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Posts tagged “deer hunting

Deer Hunting: Late Season is a Game Changer

By Kevin Reese

Christmas Credit Where It’s Due… Before we talk late season hunting, Kelly, Jacob and I would like to wish you and your families the merriest of Christmases this year. Our prayer through this holiday season is simply that you know, understand and embrace the Reason for the season. Make a simple birthday song your newest Christmas tradition. Santa is one cool cat but not nearly as awesome as the Lion and the Lamb. Give credit where it’s due this Christmas and commit random acts of kindness.

That said, let’s talk hunting…

Mike Kormos, Editor at the Corsicana Daily Sun, in Corsicana, TX, takes a nice 8-pt. buck!

Corsicana, Texas resident, Mike Kormos and a nice 8-Pt.

Late season deer hunting, fraught with the challenges of downright cold temps and bucks that have decided the nightlife is better for their health. Too often, it seems, deer lockdown after the rut, while does still dot the landscape on occasion, bucks have wised-up and don’t care nearly as much about the does as they did weeks earlier. Food sources change, too. Acorns are on the ground, others sources have dried up or gone… the changing season seems to change EVERTHING we know about deer hunting from the early season through the rut.

I often remind people that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results. Consistently hunting an area, or hunting it the same way is never a good idea; after all, if food sources, activity, temperatures and down-and-dirty deer behavior (rut) have all changed, why wouldn’t you change the way and places you hunt?

It’s easy for us to get stuck in a routine; it’s a path of least resistance – we don’t have to change anything – same Bat channel, same Bat time. Unfortunately the fault in our logic often is that as much as we think we have deer patterned, by mid-season they have likely patterned us; they know the paths we take to our stands or blinds and know where those setups are located. You might get the surprise of your life if you change the setup. More than once, simple changes have been the difference between seeing nothing… AGAIN, and killing the buck of a lifetime.

Consider trading in your regular spot for something less expected. Don’t be afraid to scout and find prospective areas during a quiet, scent controlled mid-day browse but stay away from known bedding areas and keep your bow or rifle with you – you just never know – stranger things have happened. Consider predominant winds when you find signs of deer activity like scat, scrapes, hoof prints, rubs, etc. Set up your blind or stand on the downwind side of observed activity. After setting up a stand or blind in a new location stay out of the area for several days, if possible, before returning to hunt.

Consider what it is exactly you are hunting over and whether interest in those food and water sources change as temperatures drop, acorns fall and the season progresses. How does the change from fall to winter alter activity and food sources? Are they rutting? Is that trail if front of your setup still used? Is water close by? Is it still their first or only choice? Use changes in weather and activity as the measuring stick you use to grade the effectiveness of your current position. Is it time to change your game? When deer have disappeared, your only option is to find out where they went.

Hunt funnels, pinch points, water sources, trails and areas with heavy acorn concentration or other desirable food sources; ask any hunter sitting over a feeder what happens when the acorns fall. In short, those changes must define where and how you hunt. Hunting over active sign as the season progresses makes infinitely more sense than sticking to the same old setup because you saw a buck working a scrape in early October. The lesson here is, “The only constant is change.”

A lack of success spanning the season can be more than frustrating; it can be downright mentally and physically draining. Human nature, if not kept in check, is to see your cup half empty. Pessimism is a hunter, too. It invades your thoughts and manipulates your decisions. Remember how many times Thomas Edison learned how NOT to make a light bulb? You may remember my pop’s best advice; I’ve made mention of it many times, “If you ask a thousand girls to dance, one of ’em’s gonna’ say, ‘Yes.’” There is nothing truer in our pursuit of wild game although there are times you must change the way you ask the question or approach the “girl”. Often, your biggest hurdle is yourself. Be a warrior against pessimism and a champion of tenacity. Attitude is everything; it either keeps you indoors or pushes you in the woods for another day of celebrating our outdoor heritage no matter the odds or the outcome. “You can’t win if you don’t play!” I’ll see you in the woods.

Hunt hard, hunt often.

