumb
release from Lancaster. Have been
looking at numerous different ones for
three months. Finally pulled the trigger
(pun intended). Supposed to be good,
Stanislawski (STAN) SX3, quattro, size
medium. Not sure if it will help target
panic or make it worse. The little
practice pin for practice drawing should
help but a guy still has to let an arrow
fly to know. The practice pin will help
me avoid double-lunging my basement
wall. It's a wicked looking release. The
reviews I could find on the interweb
were positive for the most part. STAN
and Carter (almost bought the Wise
Choice) have the reputations. Let's see
if STAN can make a shooter like me a
better shot. In the wind no. On a calm
day, we will see.
I did some scouting
yesterday and found a killer scrape.
Location is deep. No reason for anybody
to be there but me. The Covert
cell cam is on fire as I type. Big
party at the scrape. Found other scrapes
with lots of apparent activity. If you
like scrape hunting the next two weeks
should be really good.
Still getting pictures
of a few new bucks, some appearing
mature, with less than stellar Iowa
racks. The more pictures I get the more
I believe antler growth is below average
this year in my neck of the woods.
Winter was easy so all I can think is
the dry weather is the culprit and we
didn't have near the dry weather that
they did in the south part of the state.
October 14, 2017,
Hunt #5, P.M.
The wet weather is
limiting my access on some farms. Tried
a farm that has good access. Saw two
bucks some distance away. Checked two
cameras. No shooters. Good scrape at the
camera 35 yards from my set. I wore my
wet weather gear for the first time in
two years. It's quite noisy. The
tolerable mist turned into intolerable
rain about an hour before sunset time. I
baled. Rain was hitting me in the face
with no signs of letting up.
All my equipment was
wet. Spread it out at home to dry.
Happens a few times a year. Only thing
to do. Will go through it again this
morning to check for rust and see if I
need to do anything different. One thing
I've noticed the last two days. The
smaller bucks are still grouped up and feeding
The spigot can turn
off now for a couple of weeks.
October 13, 2017,
Hunt #4, P.M.
Friday the 13th. It
surely was. I forgot my SD cards at the
house and returned to get them after
being 5 miles down the road and did a
similar thing in the field after leaving
the truck. Checked some cameras before
my sit. Good activity on scrapes
starting the 10th. Probably mostly the
temperatures that got the bucks on their
feet but bucks were sure paying
attention to the branches and dirt
Saw good deer activity
from my hideout. Had some deer get
downwind and cause me grief but when
deer are 360 degrees around you not much
you can do. It's really the only spot I
have for a northeast wind but I also
have a great vantage point for my final
inventory. Still nothing I would qualify
as a definite shooter. Still banking on
the hope a bonus buck will appear within
the next two weeks. If not, then....I
don't know what.
Setup a scrape dripper
in front of one of my cell cameras.
Hoping that entices more bucks to pass
by my camera to confirm the final buck
inventory before my vacation.
Checked cameras after
the hunt. Fawns watched me do my thing
on the edge of the field. I think they
wondered who this knot head was walking
around in the dark in their field. I
sure don't seem to bother the little
rascals much. The does are a different
story. I wanted to get my camera check
completed before the rain forecasted for
Saturday. It would dilute my scent
October 8, 2017,
Hunt #3, P.M.
A little bit warm. The
black little gnats were ferocious. I put
my gloves and facemask on just keep the
little suckers at bay. It
finally started to cool down near
sunset. I was hidden in a new little
hideout in a windfall with scrapes
close. Well hid. Deer were moving well
before sunset. High pressure. First two
deer to the alfalfa were two small
bucks. One old nag and a fawn just had
to come my way, and just had to to cross
my well thought out entry trail. She was
fighting something in her right nostril
(probably a little gnat). If it wasn't
for that, she probably would have given
my hideout away sooner than she did and
cleared the field. There was no reason
for her to walk straight over to my spot
and have a stare down with me at 5
yards. You ever notice how big the eyes
are on a deer? Huge! Especially that
close. She snorted at me a few times but
eventually let me off the hook. Whatever
was in her nostril was causing her more
grief than my entry trail.
Great night. Saw quite
a few bucks but no shooters. Cameras did
not offer anything extraordinary either.
It is appearing that this will be one of
those years where the antler growth is
below average for Iowa. Still hoping
something special shows up.
October 7, 2017,
Hunt #2, P.M.
First day it hasn't
rained in a while. Everything is soggy.
Muddy access roads limited the locations
I can go without a long walk. Decided to
go to open country and observe.
Beautiful afternoon and evening. Great
choice for soaking in rural Iowa waiting
for a monster whitetail. Saw two small
bucks. Heard a deer sneezing in the big
blue stem but did not see the critter.
Checked one camera but nothing special.
Just an all around great place.
October 1, 2017,
Hunt #1, P.M.
