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Deer Blog

 

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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