TIPS FOR A GREAT HUNTING PHOTO: Be in natural settings, not in the back of a truck or a garage floor. Clean up as much blood as you can. RESPECT THE ANIMAL. Keep rifle barrels pointed away from people. Take the photo from a lower position… your deer will grow! Consider if you would frame the photo and place it on your mantle. If you would, great! If not, take the time to get it right.

Brian Beauchamp Buck 2014-sm


Crosman’s Benjamin Rogue .357 Air Rifle

Wild, Wooly and Ready for Hogs, Deer and More!

By Kevin Reese

Click here to visit Crosman online!

Is an air rifle enough to stop that next bruiser boar or buck of a lifetime? A quick trip back to the Lewis and Clark expedition would answer that question through proven results; in fact, their single Girandoni air rifle is considered by many to be the REAL gun that won the west. The .46-caliber Girandoni fired up to 40 shots on a single charge and the tube magazine held up to 22 rounds that could be emptied in less than 30 seconds.

Girandoni Air Rifle courtesy of the U.S. Army

August 30, 1803 – “Left Pittsburgh this day at 11 ock with a party of 11 hands 7 of which are soldiers, a pilot and three young men on trial they having proposed to go with me throughout the voyage. Arrived at Bruno’s Island 3 miles below halted a few minutes. Went on shore and being invited on by some of the gentlemen present to try my airgun which I had purchased brought it on shore charged it and fired myself seven times fifty-five yards with pretty good success.”

(Lewis and Clark Journals, Volume 1)

Lewis and Clark’s journals, comprised of 13 volumes and more than a million words, refer to the Girandoni air rifle 39 times. While they also had 22 muzzleloaders it was the Girandoni air rifle they turned to repeatedly to demonstrate superior fire power to Native Americans, a move more than anything to protect the contents of their keel vessel.

While the expedition only had one Girandoni, tribe leaders could and did assume the keel vessel was loaded down with them and the thought of 38 men firing 22 .46-caliber balls accurately in less than 30 seconds was quite intimidating.

The rifle was also used effectively for big game hunting and was the perfect answer for repeatable fire without compromising powder supplies needed for the 22 muzzleloaders. Merriweather Lewis’ use of the Girandoni rifle nearly single handedly assured safe passage and charting of the west for future expansion and certainly proved its worth in hunting.

Check out this informative video about the Girandoni’s Air Rifle’s rich history from NRA-History:

Today, people continue to depend on air rifles and other firearms to provide for their families’ sustenance, including big game. The good news, however, is that unlike the 1,500 pumping repetitions required to hand-fill the Girandoni, today’s charging systems aren’t nearly as arduous.

While smaller caliber air rifles may operate off of factory sealed disposable tanks or age-old hand-pumps, high-powered, big-game-oriented rifles like my personal favorite, Crosman’s Benjamin Rogue .357-caliber Precision Air Rifle, are easily charged up to 3,000-psi with a 3,000- to 3,500-psi scuba-style air tank.

The Benjamin Rogue also does not look anything like Lewis’ Girandoni. While both are considered PCP systems, the Rogue’s patent-pending ePCP™ technologyePCP™ technologyePCP™ technologyePCP™ technology means more versatility and increased power while the patent-pending eVALVE system makes for more efficient use of the air charge via precision, user-selected distribution options. Shooters not only have some great ammunition choices to make, including round-nosed, flat-nosed and Nosler’s eXTREME ballistic tip bullets, they can even use their own cast .357-caliber pellets.

Click here to visit Crosman online!The Rogue’s EPiC™ LED display and selection buttons allow configuration of key ballistic elements including medium-high foot-pounds of energy/velocity options and bullet weights of medium (up to 145 grains) and high (over 145 grains). The rifle even includes manual mode setting. In manual mode, the shooter can calibrate air pressure and valve-release delay to experiment with ballistics and achieve optimum performance from their favorite heart-stopping pellet!

Click here to visit Crosman online!While the Benjamin Rogue can make for a tough carrier over long distances, Crosman’s Center-Point 4-16x44mm riflescope does shave that walk down a tad and a picatinny rail system allows for added accessories to increase fit, form and function according to individual needs.