I've been doing this
now for 40 years and I still fail to get
organized on the first night. Geeesh! My
daughter was home from school so wanted
to make sure and get her stuff ready to
go when she is able to hunt. That
probably had something to do with me
being disorganized. Plus had to mow the
Wind was out of the
SE. Saw quite a few of the 'picture
bucks' and quite a few does and fawns
feeding on alfalfa and clover. No
shooters. Had a doe and fawn go by right
in the sweet spot but decided to wait on
an attempt at the doe. Decided to soak
in the weather and the view shed on
night one. Beautiful at my ground
hideout. Have no less than 4 scrapes
less than 35 yards but new users. had a
doe and fawn sneak up behind me,
directly downwind. Always has to be one
that gives up my hideout.
interesting to me how the size of the
deer differ so much when viewed on the
hoof. Have one deer that looks
135-140ish in the pictures but bigger
than that on the hoof. Sure appears to
be a 4 or 5 year old. Body is
significantly bigger than the other
deer. Some deer just seem to put the
their growth in the horns while others
put it in the body.
Good to get hunt #1
one in the books. My arrows look
different with the QAD Exodus on the end
of the arrow. let's hope they do the
trick when it's time.
October 1, 2017
As I type, legal
shooting hours have arrived in Iowa for
2017. Correct. I am sitting at my
computer. Rain showers are in the area.
No go for me this morning. The place I
want to be has a long dirt/mud road. Not
going to deal with that on day 1. Plus,
I want to help my daughter with some
final bow tuning while she is back from
Buck photos seemed to
really pick up at a few spots this week.
Maybe a couple of new bucks too. One has
been added to the probable shoot list.
Spent a good portion of yesterday
clearing a couple of ground blind spots.
I knew the location was good but did not
realize how good. Scrapes galore at 20
yards from the ground set. Looking good.
I have hideouts
cleared for south or north winds. Should
be really good in 3 weeks. I cleared
these hideouts for my wife and daughter
as neither one wants anything to do with
a tree stand. The hideouts include
downfalls. They should be hid very well.
Shots should be less than 25 yards.
Maybe get out tonight
if the showers stay away but it doesn't
sound too promising. If so, will focus
on equipment prep. Still things to do.
Here we go! Have fun.
September 24, 2017
Received the side
plates for my Carbon Defiant 34. I am
either color blind (which I'm not) or
Hoyt's brown looks a lot like gray to me
(really gray). Maybe it's how the sun
hits the mountains in Salt Lake City. Oh
well. More interested in the results.
Might try a custom grip maker next time.
His appear to be neater anyway.
shot twice so far with the side plates
in lieu of the standard grip but the
results appear to be phenomenal for me.
Why did it take so many years to figure
that out? Groups are CONSISTENTLY
tighter. Arrow flight is good and I hit
the spot. I must torque the bow a lot
with the standard grip. The smaller grip
with the side plates has reduced that
torque significantly by my estimation. I
would have eliminated years of
frustration if I had tried the smaller
grip years ago as Hoyt has maintained
the same grip for quite a few years.
As noted in the past,
I've been highly selective of my
practice times (no wind or very low
wind). Yeah I know, it will be windy in
the deer woods, but I want the
confidence to know that in perfect
conditions the arrow is going to fly
where it is supposed to. So far so good.
My neighbor has a 30 foot flag pole.
When his flag is limp I head for the
back yard to shoot!
Deployed a second
ladder stand yesterday. Not the perfect
tree but it's a good spot. Spot requires
a south to southeast wind for an evening
hunt or a north to northeast wind for a
morning hunt. I've looked at this spot
for quite a few years but have always
left it alone for more natural deer
movement and hunted
"downstream" a little further.
Problem has been that once they pass
this particular spot the deer fan out
inconsistently. I like my shots under 20
That stand used up my
last lifeline yesterday. Need one or two
more as I have a couple of sets to
deploy as the season progresses. There
is a big difference in lifelines too.
Used my Muddy one last week and my new
HSS this week. There is a lot of quality
in that HSS lifeline. Wow!
One week and it's go
September 17, 2017
Checked cameras on one
farm yesterday afternoon and then put up
one of my new ladder stands. I filled
the climbing rails with "Great
Stuff" the best I could. Will see
if it helps keep it quieter as I climb.
Ladder stands are great in theory but I
have yet to find the perfect tree for a
ladder stand. In this particular case I
can't quite get the ladder support rail
to work perfectly. The platform and seat
are good and aligned with the tree at
18-feet but the ladder part isn't
perfectly aligned with the tree though
the ladder is straight. Like I said,
trees are not perfect, they all have
some bends and sweeps that create
challenges. Oh well, it is connected and
my safety line is up. The seat is tilted
a smidge back the way I like them. I
hate stands that launch you forward. It
feels good when I sit in it. It is setup
as an all day stand or morning stand for
a southerly wind. Still have some stands
to hang but that is one at a time for
this guy. Have some of the deeper stands
put up which is good. Can focus on the
ones out closer to the edge. Need some
easterly wind sets.
Shot a little bit this
week. Dawned my hunting arrows with
broadheads and loaded quivers. I should
be ready to go with my new bow and
backup bow. I had a couple of broadheads
that have blades that are not perfectly
tight. The manufacturer needs to tighten
up their QC if you ask me. Two of my G5
Stikers have loose blades and the other
was a Slick Trick Standard. Both in 125
grains. The fit-n-finish on the 125
grain QAD Exodus seem really good on the
ones I have. The QAD will be the first
ones out of the quiver.
