Deer Blog Photos 2017 Success 2017 Trail Cameras Hunting in Iowa About Us

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deer Blog

 

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 shot. 

Captured some good smart phone video of a very nice 2-year old 4x4.

 

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 critters.

 

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. No shots.

 

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 works.

 

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 different farm.

 

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 my cathedral.

 

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. Frustrating. 

 

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 disciplined.

 

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 quiet.

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 encounter.

 

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 feed.

 

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? Damn it!!!

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 friends.

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 most part.

 

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.

Tried something 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 followed.

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. Busted!

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 tempting.

 

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 bastards!

 

November 8, 2017, Hunt #21, P.M.

Completely changed 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 tomorrow morning.

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 wishing. 

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 hunt.

 

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.

The afternoon 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.

Expectations were 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 dark.

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. Nothing special.

 

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 are big.

 

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 think.

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 young bucks.

 

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 wolves.

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 it.

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 rise.

 

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 land.

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 the hook.

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.

Good hunt!

 

October 20, 2017, Hunt #7, P.M.

Windy! Understatement. 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. Awesome!

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 the grip.

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 like brothers.

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 patches.

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 trail.

 

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 lawn.

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.

It's always 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 school.

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. Be safe!

GP out!

 

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.

I've only 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 yards.

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 time!

 

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 years ago.

 

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 large diameter.

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 decent limbs.

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 cussing.

My final hunting setup for 2017:

  1. Hoyt 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),

  2. My sight is a Hoyt one pin slider sight, and

  3. My rest is a black QAD HDX rest,

  4. Arrows 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 patriotic Onestringer custom wraps, Merica!

  5. First broadhead out of the quiver will be 125 grain QAD Exodus broadheads (full blade) with Slick Trick Standard broadheads and G5 Strikers next in line (I might add G5 Montecs and one other to be determined),

  6. Release 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 STAN Shooutout Blackout (medium) or STAN SX3 Quattro (medium). That SX3 looks like one sweet thumb release.

 

The 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 down some. 

 

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 chase.

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 try it.

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 wound up!

 

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 shoot.

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. "Calling

 

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 windy days.

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 be cool.

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 old.

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

Checked cameras 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 extraordinary.

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 headway.

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 settle perfectly.

 

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 this sooner. 

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 time.

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 yards. HHHMMM! 

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 Defiant 34.

 

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 from.

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 arrows yet.

 

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 me.

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 profile difference.

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.

 

April 8, 2017

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.

 

March 5, 2017

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.

Cameras 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 accurate.

 

February 5, 2017

Been test driving a few new cameras (Brownings), looking for sheds and messing with my arrows.

The Brownings 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 carrying horns.

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 try.

 

February 5, 2017

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 backwall.

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.

 

January 10, 2017

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 lineup.

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 however.

The legislature is back in session. Make sure to keep apprised of proposed legislation affecting your favorite recreational habit.

 

 

 

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