On the Benjamin Rogue air rifle I worked with, I used the picatinny rail to mount interchangeable sitting and kneeling bipods and a Hawglite Sabre high-intensity red LED tactical lighting system that gets me out to well over 100 yards; however, I try to keep larger animals like coyotes, deer and hogs within 75 yards.

Click here to visit Crosman online!

Nearly all states allow hunting with air guns in some form or another; check your state regulations for game specific applications, especially before chasing larger animals like deer, hogs, bear and other traditionally recognized big game animals normally taken with firearms or archery equipment. Here in Texas, the Benjamin Rogue .357 is tough enough to take down the biggest boars in the woods and often quiet enough to anchor more than one of those pesky, yet tasty eating bruisers! That means deer also are easy prey for the Rogue – pick your poison!

Imagine the buzz circulating your deer or hog hunting camp when you drop the hammer on your next success story with an air rifle! The Benjamin Rogue .357 Air Rifle is more than enough to get the job done for you and is by far my favorite air rifle offering to date. Check out these happy hunters!

Ed Schultz and Chip Hunnicut take a great hog with the Benjamin Rogue .357 Air Rifle - Photo courtesy of Ed Schultz

Chip Hunnicut take a great velvet buck with the Benjamin Rogue .357 Air Rifle - Photo courtesy of Chip Hunnicutt

ALMOST All the Right Stuff – What I wasn’t so excited about…

Part of field testing some amazing products is really isolating opportunities for improvement. While I feel Crosman really has something special in the Benjamin Rogue, again, it’s my current favorite, hands down, there are two areas of improvement worth mentioning.

First, loading the magazine with pellets and subsequently loading that magazine into the rifle’s action took quite a bit of practice. While loading the magazine with pellets I dropped my fair share (In Crosman’s defense the instruction manual warned me to cover the opposite opening with my finger).

Second, while there is a picatinny rail located at the bottom of the handguard more rails on the sides of the handguard would be a great addition. The lower rail could be used for a bipod while side rails could accommodate systems like the Hawglite Goblin or Crimson Trace CMR-201 Rail Master laser; product reviews for another day. With one rail accessories are either stacked or not added. This may be a great opportunity to offer an array of handguards.

Final Thoughts

Part of my fascination with air rifles is simply nostalgia. Time on an air rifle reminds me of time spent shooting with my dad… and even my mother; she’s a heck of a shot, too! With my son, that air rifle legacy continues. His aversion to loud noises, a product of sensory integration, means that shooting air rifles even offers some therapeutic benefits in that he gets to enjoy shooting while avoiding the report of larger firearms, bothersome to him even with hearing protection. At some point, conditioning should resolve his aversion but we choose to eat sensory integration as we would an elephant. Whether shooting a .17-caliber or my wild and wooly Benjamin Rogue .357, Jacob is ready to go.

Hunt hard, hunt often and consider taking the Crosman Benjamin Rogue .357 Air Rifle on your next hunting adventure!

Learn more about Lewis and Clark’s incredible expedition at 

Learn more about the Girandoni Air Rifle visit and type Girandoni Air Rifle in the search field.

Visit,, and to learn more about the Benjamin Rogue .357 and other great shooting and hunting accessories.



Improving scouting and odds of criminal prosecution one photo at a time… 

By Kevin Reese 

Click here to visit!Much of my writing over the years has revolved around scouting and preparation as key elements of successful and ethical hunting. While trap, game or trail cameras have been around for over 100 years, the past 15 years have demonstrated the single most aggressive swing in trail camera use for scouting and preparation. And, while trail cameras do significantly improve our ability to scout, plan and hunt, cameras are steadily evolving to include security. Over the past five years I’ve followed the security aspect of trail camera use quite closely and have enjoyed watching advances applied to one model after another. One company I’ve watched carefully over the past several years is SpyPoint.

From the IR-B in 2008, through the game changing technology built into the Tiny-W cameras, to the 2013 SpyPoint Live 3G, I’ve watched SpyPoint consistently walk the leading edge of trail camera technology. More importantly, they do so with such dedication to the protection and security of their clients there is little need to look elsewhere for multitasking products that not only track your wildlife, but give you a fighting chance to catch thugs in the act! And, as you’ll learn, the Live 3G, SpyPoint’s latest high-tech offering, has an added surprise sure to take accountability to new heights.