I am seriously
thinking about upgrading my handheld
release. Not sure I would actually hunt
with a new one this late in the game but
think I can improve my shooting a bit by
upgrading. Not sure yet. It's a good
amount of money I want to spend.
Purchased my licenses
last week. That part should be done.
Spent around $100 for all the licenses I
wanted. Need to get the backpack ready
to go and wash the clothes. Put new
insoles in my older boots. Just like
new! Wow! Did not know they were this
comfortable when I purchased them a few
September 10, 2017
Not much bow mechanic
work this week. Shot a few arrows each
night. Waiting on some side plates for
the new bow. Want to see if that helps
my grip and form. It seems to take absolutely
forever to order anything from Hoyt.
SLOW! Pretty sure they don't give a
rat's tail about me in Iowa.
Did the 20/60 thing
for the Black Gold sight tape on my
backup bow yesterday. Lost an arrow.
Forgot to dial back to 20 from 60 on a
20-yard shot. Ooops! That really chaps
my hide! Buried deep under some leaves
and grass. But I achieved my goal and
have the tape marked as desired. No way
in heck I will launch an arrow at a
critter at 60 yards but fun to practice
a few shots. Major trajectory for my
setup. I'm not consistent enough with my
form and release to get the 60-yard
distance set real tight. I can hit the
bag consistently but group size has a
Setup three stands
last week. One is in some real thick
stuff. I like it's location. Tight
quarters. Need a northwest wind. Setup
20 yards from a community scrape. I got
the ladder sticks and stand hung and
then proceeded to cut some small limbs
and dropped my saw. Damn it! Climbed
back down, snapped it into the end of my
Hooyman 5-foot extension arm (at least I
thought I did) and proceeded to saw
again. It fell to the ground again!
Dag-nab-it! I didn't get it completely
snapped in! Crawled down again. This
time I got it completely snapped in.
Finally. Frustrating. I considered not
finishing. Was pooped by that time. Lots
of work to hang a stand by yourself but
I really like this spot and wanted it to
have a good amount to time to settle
down. Like a month's worth. Hopefully it
will be good. Have a Reconyx setup at
the spot too. Just need the bucks to
start filing through. Last year the
parade started in the middle of October.
Hope to see a shooter.
I have not captured a
photo of a real big one this year or
seen any glassing. Not sure if the dry
weather affected antler growth or not?
Could have. Crossing my fingers one
arrives here shortly from their summer
pasture. Lots of mid-range 4x4s this
year. Not sure what that means, if
anything. Only one deer I would put on
my hit list so far and have not captured
any photos of him for a while. Evidently
not resident to my area of the world.
Have heard of some nice ones but would
like to see them for myself.
Deer are changing from
their summer copper color to their gray
coats. Some of the does have really
interesting color patterns. Their body
might be all gray while their neck is
totally copper. Funny. And they all have
some green tinge from all of the darn
stick tights. Crazy year for those
little sticker suckers. They can ruin a
pair of pants in a less than a minute.
More practice this
week and hope to finalize some arrows
and quivers and call it good for the
setups. Need to focus on the field work
now. Probably late, but just a lot of
things to do.
September 3, 2017
Wow! I actually put up
a set yesterday! Good for me. Almost.
Forgot the key to the padlock on my
chain-on stand. Actually didn't forget
but the keys I brought did not include
the key I needed. First setup is almost
ready to go. Only thing left is the
stand itself, the bow rope and the
hooks. Ladder and safety line are up.
Tree is trimmed. Recon'd a couple of
new stand locations. One is going to
take some effort to get the stand there.
Thick! Hope to get more stands setup in the next few weeks.
The safety harness is
always a bearcat on the first use of the
year. Can they get more tangled up at
times? I have the HSS hanging harness
and they have made it about as idiot
proof as possible. I
like this one for its pockets to hold
all of my crap as I ascend the tree.
Whacked off a few
Finished fletching my
hunting arrows this week. Ready for
October. Finalizing broadheads next. I
hope to do some experimenting this year
with two or three brands. Need some doe
tags to do that.
I always shoot my
hunting arrows a few times after they
have been fletched just to make sure
they fly and I don't have a bad arrow in
the dozen. Field points. My Nocturnal blue nocks are
pretty bright at dusk. Should be able to
see them fly. I bought some Universal
Fit Nocturnal red nocks and had a heck
of a time trying to get the switch
turned off. There was a fair amount of
final hunting setup for 2017:
Carbon Defiant 34
set at 59 pounds
with some minor red
accents including a
red hunter peep
(downsized from my
large peep I've used
in the past),
sight is a Hoyt one
pin slider sight,
rest is a black QAD
are Easton Full
Metal Jacket 340s at
30.5 inches long,
with four AAE Nock
On Max Stealth vanes
(white and flo pink)
set 1-1/4 inch from
the Nocturnal nock
groove and glued to
broadhead out of the
quiver will be 125
grain QAD Exodus
blade) with Slick
broadheads and G5
Strikers next in
line (I might add G5
Montecs and one
other to be
is still my T.R.U.
