Archive for the ‘How To’ Category

Choosing Your First Trail Camera

July 16th, 2017 by BTC Editor

 

 

Trail camera technology has really improved over the years and there are more features than ever, allowing you to customize your trail camera experience to your liking. For someone who is new to hunting or the trail camera world, picking out your first game camera can be somewhat overwhelming, especially if you don’t know what features you need or what the features even do. After someone recently asked me for advice on what they need to look for when purchasing their first camera, I decided to share a few things that I feel are “must-haves”, as well as some bonus features and accessories that may be an asset to you.

Features

I really feel a lot of features on trail cameras are user specific and depend on user preference. I’ll briefly explain the features that I feel are the most important when considering which camera to buy.

Flash Type

The flash types are: White flash, Black flash (Invisible, or No-Glow), and Standard IR (InfraRed / Low-Glow). Tom Rainey of Browning Trail Cameras wrote a really great article for this blog explaining each flash type and their effect on trail camera picture quality: http://browningtrailcameras.com/nighttime-trail-camera-images-putting-light-on-the-subject/

Basically, the highest quality nighttime photos will be from White Flash cameras, then IR cameras, and then Black Flash cameras, but that’s not to say that the quality of the nighttime images from Black Flash cameras are bad. You just may notice a little more motion blur on them.

So, a few things to consider when choosing the flash type:

Where will you be putting your cameras?

If you are going to be putting them on public land or in an area that is known to have a lot of trespassers, you will probably want to go with a Black Flash camera. Otherwise, one of the previous two flash options may be what you would prefer.

Do you feel a White Flash or Standard IR camera will spook the game you are hoping to get pictures of?

If so, a camera with Black Flash may be best for you. My personal experience with Standard IR and White Flash cameras is I feel the animals get used to them. I haven’t noticed them spooking deer in the years that I have been running trail cameras. Everyone has their own opinion on this and each location may be different, so again, go with your own personal preference here.

 

Detection Range

The location where you plan on putting your game cameras will help you decide which camera may be best for you in regards to detection range. If you are running trail cameras primarily in the woods or have it set up over pinch points and travel corridors, the detection range can be quite a bit lower. But, if you are watching over larger areas, such as fields, the detection range needs to be a little higher, especially if you aren’t quite sure where the wildlife are traveling.

For example, the Browning Command Ops has a detection range of 55 feet with a 60-foot flash range, which is great. But the Browning Recon Force Extreme has a detection range of 80 feet with a 120-foot flash range, which is quite a bit more. So, you can see how the higher detection range could be quite a bit more beneficial in certain situations.

Trail Camera Accessories

Obviously, SD Cards and batteries are must-have accessories for your trail cameras. But there are a couple other accessories that you may want to look into purchasing for your first trail camera, depending on the location the camera will be in and how often you plan on checking it.

Security Box

As I mentioned above, the location really is a key factor to consider when purchasing your trail camera. The same goes for deciding whether or not you need a trail camera Security Box. A couple things to keep in mind here: Do you expect there to be trespassers, or will the camera be on public land? Also, what types of animals are in your area? Do you have a high bear population? If you answered “Yes” to any of those questions, I recommend getting a Security Box. Browning makes one that fits all of their camera models (excluding the Defender 850). It can also be locked using a standard padlock or a Master Lock Python Cable so your camera stays safe and stays put.

 

Trail Camera Power Pack

The Trail Camera Power Pack will extend the battery life of your Browning Trail Camera in the field. This is a great option if you don’t plan on checking your trail cameras very often. It holds holds 8 AA batteries in the same easy to use battery tray used in the trail cameras. Other features include a built-in battery tester and a twist lock plug to lock the power adapter to your Browning Trail Camera.

 

Bonus Trail Camera Features

Here are a few “bonus” features that you may also want to take into consideration when choosing your first trail camera. I personally don’t feel that these are features that you absolutely have to have, but I do feel they will enhance your trail camera experience. Personal preference comes into play here as well. Here are a few of my favorite features on the Browning Trail Cameras:

 

Viewing Screen

This is an internal viewing screen on some of the Browning Trail Camera models. It’s great for viewing trail camera photos in the field, and it really comes in handy when positioning the camera while you are setting it up.

 

Timelapse Mode

The Timelapse function allows you to set up your camera in the field, and program it to take pictures automatically at fixed intervals. This feature is helpful when you set a camera up in a new location such as a large field or food plot where you are not sure where the wildlife are entering the field. The camera will take images of the entire field, so you will end up capturing game at 200 + yards away, where a conventional game camera would not normally trigger a picture. All Browning Trail Camera models come with this feature, as well as the Timelapse Viewer Plus Software, so you can playback a whole day’s worth of activity in just a few minutes, much like watching a video.