Live 3G – Finally, Affordable Cell Service!

While the rest of the trail camera marketplace focuses on cost-prohibitive cellular servicing, ridiculously high resolution that most hunters really don’t care much about and adding sound to video clips, SpyPoint has already been there, done that. Sure the SpyPoint Pro-X is a great at 12MP and the use of high resolution photos resonates with wildlife photographers, we don’t necessarily need that much resolution, or that much storage eaten up, to scout or catch a bad guy.

Today’s SpyPoint cameras focus on offering the best combination of scouting and security currently available. While SpyPoint still offers high resolution cameras for discerning wildlife photographers, the latest SpyPoint homeruns, the Tiny W-2 and Live 3G offer 8MP resolution to capture detail those important details without needlessly filling up your SD card. Want Black LED’s, video sound, wifi, cellular, resolution, simple interface and integrated viewers? SpyPoint has all of them! But, there’s more… and that “more” is going to do more than shock you… it will rock the world of criminals everywhere!

Click here to visit!

Hunter’s Best Friend, Punks Worst NIGHTMARE! 

Imagine someone at the top listening to your whims, wishes, moans and groans then actually addressing them! Now imagine a company listening to the wish lists and gripes of people using other manufacturers’ trail cameras? What don’t they like? What can we do to help them? Let’s be honest, what’s on your trail camera wish list? Let me drop a boot by sharing what I would like to see in a trail camera:

  • Decent resolution but not over the top
  • Video with sound, if that turns my rotors
  • Faster trigger times – I mean, down to zero!
  • Multiple detection zones – see trigger time… not a back leg!
  • Affordable cellular service – I’m on a budget
  • Integrated viewing and configuration window, controls
  • Multi-Shot capabilities
  • Reduced, or increased, shot intervals – depending on my mood
  • Most Important – I want to catch the trash who stole my camera
  • I want to drive to his house and get my camera back!

Click here to visit!

Now, let me drop the other boot… IT’S HERE!

I recently setup my new SpyPoint Live 3G and found out some great things along the way! The Live 3G can be used as a stand-alone or cellular based trail camera. The cellular service knocked me for a loop; I was a bit scared of the cost factor; I had played with others and paid dearly for it. To my surprise, the cost is incredibly affordable. SpyPoint Live 3G allows you to use your current AT&T account or a pay as you go Truphone account.

Click here to visit!

Click here to visit!The first step in my Live 3G experience was to create a account. hosts webpages I use to manage my camera settings and manage my images. In, I dictate image intervals, camera modes and other camera settings. Part of settings is the type of image I would like to transmit. Since I elected to keep my data at 100mb per month (no more than $15 monthly), I chose to transmit thumbnails with the option to download full size images with the click of a button. After thumbnail transmission, the thumbnails appear on my content management page. Along with image transmissions, I used configuration settings to receive text and email messages whenever images are transmitted.

The camera comes with a Truphone sim card; however, again, you can elect to use your AT&T sim card. I chose Truphone to minimize my costs. Once the sim card is activated and the camera is registered with, your camera in ready to communicate.

Full-sized images are taken at intervals you select, down to every 10 seconds and resolution is set at 8MP. Five (5) zones of detection mean a blistering fast trigger speed, down to zero seconds. IR technology has improved dramatically over the years. The Live 3G utilizes 48 LED lights to capture images out to at least 50 feet on the darkest of nights. My personal SpyPoint Live 3G is capturing every bit of 50 feet… and a few feet more with exceptional clarity.

Click here to visit!The security features are where this camera trumps everything else on the market! Not only do you capture images of perpetrators, those photos are transmitted for download. The camera also sends messages to your cell phone that your camera is being moved. You can even report the camera stolen in Reporting the Live 3G stolen locks the camera up (until you retrieve it) and provides you with GPS coordinates for your camera every 10 minutes! That’s right, the Live 3G has a tracking device! Imagine the punk’s surprise when you show up at his door, perhaps with the local authorities, and demand your camera back. To help you on your search, you’ve likely already captured images of the perpetrator! Security at its finest – If you want peace of mine, you need SpyPoint Live 3G!