Ball Max 4 thumb
trigger. It just
fits my hand the
best. I am zeroing
in on a new release.
I'm looking at the
Carter Wise Choice
4-finger and the
Blackout (medium) or
STAN SX3 Quattro
(medium). That SX3
looks like one sweet
Hoyt and 340 FMJs with four AAE Max
Stealth vanes has produced the best and
most consistent arrow flight I have
had.....ever (except when I shot
feathers). Feathers always fly the best.
Consistent arrow rotation to the GlenDel
Full Rut with my current setup over 95%
of the time. All poor arrow flight is
due to my form breakdown or bad release.
I'm in one-arrow
practice mode now. I figure I will get
one shot so I practice the same way. The
small peep has taken some getting used
to. My goal is to acquire the vitals on
a deer quickly. Going from a great big
peep to a smaller peep will slow that
August 27, 2017
Kind of a slow week
for me on the archery front. I did get a
few nights of shooting in. I am shooting
one arrow at a time now. Working on form
and release. My neighbor has has a flag
pole that I watch and use as my
windsock. When the flag is limp I head
for the archery range (backyard). I hate
trying to shoot in the wind. It causes
bad shooting habits. A person has no
idea if they have equipment problems if
they shoot in the wind. How many of you
check the bubble on your sight? I never
used to. I started checking the bubble.
It seems to make a difference especially
when I am paper tuning.
No new buck pictures
the last couple of weeks. Have a few
pictures of bucks shedding velvet. You
should have hard horn pictures next time
you check your cameras. No gaggers for
me yet. Hope I see one? If not, have
pictures of a couple of bucks I will
Don't forget to buy
your lifelines, use your lifelines and
use your safety harness when putting up
stands. Too many years to deer hunt yet.
Be smart or just setup some ground
blinds. Most of my big bucks have come
from my ground setups anyway. I was
hunting on the ground long before it
became the popular method it seems to be
today. As far as I'm concerned all the
ground hunters today are rookies! Now,
with that being said, those rookies are
shooting some awesome bucks! Keep it up!
August 20, 2017
Spent a few hours at
an outdoor store fall event yesterday.
Good event. Way short on BBQ though.
Spoke with Hoyt and Mathews reps. It's
interesting to listen to some of the
challenges they have had in their
shooting careers. Similar stuff. They
just shoot a lot more arrows than I do.
One thing I have spent a lot of time on
this year is arrow weight. It was
interesting to see their reaction when I
told them the weight of my arrow. Yes I
have a heavy arrow. I don't want there
to be any questions if I hit the the
front shoulder on a big Iowa buck. Told
them their arrows were little wimpy
arrows. It was fun.
Got some new arrows
for my wife and cut those off last week.
Have her fletching plan now so can get
them wrapped and fletched and ready to
go for hunting. Had a good discussion
yesterday with the reps on broadheads.
It's funny. There are probably a
thousand answers as to what is the best
broadhead. My only comment is if you
don't hit the vitals and don't get
penetration you will not recover the
critter. I am going to try a handful of
different broadheads this year. The does
don't have a clue that I will be gunning
for them this year.
I ordered and received
two ladder stands this weak with seats
that flip up so I can lean against the
tree. Nice! Why do we need a big fancy
seat? Go figure. I don't want that. Just
want a simple flip up seat so I lean against
(hug) the tree. One thing I might do is
fill the metal tubing with expandable
foam (Great Stuff). Read that somewhere
that it quiets the metal tubing as you
climb. Shouldn't add much weight. Might
Did shoot a little
this week. Working with both the primary
and backup bows. Want to make sure they
are both good to go. Received my
replacement vital for the GlenDel Full
Rut. Already shot holes in the new one.
Have yet to see or get
pictures of any gaggers. I am hoping one
exists close to my neck of the woods and
he moves in shortly or at least when I
am on hunting vacation. What's a gagger?
One of those bucks that you will shoot
on any day of the hunting season. You
see the deer for the first time and you
get that mouth open, wide-eyed look on
your face as you suck in some O2. A
gagger! I can't take credit for that.
That is something Gene Wensel told me
once. However, I have used it to this
day. We all like gaggers that are close
to our farms. They really get a hunter
August 13, 2017
Not much shooting this
week. Still letting my shoulder recuperate
from last weekend. Arrow flight has been
fairly consistent all week when I did
A little over six
weeks and we can officially sling some
arrows. Time in the woods in the fall
with bow in hand always feeds the soul.
August 6, 2017
Good week of shooting.
Fine-tuned my yardage tape yesterday
(20-60). Had a good low-wind day. Shot
so many arrows my right shoulder was
toast. One thing I have learned this
summer. I want a no-wind period of time
to shoot my bow. Windy days suck. I know
it will be windy in the deer woods.
That's fine. I can deal with it. To fine
tune a bow there can't be any wind and
the terrain needs to be fairly level. My
arrow flight is very good on the calm
evenings. However, on windy days, I'm
lucky to get one out of ten arrows to
fly well. Too much movement with my bow
hand trying to steady the wind sail.
Have four arrows
fletched with AAE Max Hunter vanes. They
are 3-fletched. Not sure I gained much.
