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Posts tagged “scouting

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

 


SPYPOINT’S LIVE 3G: TOP DOG IN TRAIL CAMERA EVOLUTION

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

By Kevin Reese 

Click here to visit SpyPoint.com!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 SpyPoint.com!

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 SpyPoint.com!

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 SpyPoint.com!

Click here to visit SpyPoint.com!The first step in my Live 3G experience was to create a MySpyPoint.com account. MySpyPoint.com hosts webpages I use to manage my camera settings and manage my images. In MySpyPoint.com, 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 MySpyPoint.com 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 MySpyPoint.com, 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 SpyPoint.com!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 MySpyPoint.com. 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 SpyPoint.com!

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 www.SpyPoint.com.


SpyPoint’s Tiny-W2 Trail Camera

Gimmick or Game Changer?

By Kevin Reese
www.just-hunt.com

I high-stepped slowly, taking care to keep the briars underfoot while dodging brittle twigs and branches threatening to signal the alarm to certain nearby critters. It was quite a long trek, I remember, especially in complete darkness. It was 4:30 a.m.; the frost-laden cloak of blacks and grays would not succumb to the golden hues of a rising sun for a couple of hours. Wind direction was perfect, hunting over the super-highway 20 yards in front of my ground blind was going to make for an easy hunt.

Another hundred yards through the briars and blood weeds brought me into a familiar clearing. I headed around the side of the clearing and edged back into the opposite tree line where I had carefully tucked my ground blind and brushed it in. As I neared the blind area cut back limbs and bare ground emerged. Only the branches and foliage I had used to conceal my setup remained. Someone had stolen my ground blind!

Why do we feel that electrical charge course through our veins the moment we realize we’ve become the victim of a crime? What causes that empty shutter in the pit of your stomach as you start processing the crime scene? I could feel my heart pounding and hear it in my ears. My stomach turned the feeling there was hollow right down to the pit. When were they here? I made my way over to a nearby tree to grab my trail camera and realized my horrible morning had become a nightmare they had stolen my trail camera as well – no blind, no camera and no photos of the perpetrators. Call them what you will, criminals, thieves, trespassers – they were all of the above!

What I wanted more than anything was to put another camera up but what would that accomplish? Sure, if they returned I would get another photo but likely lose another camera I even considered using a climbing stand but in the end conceded that the ridiculous amount of effort to check the camera would be excessive there was no guarantee the perpetrators would return. It seemed as though I had a dilemma… until I found out about SpyPoint’s Tiny-W camera. The first generation Tiny-W was incredible… and incredibly innovative. My only concern was the inability to hide the remote black box further away from the camera (50-foot transmission range). Well, SpyPoint promised an improvement and boy did they ever deliver!

Click here to visit spypoint.com!

Upon capturing an image, SpyPoint’s second generation of this model, the Tiny-W2 immediately transmits a copy to the black box receiver nearly 100 yards away, at least five times further than the original Tiny-W! Imagine yourself in a trespasser, thief or poacher’s shoes. Your photo has just been taken. You break or steal the camera or steal the SD card to eliminate incriminating evidence. Imagine your surprise the following day when 8-megapixel images of your face are plastered all over the community. Now imagine law enforcement officers cuffing you as they advise you of your rights. How on earth did they catch you? With SpyPoint’s Tiny-W2!

Click here to visit spypoint.com!

The Tiny-W2 levels the criminal surveillance playing field at home and in the woods while offering game-changing scouting opportunities. Gone are the days of disturbing your setup to check your images place your receiver anywhere within 250 feet of the camera and simply pull images from the receiver.

Click here to visit spypoint.com!

Still images are taken at interval options between 10 seconds and one hour in single shot or multi-shot mode multi-shot mode captures six images per triggering. Three sensors create seven zones of detection resulting in blazing fast trigger speed. Did I say blazing fast? How about ZERO SECONDS compared to the industry standard of a 1 – 1.2-second trigger speed! The two side-sensors sense motion and wake the camera up to capture the image. When the subject passes in front of the center sensor, the trigger is instant. Images are captured in daytime color or nighttime infrared black and white and include date, time, moon phase and temperature information. The Tiny-W2 also captures 10 – 90-second video clips, in daytime color and nighttime infrared black and white at 640×480 resolution, perfect for YouTube and other video-feed platforms!

Click here to visit spypoint.com!

Click here to visit spypoint.com!

Detection settings are between 5 to 50 feet and 38 LED lights capture nighttime images out to 50 feet. Both the camera and receiver run on six AA batteries and include 12-volt jacks both units also are solar panel compatible and use standard SD cards. The Tiny-W2 package includes the Tiny-W2 camera, Blackbox receiver, installation straps, USB and video cables, and a user manual.

Click here to visit spypoint.com!

Click here to visit spypoint.com!

Click here to visit spypoint.com!

I attempted to compile a list of concerns about this camera but there really wasn’t a list to be had. It’s truly a phenomenal camera. Considering improvements to the camera, I might ask for a viewing screen on the Blackbox even if the receive was a little larger or perhaps the ability to transfer images from the Blackbox receiver to another wireless device such as my cellphone or a tablet. This might allow for recovering images at even great distances. Some of SpyPoint’s HD-12 Trail Camera Black LED’s would also be a great addition to the Tiny-W2 if a third generation camera is in the works!

However, the truth is that whether you’re after a giant whitetail buck, bruiser wild boar or the scum of the earth that just victimized you and your family, the Tiny-W2 is the best, most practical, most cost effective answer MSRP for the Tiny-W2 is $299.

Any way you slice it, the Tiny-W2 is definitely a 5-star game changer! With the Tiny-W2 and other phenomenal offerings, SpyPoint has landed on the leading edge of trail and surveillance camera innovation! I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

Visit www.SpyPoint.com to browse a diverse range of other innovative products including more trail camera models and great lineup of accessories. SpyPoint.com also offers technical support, contact information, a gallery of trail camera images and a comprehensive list of distributors near you.

Kevin may be reached for questions, comments, product and outfitter reviews via email at Kevinr@just-Hunt.com.

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Bowhunting Madness!

Full Draw on the Boys of Fall!

By Kevin Reese

Click here to visit BowTechArchery.com!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. (www.SpyPoint.com)

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.(www.DeadDownWind.com)

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

Revelation Amp Hunting Knife(www.RealAvid.com). 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 RealAvid.com!

ThermaCELL(www.thermaCELL.com) 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 ThermaCELL.com!

Alpen Binoculars(www.AlpenOptics.com) 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 AlpenOptics.com

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.


Guts, Grit and Glory

Inside the Mind of a Bowhunter

*As published at www.GlobalOutfitters.com

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.

Support my friend and fellow tree hugger Steve Conover! His music is “by, for and about hunters.”

Like him on Facebook at:  http://www.facebook.com/HardcoreHuntinMusic

Click “Share” on Hardcore Huntin’ Music’s Facebook page then email HuntingMusic@mail.com to receive a free .mp3 of his hit song Real Tree Hugger!

Buy Steve Conover’s CD, Hardcore Hunting Hits, at www.HuntingMusicCD.com or in iTunes format at www.HuntingMusic.com.  

Kevin can be reached at kevinr@just-hunt.com for questions and comments.


An Ounce of Prevention

Listen, Scout & Know Before You Go!

*As published at www.GlobalOutfitters.com

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 kevinr@just-hunt.com for questions and comments.