What’s this world coming to, you ask? It’s coming to a place where honest people reclaim the upper hand. Much like video cameras record the good, bad and ugly of daily life, SpyPoint captures the good, bad and ugly of our outdoor lifestyle. Since the late 1800s, trail cameras have been used to answer questions. Today’s cameras, like the SpyPoint Live 3G, answers many more questions than some people bargain for.

So, What’s NOT to Like?

“Not like” is such a strong term. It’s not a dislike inasmuch as it’s a “wish I had”.  After all, the Live 3G is, by far, my favorite of SpyPoint’s entire lineup… and I’ve used a number of different models over the years.  So, here is what I wish I had in the Live 3G. I would love to be able to synchronize on demand. It may already exist; however, if it does then my gripe would be that the instructions, from what I read, did not reveal how I might activate that function. If I could push a button and automatically synchronize that would take my trail cameras desires right over the top!

A second improvement would be to add an outdoor booster to improve cellular signal and transmission. This is NOT a fault of the camera but I would love to see a battery powered external cellular signal booster to reach even further off the beaten path.

Final Thoughts

Even considering the cons that, frankly, I really had to search high and low for, the Live 3G is by far my favorite of not just SpyPoint’s offerings, but all trail camera offerings. As I mentioned earlier, the innovation, details and dedication to quality evident in this model assures me that SpyPoint cares about more than just my scouting, they care about protecting my best interests. Even better, they give me recourse that NO OTHER trail camera to date offers. The SpyPoint Live 3G has been such a mind-blowing joy ride, I can’t imagine what they’ll come up with next!

Click here to visit!

For more information about SpyPoint’s incredible line of trail cameras and their latest ultra-cool product, The Xcel HD Action Camera (Watch for that review soon!), visit

Bowhunting Madness!

Full Draw on the Boys of Fall!

By Kevin Reese

Click here to visit!You have to admit, summer has been relatively mellow this year compared to the inferno we endured in 2011 making the contrast in seasons nearly seamless; in fact this opening week of archery-deer season promises highs in the 80’s! The truth is, while we haven’t noticed much of a change, our whitetail population knows what time of year it is. Temperatures are cooler, acorns are falling, the antlers are back and the velvet is gone. It won’t be long now before gentle sparring on a set of horns becomes a great way to lure in the deer of a lifetime. I love early season hunting – the gentle coolness of morning sweeping across my cheeks, the heavy scent of cedar and dew in the air and early signs of the impending rut. What a perfect time to venture beyond the sea of asphalt and concrete in search of yourself and your buck of a lifetime!

Rifle hunting can be tough but nothing like the often maddening stick and string chase. Bowhunting means confident shooting, getting so close you can see lungs expand and muscles twitch. Like the planets, numerous variables must align when bowhunting; prepare to experience the highest of highs and lowest of lows! Take my word for it; I’ve experience more than my fair share of epic failures. So, in an effort to preserve your early season sanity here are some tips to up your odds in our October woods.

ü  The Cloak of Invisibility: Camouflage is critical when deer hunting. I’m not necessarily talking about color but breaking up your outline is a must. Disappearing is the name of the game. While as a general rule, deer do not see color (at least in the same way we do) they do notice shapes and lines that are not natural to their environment.  If you hunt from a ground blind, black is your key to invisibility; consider the color of the interior of your blind. Make sure you are sitting toward the back of the blind and keep opposing windows closed. You never want to silhouette yourself in the ground blind. They may not see YOU but they will see you MOVE! Even the best hidden hunters are easily seen as soon as they move to scratch, drink some water, adjust in their stand – the opportunities and reasons to move are endless.

ü  Home Sweet Home: Scouting is vital. Setting up your home away from home means figuring out where and how deer are moving. Where are food and water sources, bedding areas and primary trails? Watch for rubs, scrapes, tracks, scat and other signs of activity. Trail cameras are great for scouting areas. Consider predominant wind direction, shade and sunlight to pick your new hunting spot. Don’t hunt upwind. A great solution to hunting regardless of wind direction is to setup stands or blinds on opposing sides of where you believe deer can be intercepted. Ensure you set up close enough to make a confidant shot if the moment of truth arrives. Trail cameras can be a great way to catch trespassers.