I was extremely excited the first four
arrows I shot. Stacked the Max Hunter
fletched Full Metal Jacket 340s right on
top of one another. Thought I was on to
a major revelation. I was soon brought
back to earth as the next four arrows
were normal to not so good. They fly
well but my AAE Max Stealth (4-fletch)
fly equally well and they are quieter in
flight. Trying to determine which ones
fly better on windy days but they both
fly poorly. Really need a stiff vane for
Starting to mentally
prepare for new stand sites. Have trees
eyeballed. Just need to bring the
climbing ladders. Have three cameras
deployed for the first time on one farm.
Had left it alone but need to get up to
speed there. No idea what to expect.
Looks overgrown. Yes! I like it.
Hopefully a Booner shows on camera.
Purchased a new
GlenDel Full Rut a month ago. Vitals
already worn out. Been rotated numerous
times. Need replacement. Not sure if
I've been shooting that much or the new
one is not of the quality of my old one.
HHHMMM! I do have a trail worn in my
grass from the 3D to my shooting spot.
Maybe I have been shooting a lot? Never
worn a trail before.
For all you big buck
chasers it's time to go. Get your stuff
ready and get out there! If your spouse
says stay home! Tell him or her
to........just kidding. Make absolutely
sure you take care of stuff at home or
the end of October and the month of
November will be void of your ass in the
Iowa deer woods. Not good.
July 30, 2017
Summer going fast.
Prep time is winding down. I guess it
depends on your level of prep. For me,
still have lots of work to do. Others
haven't even deployed a camera yet.
Seriously? Get your lazy ass out there
and get those cameras up. Shoot that
bow. At least make me think you care.
Just kidding. For me it's all Fun. For
others it's work. I get it.
Got some fancy new
arrow wraps this week from three
different on-line places. They are cool.
Here is what I've learned regarding wrap
length, for all you Blazer shooters out
there 4-inches is probably OKay but
4-1/2 inches is probably better
especially when setting the back of the
vane 1-1/4 inches from the groove of the
nock or one inch from the end of the
bare arrow shaft. Blazers are 2-inches
long. For me, I'm going to shoot AAE Max
Stealth vanes. Around 2.6-inches long.
To take advantage of my arrow wrap
little icons and pictures I need about a
5-1/2 inch wrap. You can get the darn
things in about any length you want so
for you arrow builders out there, set
the Bitz to fletch about 1-1/4 to 1-3/4
inch from the groove of the nock. Do
some experimenting. Then think about
your wrap length and vane length and how
it will sit on your wrap.
Cut my hunting arrows
this week. Note to self! Make sure the
HIT insert is fully pushed in with the
little green tool. Damn! That was an
expensive lesson. I must have checked
all of my arrows but one and the next
day learned my insert either floated
back out or most likely I forgot to push
it all the way in with the little green
tool. Tried to remove the insert but the
epoxy did it's trick. No go and
recovering $10 is not worth an injured
hand. To the arrow bone pile!
Experimenting a lot
with grip, sight bubble levelness, and
back shoulder pull. I sure get some
crappy arrow flight at times when I
torque the bow or pluck the D-loop with
my thumb release. Really chaps my hide
when I do that. Lots of shooting. Have
worn a path in my yard to the deer
target. I hope the path results in a
shot at a Booner and I settle the pin
just before the shot.
July 23, 2017
Well, its nearing the
end of July and the bucks are shaping up
nicely. Lots of shooters floating around
on Twitter and other social media sites.
Looks like a potential for a good year
for some. I have yet to fully deploy my
cameras. Have been saving a farm until
later. Have the Carbon Defiant 34 tuned
about as good as I can get it. Picked my
20-60 sight tape yesterday after
shooting at 20 and 60 yards. The 60 is
iffy for me but close enough to select a
tape. Bow is set at 59 lbs and the arrow
weighs 546 grains. Very heavy arrow.
Kinetic energy calculator says I should
be able to take down a water buffalo.
Sounds good to me. I want a complete
pass through. Have decide on using four
AAE Max Stealth vanes. Not sure about
color. These vanes are stiffer than some
and ribbed. Plus they are quiet. Should
steer my 125 grain fixed blade
broadheads just fine. My bow is quiet
too after adding new Brownell speed
nocks to the new string. Time to stop
focusing on archery equipment and focus
July 15, 2017
So what is new this
week? Decided on 4-fletch, Bohning
Blazers for the backup bow. The 5 mm, X-nocked,
FMJs might be decked out in a patriotic
theme. Haven't decided yet. The nock
will most likely be a Nockturnal nock of
some color. Blue possibly? I did move
the fletching down the shaft a good
quarter inch. One of the vanes was
making contact with my face before
release and pretty sure impacting arrow
flight. Ordered some wraps from
Onestringer and Nock On Archery. Should
Measured a stud of a
buck this week. Definite beauty.
Need to get a couple
of ladder stands. I really like the
Bowman from Rivers Edge. I want a stand
where the platform is full depth and the
seat folds up but I also want to be able
to lean against the tree. The Bowman
does not have a seat back so I can get
much closer to the tree when I stand and
the seat is folded up.