*Cameras like SpyPoint’s Tiny-W2 now have the technology to pass photos instantly to “black box” hidden in another area of the woods safeguarding photos of the criminals from being erased. (

ü  Win by a Nose: Like hogs, beating a deer’s nose can seem nearly impossible! Make sure to hunt downwind and follow a rigid routine of scent control. Many items are available to control your scent including laundry detergent, dryer sheets, storage bins and bags for your clothes, gear, shampoo, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, gum, cover scent products, etc. Work to control your stink with scent eliminating products like Dead Down Wind and cover scents. Dead Down Wind also makes wipes, great for toting in your back pack or fanny pack. Don’t forget to spray the bottom of your boots, yourself and your gear down with scent eliminating spray again before walking into the woods!

*Visit Dead Down Wind online to browse my favorite line of scent eliminating products.(

A couple of other great products to carry into the woods include:

Revelation Amp Hunting Knife( The Amp is razor sharp and includes a bone saw, gut hook, drop-point blade and high intensity lights for nighttime field dressing.Click here to visit!

ThermaCELL( I can honestly say I’ve been using a ThermaCELL for years and have yet to receive a mosquito bite while the unit is in operation. It’s quite possibly the coolest invention since ice cubes!Click here to visit!

Alpen Binoculars( I love the idea of premium glass at blue collared prices. I love the quality of these binoculars and the no-questions-asked lifetime warranty. A hunter without good optics is often at a severe disadvantage!Click here to visit

Following these tips won’t guarantee you that big buck but they’ll certainly increase your chances. On a pre-rut note, don’t be afraid to rattle the horns but start with some light sparring and keep your eyes open. The boys of fall are in your midst!

Hunt hard, hunt often.

Cold Weather Bowhunting

Seven Tips Every Extreme Hunter Should Know

*As published at

By Kevin Reese

Cold weather bowhunting offers great opportunities to see and harvest some of our nation’s finest trophies in some of the most pristine environments on the planet; however, doing so comes at a price. Do you have what it takes to stand up against brutal subzero conditions? Hunting deer in some of Montana’s most brutal, bone-chilling environments, where survival is dependent on preparation and on the fly decision making has taught me some valuable lessons. Here are the top seven:


Stand Guard… in Layers!

Dressing for cold weather hunting is not as much about dressing in layers as what comprises the layers. Starting with a moisture-wicking under garment like Under Armour is a great way to suppress moisture, by way of perspiration. The next layer, also good as the initial base layer is a set of polypropylene thermal underwear. Polypropylene also possesses great moisture wicking, great drying, breathing and insulating characteristics. The next layer may be comprised of fleece. Fleece shares the nearly the same insulating ability as wool at half the weight; however, because of its inability to protect from biting wind, I do not recommend it as your outer layer. My personal choice for an outer layer is wool. Yes, wool is heavy, but it’s virtually waterproof, protects well from the brutal whipping wind and has a phenomenal insulating factor. And, because bulk is a bowhunter’s enemy, wool is quieter and far less bulky than most down outer wear applications. Because we also spend a lot of time on our feet, heat loss via conduction is a serious concern. My premier choice for footwear is a 1600-gram Thinsulate waterproof hunting boot at mid-calf height; coupled with wool socks and ThermaCELL’s new Heated Insoles, the combination cannot be beat! Turn the ThermaCELL Heated Insoles to the high setting of 111 degrees and you’ll swear your sitting fireside!


Hypo What?

Hypothermia! It’s the number one killer of ill-prepared hunters in blistering cold conditions. Hypothermia attacks when your body temperature drops to a point that impacts normal metabolism and your body is incapable of replenishing lost heat, usually around 95 degrees. As hypothermia quickly progresses uncontrollable shivering and mental confusion set in leaving a slightly disoriented hunter utterly lost and incapable of making critical, sound decisions. The number one catalyst for a healthy dose of hypothermia is moisture. Killing moisture at its onset is critical to combating opportunities to develop hypothermia.


Keep it Covered!

Keep every exposed part of your body covered, at least within reason. We can’t very well run around like wool mummies but we can protection from conduction as mentioned above. A fleece or wool balaclava is perfect for dangerously cold temperatures where frostbite is a concern on exposed skin and ice particles may be as comfortable to breathe in as you would like. Good boots and insulated bowhunting gloves also are essential to protect against frostbite.


Compression is King!

As mentioned above, wool is a great choice as an outer garment not just because of its great insulating properties but also because unlike other bulky garments, wool is generally flat, laying close to your body contour. Before hunting in cold weather, dress in all layers you expect to hunt in and practice. Ensure there is no contact between you, your bow and your string. Also make sure your layers do not inhibit your ability to shoot with proper form and anchor in the proper place. Contact with layers must be dealt with and can be improved by applying a compression sock to the forearm of your forward hand and even an outer belt around your torso, if necessary.


Survival is Serious Business!

Carry a first aid kit and outdoor survival kit including water-resistant matches or a lighter, fire starters, a compass and or a GPS, your cell phone, emergency blanket, poncho and other items in your backpack. You may laugh but I also carry my ThermaCELL mosquito repellant unit. ThermaCELL operates by igniting a butane cartridge via a spark; one cartridge can burn for as long as four hours. In a pinch, that ThermaCELL unit does a great job of warming hands and other things and the butane may come in handy as a fire starter if you find yourself in survival mode! Great resources expanding on first aid and survival kits can easily be found via your internet search engine.


Eat Like a King!

 High calorie foods also are suggested; your metabolism has more to do with your body heat than many people realize. You must have calorie intake to keep your metabolism at a normal state. Slowing of your metabolism as a result of calorie intake can lead to loss of body heat and hypothermia.


Plan Your Hunt, Hunt Your Plan!

Having a plan before you hit the woods just makes survival sense! Adhering to a good plan only increases your chances of having a successful, memorable and safe hunt. However, things can and do happen when we least expect it. Anytime you venture into the woods, especially in extreme, life threatening temperatures, make sure you outline your hunt as much as possible. Include detailed information about your hunt locations, dates, times of travel, trail markers, companies, outfitters, other hunters in your party including contact information, etc. Leave a copy of all of your plans with someone you trust who is not going with you. If the unthinkable happens, people are more apt to effect product searches by using a copy of your itinerary and hunt plan.

Kevin can be reached at for questions and comments.

Guts, Grit and Glory

Inside the Mind of a Bowhunter

*As published at

By Kevin Reese

 Friend and owner of Hardcore Huntin’ Music, Steve Conover says it best in a song from his Hardcore Huntin’ Hits CD entitled Real Tree Hugger. “Rise, kill and eat. That’s good enough for me. It’s a tree huggin’ way of life.” The shortest way to explain a real tree hugger is simply to provide sustenance for their family; however, hidden in the shadow of simple provision lies the complexity of what truly drives a tree huggin’ bowhunter into the woods. Human nature, spiritual fulfillment and the flat-out adrenaline rush that follows a double-lung shot at close range are a few of those complexities that keep us in the woods day after day, season after season with stick and string in hand.


Proud Providers

There is no debating our primary objective. While the “journey” and coinciding memories are a the heart of a successful hunt, there is no denying the principle reason we are hunting and passing on our heritage as hunters. We are either providing or teaching to provide. If we weren’t trying to fill the freezer we couldn’t really call it hunting, could we? We were perfectly designed to provide and by nature our instincts tell us we must in order to ensure survival. While we have any number of other options to provide in this day and age, the nature of provision has never loosened its grip. If anything it has become the driving force behind our total bowhunting experience; leaving us not just as providers but considering our means of take there truly is a sense of pride in success.


Finding YOUR Center-Shot

Establishing your center-shot in archery involves a tuning technique that perfectly aligns your arrow with your limbs, string, bow sight and arrow rest. With finely tuned center-shot your arrows fly much truer; there’s a certain raw beauty in good arrow flight that assures us we’ll hit our mark if everything we’ve done up to the point of release is also aligned.