July 8, 2017
Got some cameras
checked this morning and lots of archery
mechanic work accomplished last week.
Changed some fletching on some arrows,
fine-tuned the backup bow, found a kink
in my shooting form and captured some
pictures of the new and improved bucks
this week. Still nothing special on
camera but there are a couple that
definitely look to be at least 4 years
Deployed the Covert
cell camera this week. The camera
looks like a keeper so far (knock on
wood). The WGI
cameras have been a pleasant
surprise as they haven't faired too well
in past Trailcampro
tests. They keep taking pictures for me.
Have other cameras that need to be
deployed. I can't get the wifi to extend
any significant distance on my Browning
Defender but that thing really takes
some nice photos.
Have whittled the
fletching down to two challengers:
Bohning Blazer 4-fletch at 90 degrees or
AAE Max Stealth 4-fletch at 90 degrees.
The Blazers are definitely louder but
fly very well. They both hit the same
spot on the GlenDel Full Rut at 20
yards...at least with the backup bow (I
am having some string and cable
replacement done on the new bow). The
AAE Max Hunters were challengers until
just a few days ago but clearance issues
with my cables and face during my anchor
dropped them out of the running. Then
there were two. I was really hoping the
Max Hunters were going to be the winner
as I expected them to really steer my
fix blade broadheads. My wrap and vane
color choices are much greater with the
Blazers but I do like quiet arrow
flight. Forgot to mention I have also
dropped the Bohning Heat Vanes out too.
They have great cable and rest clearance
but I was a little concerned about
steering my fixed blade broadheads.
July 2, 2017
yesterday. My two WGI
cameras seem to take decent night
photos. Limited blur. I still can't get
the wifi on the Browning
Defender to extend to any
significant distance...but it does take
some really nice photos. Some decent
bucks on camera but nothing
Shot a lot of arrows
and spent a lot of time a week ago doing
the 20 yard and 60 yard thing with my
one pin slider (yardage tape selection).
I've never shot at 60 yards before for
an extended period. I had purchased a
new field sized target to reduce the
potential of losing an arrow. It worked
great! What I have learned after those
300 arrows and focusing on my nock fit
is that arrow flight is significantly
affected by improper nock fit...and
shooting in the wind sucks! Nock pinch
affects arrow flight way more than I
imagined. I've been working to improve
that and it appears I am making major
With three months
until season begins, its time to start finalizing
equipment. I'm getting closer but need
to complete a few things first including
replacement of my bow string. My bad,
too much jacking around with D-loops,
new center servings, rotated peeps, etc.
I hate peeps that don't come back and
June 24, 2017
Wow! Very busy
weekend. Finally figured out some of my
issues with my arrow flight. Nock pinch.
Once I figured that out, I headed for
BPS to pick up some center serving. They
did not have the size I wanted but I
think I bought the size I needed, 0.014.
Wanted 0.018. Re-served my center
serving last night. Hit the target range
(my back yard) at 6:15 this morning and
promptly Robin Hooded two brand new
arrows. Finally! Stupid I didn't realize
I had to figure out
the serving size on my own. Trial and
error. Manufacturer would not tell me
that info. Proprietary they said.
Seriously? I have learned recently that
they only answer questions they want to.
I've sent a few e-mails asking for help.
50% response at best and most of the
time the response does not get me the
info I need or want. One thing that makes
absolutely no sense to me is the size of
the OEM string serving in the first
place. It's way too big for an X-nock.
Hell, it appears way to big for any
small nock. I would say somebody goofed
in the quality control department.
Due to all the messing around I've been
doing, my original string looks scarred
up and beat to
crap. Will probably order a new one
soon. Might try a Winner's Choice this
First time checking
three new cameras
on Saturday. Two WGI
and the new Browning wifi camera.
The wifi camera takes great photos but
not sure the wifi works as described in
the owner's manual. If I remember
correctly, the owners manual says I
should be able to download photos from
60 yards. My 60 yards measures like 10
Wish the WGI cameras
had burst mode. This is my first time
trying the WGI cameras. Got a picture of
a decent looking buck with one of the
WGI cameras but due to lack of burst
mode the number of pictures of the buck
was limited. I like lots of pictures.
Always delete the ones I don't want. I
promptly swapped that camera for a new
Bushnell Aggressor that does have burst
mode. Hope he shows back up. He looks
decent for the end of June.
Based on the pictures
this week I would say antler growth took
a big jump last week. Let's hope it
takes another big one next week. Can you
believe first day of archery season is
only three months away?
June 17, 2017
I was on vacation the
last two weeks. We were deep in the
canyons of Montana in Missoula. Stopped
at Jackson along the way. You can tell
the billionaires chased away the
millionaires in Jackson Hole. The Tetons
are always cool to see.
Why did we pick
Missoula? The Boone
and Crockett Club offered me one of
48 total seats at
their April or June measurer's training
sessions (24 each session). I chose
June. Really didn't want to fight any
winter weather in April. Four-and-a-half
days of learning the history of B&C
and measuring two animals from each of
the major categories. I am officially a
Boone and Crockett measurer now. It took
my time and some treasure but something
that was definitely on my bucket list.