While rifle hunters scratch their heads at a bowhunter’s shear tenacity in the stand, we seldom call it tenacity ourselves. We call it exorcising our inner demons, reversing our priorities and clearing out our waste baskets of meaningless-busyness. While rifle hunters wonder how we can spend countless hours waiting on one good shot, we wonder how they miss the greatest trophy of all… finding your center-shot.


Look ‘Em in the Eye

I love a good hunting story. I’ve listened to scores of tall tales about spectacular kills from afar, fogged scopes, misfires at the moment of truth and perfect shots; however, a vast majority of the stories lack what a bowhunter craves most – intimacy. Certain intangible rewards reveal themselves to every bowhunter during the most critical moments that rifle hunters rarely experience. Look ‘em in the eye. Witness the haunting thud of your arrow as it pushes through hide and into the vitals. Experience the adrenaline of up close and personal hunting where you know your prey on a level rifle hunters simply do not understand or embrace.


Guts, Grit and Glory

This is where guts meet grit head on; the place where a bowhunter’s story rivets the rifle hunter; it rarely happens the other way around. Embracing the opportunity to get outdoors and close the distance means embracing the good, bad and ugly of bowhunting. Doing so surely leads to the one intangible reward bowhunters crave more than meat on the table – glory! Nothing plays in the mind and on the heartstrings of a bowhunter more than glory. Some would call it the X-factor. Whatever you call it; few rifle hunters ever experience it.  

…and they think we’re crazy!

Hunt hard, hunt often.

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An Ounce of Prevention

Listen, Scout & Know Before You Go!

*As published at

By Kevin Reese


I knew I was going to be hunting there and had the time to go. He even invited me to help check stands, etc. but I declined; I was simply too busy. The result of my inability to “make time” was the excruciating hunt I describe for you below.


The Cost of Poor Planning


My guts wrenched as panic struck. I watched as the sun rose while frantically scanning the ground below. 20 feet up in my climbing stand, I succumbed to the brutal realization that what I thought was a trail in front of me was simply the remnants of one. The searing heat radiating through my insides intensified when my eyes locked on a super highway not more than 100 yards to my right; it was heavily cloaked by a mesquite thicket but would have been easily seen in the daylight. The sight was double upsetting than simply hunting an old trail, and it got worse. Over my right shoulder where I never expected to shoot was a significant branch covered in trash, completely blocking any potential for a shot regardless of distance; the only remaining shooting lanes were to the front and on my left side at 90 degrees. With daylight now sweeping away the shadows, it was too late to adjust. I rattled quite a bit and brought in several great bucks that hit a doe trail early on and blew me off. I could have rappelled from my treestand and it wouldn’t have made any difference to them.


Several of the bucks I rattled in would have been considered a trophy in anyone’s book; they had mass, points, spread, maturity, everything! However, the only one I pulled within range of my ill-planned setup was young 6-point. It was nice to watch him from a distance of only five yards but frustrating at the same time. While watching those bucks file down the super highway in the distance and witnessing this young buck eating grass at such close range, all I could think about was “I can’t… I’m too busy.” If I would have spent even 30 minutes walking the area weeks before, I would have known exactly where to place my stand in that general area. The result was that my stand was hung in the worst possible area and in the worst direction.


Fool Me Twice… Shame on Me!


It was like rewinding a video tape to a previous year’s hunt. I thought I had learned my lesson but obviously had not. I’m reminded of an old adage, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” I don’t think it ever applied to my hunting life anymore than in those two hunts combined. The good news is I am still able to get into a climbing stand (or any other) and easily trek back up a tree. Lord willing, that ability will continue to exist for many years to come so I have ample opportunities to make good on lessons learned.


My advice is simply to walk on the rocks I stumble on; learn from my mistakes and hard-learned missteps to avoid pitfalls like the one I described above. The easiest way to prevent epic failures in your hunting experiences is by listening to people, scouting and learning about the animals you pursue. Be prepared for as many situations as you can dream up, especially with bowhunting where every detail is critical. In the end, success and mistakes combined, hunting is more about the journey than the end of a blood trail.  


Hunt hard, hunt often.


Kevin can be reached at for questions and comments.