And for you rocket surgeons that think
being a measurer (P&Y and/or
B&C) is something where the Clubs
just call you up and and say "You
are a measurer", you are quite
mistaken. It's an invite and most the of
the treasure is yours. And yes, there
are tests and quizzes.
I have been P&Y
certified since 2000 but have desired
the certification of B&C measurer as
well. I know much more about the club
than I ever knew before. I bet most of
you did not know Teddy Roosevelt started
the club in 1887 and the main mission of
Boone and Crockett is conservation. The
antler and horn records is
We visited the Rocky
Mountain Elk Foundation. Cool place on
the north end of Missoula. We
have added three new Cabela's stores to
our Cabela's stores list. If you ever
make it to Missoula, Cabela's is on the
south side of town and a great barbeque
place is Notorious P.I.G.
Getting a couple of
bucks on camera
that may have some potential. Early yet.
Maybe one that will push B&C minimum
of 160 by the time he is done growing.
We will know more in August.
I picked up some AAE
Max Hunter vanes. Have wanted to try
them for a while. Fletched three arrows
up yesterday. Two fly great but one not
so great. It had something funky going
on with one of the vanes and I did not
notice it until it was done the first
time. I stripped it and reflected it
last night. Will check it today. The Max
Hunter profile is higher than most other
vanes. I can tell that full cable and
riser clearance is tight on the Carbon
June 4, 2017
Fawning time! Captured
my first fawn photos last week.
Nice to have a break
from the rain. Have had to put my scythe
to use the last couple of weekends
knocking the grass down in front of my cameras.
Looks like the Trail
Camera Shootout results are in. Wow!
There are a lot of cameras to choose
Forced myself to walk
away from my constant paper tuning
checks last week. Been difficult. Withdrawal!
Always looking for the perfect bullet
hole. Think I achieved it. Tried French
tuning for the first time last week.
That works okay as long as you can hold
the pin steady on the string from your
plumb bob type setup and get consistent
releases. My string was a little on the
large side but the process seemed to
achieve my goals. Drove the string into
the target quite a few times. I think
that is the idea. My arrow flight is
much more consistent. It looks good at
18 yards. For those of you interested in
French tuning there are lots of videos
on the web to guide you through the
process. It's simple. Just remember
sight first, rest second.
Still doing lots of
reading on fletching and broadheads. I'm
kind of zeroed in on vane noise right
now. Never realized it before but
different vanes are much louder than
others. I suppose it's logical but I can
definitively hear a difference. I have
some new lower profile, stiff vanes.
Very quiet. I would think that would
help the string jumping but we are
dealing with fractions of a second.
Tough to tell. However, I'm not 100%
satisfied with the flight of those
May 26, 2017
I have been doing lots
of trail camera education, lots of John
Dudley video watching, lots of Hoyt
shooting, yard mowing and a home project
or two. I am currently working on my
movable, rustic, bow mechanic bench.
Love the new Browning
cameras from TCP.
Definitely keepers. These cameras just
keep chugging along. Looks like Trailcampro
finished up some major camera testing
this week too. Their tests always
provide a lot of insight to what the
manufacturers are up to.
Have accepted that I
shoot a slow arrow but very satisfied
with the momentum my setup creates. It
should hit with a wallop.
Evidently, my setup was giving some
false positives during my earlier paper
tuning tests. My rest was initially set
and resulted in a bullet hole....but the
rest location was not in the power path
of the Carbon Defiant 34 and the sight
pin did not line up with the end of my
FMJ 340 arrow. I have
had that happen before. This always bugs
I decided to move the
rest out to the bow power path. After a
couple of paper shots I got my bullet
hole. HHHMMMMMM! Not sure what is going
on but I will take it. Bullet hole as a
result of the QAD HDX in the power path and
now my sight pin lines up with the
arrow. Yes! that's my goal.
Now I'm focusing on
shooting form and release. John Dudley
videos to the rescue. Lots of good stuff
here and presented in a form that I
understand. Good job John.
May 13, 2017
Getting the hang of
the new cameras
and what they like best for setups.
Bucks are growing but nothing stands out
quite yet. Have captured a few pictures
of a real healthy bobcat. Big boy.
Zeroing in on my
fletching setup. Have some new Full
Metal Jacket 340s to get setup. Trying the QAD
Exodus fixed blade broadheads this
hear. Everything I've read so far leads
me to believe my arrow flight will be
good. Focusing more on a hardened tip
versus a cut on contact type tip.
May 4, 2017
Been a while. In the
last month I finally got my cameras
redeployed. I purchased a new Hoyt
Carbon Defiant 34, Hoyt one pin slider
sight and QAD HDX rest. I paper tuned
the Hoyt and have a pin dialed in at 20
yards. I have fletched and refletched
numerous arrows. I am currently
evaluating four 2-inch Bohning Blazers
at 90 degrees set 1-3/4 inch from the
nock groove, four 2.5-inch Bohning Heat
vanes set 1-3/4 inch from the nock
groove and my normal three 4-inch AAE
vanes set about 1-1/4 inch from the nock
groove. Been using 125 grain field
points. Now I have a 531 grain, 5 mm FMJ.
Calculated velocity is around 230 fps.
Slow arrow but good momentum. Flight is
really good but the wind noise from the
Blazers appears quite a bit louder than
the Heat Vanes. Makes sense due to the
It's only 5 months
until season is open and we are chasing
critters again! I'm looking for the vane
setup that gives me the best fixed blade
broadhead arrow flight. Stay tuned.
One last thing, for
you bow mechanics out there I've been
watching a lot of John Dudley YouTube videos thanks to a colleague's
recommendation. Good stuff. Endless
amount of information.
Yeah I know, this site
has been a dead zone for a month. I took
a break. It's been way too muddy to
access the farm and maintenance burning
caused me to pull my cameras. Bucks
should have started growing horns
however I did receive a text last week
with a picture of a buck still carrying
both sides and he was decent.
Been looking for sheds
but not any luck for me. Still a fair
amount of bucks carrying horns and the
sheds I'm sure are out there are not on
my side of the fences. I've never really
let my lack of a shed pile bother me as
I'd much rather have a shoulder mount
with the real horns anyway.
continue to take photos. Captured some
really nifty pictures the last few
weeks. Only four months from now there
will be some bucks with awfully big
horns already. Lets all hope those bucks
call our hunting properties home.
Been spending a lot of
time watching John Dudley Youtube
videos. Love the bow mechanic stuff. I
need a bow press. Well need might be a strong
word. Want a bow press is probably more
Been test driving a
few new cameras (Brownings),
looking for sheds and messing with my
are like their earlier models. They do
many things really well. So far so good.
No luck finding sheds
for me. A few of the older bucks have
shed but sill a fair amount of bucks
Watched a video the
other day about vane placement relative
to the nock throat (1.75 inches from the
nock throat). That sure looks like a
long ways when they are on the arrow. I
am trying some 4-fletch Blazer vanes,
helical, 90-degree spacing and 125 grain
field points. In the past I had always
been a three, 4-inch vane proponent with
100 grain field points. I am trying to
move my FOC (Front of Center) location
farther forward. Shot briefly last
evening (half time of ISU game) to see
how my arrows flew. I may be on to
something. Very tight groups. That was
the intent of the adjustment...to
tighten up my groups. Maybe this FOC
thing isn't over-thinking it. Liked my
results so far. My calculations last
weekend showed me that with a Full Metal
Jacket it will be hard to move my weight
forward a lot. I would almost have to go
to a lighter arrow. Not sure I'm ready
to do that. I would gain more velocity
but I really like my FMJs. However,
there are a couple Easton models I may
Went for a good shed
hunting walk yesterday. Still nothing.
Deer have dispersed somewhat and not
focused on one feed field. Might be
tough to find the treasures. Still quite
a few deer carrying their horns.
Test driving some new
cameras now, the Browning
Strike Force 850, Browning Dark Ops 940
and the Browning Strike Force Pro.
So far so good. The Pro is a very small
camera with a view screen like the Recon
Force from last year. I like it. LED
arrangement is much different.
Shot the Hoyt Carbon
Defiant 34 this week. Liked it. I like a
spongy backwall. The 2017 lineup allows
the removal a certain peg on the cam to
allow for this. Otherwise, left in, it
maintains that hard wall feeling...which
I do not like. Most others like the hard
I purchased myself a
little grain scale for $30. Ass an arrow
builder, why I didn't own one of these
10 or 20 years ago is unknown to myself.
Weighed my arrows. 507 grains fully
outfitted. At 55 lbs the online arrow
calculator tells me 247 feet per second,
plus or minus. Weighed my broadheads
too. My Slick Tricks and Muzzy heads
weigh 100 grains or a smidge under at
99+. My G5s all weigh over 100 grains
(105). This is going to be a fun little
tool. I am also learning there is quite
a bit of variability between arrows. My
Realtree Camo FMJs weigh 7-10 grains
different from my other FMJs.
Pulled my camera cards
yesterday. Looked for sheds a little
too. Reached my 10,000 steps. Foot
hurts. Some yahoo felt the need to shed
hunt mine before me (tracks in the
snow). Many bucks
still carrying both sides anyway.
Going to revamp my
tree stand types next season. More
bowhunting type ladders. Not sure the
stand makers get it yet. Stands need to
have a full platform beneath the seat
and a flip up seat like a hang on so a
person can lean against the tree. Might
have found one that is close but still
has light extended metal platform. Many
of the existing flip up seats don't
allow a guy to lean against the tree.
Browning came out with
their new 2017
cameras already. It was Christmas at
my house again this week as the new Dark
Ops 940 HD and Strike Force 850 HD
came in the mail. Looks like Moultrie
has also released some of their 2017
Spent a little time
last week trying to lengthen the draw on
my back up bow. My Hoyt Carbon Element
has always felt a little short at 30
inches. Got the bowpress out and
untwisted by bow string a few times. Had
to redo my string look and peep sight
but think I got it done. Feels longer.
Would like to shoot outside for my final
approval. Will wait for warm weather
The legislature is
back in session. Make sure to keep
apprised of proposed legislation
affecting your favorite recreational