 

Multi Shot / Rapid Fire Mode

In certain situations, the 8-Shot Rapidfire mode is one of my favorites to use on my Browning Trail Cameras. It takes 8 shots in 2 seconds! I prefer to use this when I have a specific animal that I am targeting that I know will not be in the frame for long. For example, I wanted a Bobcat on this log setup, but I knew it would likely not use this log repeatedly and not stay on it for long, so I put it on Rapid-Fire mode to get as many photos of it as possible and pick my favorites to share. Rapidfire Mode is also great in deer season when you are watching a smaller area, such as pinchpoints and travel corridors, so you don’t miss any deer activity.

 

 

 

Video Mode

This is a really fun trail camera feature. It’s almost like watching the wildlife in person when playing the trail camera videos back! With 1920 X 1080P Full HD, the audio and the clarity in the Browning Trail Camera videos is really amazing. Additional new features for the 2017 model includes Smart IR video, which continues to record video footage while game is moving in front of the camera and SD card management options which allow you to overwrite older images on the SD card if the memory is full.

 

I hope this article helped you know where to start in shopping for your first trail camera! If you have any other questions that were not listed in this article please feel free to leave a comment below.

 

By Andrea Haas

Andrea Haas is a Pro-Staffer from Missouri who enjoys hunting deer, turkeys, and upland birds. She is also the founder of the Huntress View, an organization formed to help strengthen the ever growing community of women hunters

Homemade Venison Jerky Recipe

July 2nd, 2017 by BTC Editor

Making homemade jerky is a simple way to preserve excess meat, and when done correctly, can be stored 1-2 months. Depending on the ingredients used, it can serve as a healthy, high-protein and low-carb snack—perfect for training for upcoming hunts or while in the mountains hiking or hunting.

 

 

Below is the recipe I use. Ingredients are approximations, and can be adjusted based on individual preferences.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs. venison meat (can also use elk or other meat)
  • 2 cups teriyaki
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup brown sugar (dark or light is ok)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon dried and crushed hot peppers (such as cayenne, jalapeno or habanero)

 

 

Instructions:

  • Slice meat into 1/8”-1/4” slices using meat slicer
  • Combine all ingredients (except meat) in small pot, mix well and heat over a low heat just enough to dissolve the sugar
  • Add meat to liquid mix, one piece at a time, ensuring all pieces are thoroughly coated
  • Place meat and all liquid in Ziploc bag and refrigerate at least 4 hours (I prefer overnight for a stronger flavor)
  • Place slices of meat on dehydrator racks, making sure not to overlap any of the pieces
  • Let dehydrate for 7-8 hours at 155°F
  • Remove from dehydrator and store in plastic Ziploc bag

 

 

Additional information:

  • 3 lbs. of raw meat yields approximately 1 lb. dried jerky
  • Many people use a jerky gun, but I prefer making jerky with sliced meat instead of ground meat. I have a restaurant-quality meat slicer, but good slicers can be purchased at Bass Pro or Cabela’s.
  • Sugar can be omitted for a lower-carb recipe; can also substitute a can of crushed pineapple
  • Cajun seasoning and hot peppers can be omitted if you prefer non-spicy jerky
  • I recommend the Nesco American Harvest Dehydrator, available for purchase on Amazon. I purchased this in 2009 and have used it for multiple batches of jerky every year, as well as for drying fruits and veggies in the summer. It comes with four dehydrator racks, and more can be purchased separately.

 

 

This is our go-to recipe, but would love to hear your jerky recipes. Please comment with your favorite recipe, or any tips you have for making jerky.

 

Sarah Honadel is an avid outdoorswoman from Kentucky, now living in Idaho, who enjoys hunting turkey, deer and elk. She is a Team Member at Huntress View and Brand Champion for ReelCamo Girl, two organizations that work to support, encourage and empower women in the outdoors. Follow her on Instagram @waddysarah and @arrowridgecreations.

Intro to 3D Archery

June 4th, 2017 by BTC Editor

Off season blues? No problem! 3D Archery is a great way to keep you occupied while waiting for your next hunting season. If you’ve never shot a 3D archery range then keep reading, this post is for beginners and what they will need to know before starting 3D archery.

I started competing in 3D tournaments this year to challenge myself, to continue shooting my bow during the off season, and to keep myself active outside. Not only do these tournaments help with my consistency but they have also helped improve my ability to judge yardage. Depending on your location, you could probably look online to find a local archery organization. If you can’t seem to find one online usually your bow shop can help you out by referring you to a few.

Once you find an archery association/organization you can then ask them for a copy of their tournament schedule if it’s not listed online. You will also need to know that specific organization’s available shooting classes, rules for shooting and what scoring system they will use.

I want to mention all the necessities you may need to start shooting competitively.

Essentials:

  • Bow (obviously)
  • Release aid
  • Quiver or archery stool that can hold arrows, keys and accessories
  • Binoculars (I love my Vortex Viper HD’s in 8x42mm –Has plenty of magnification and lets in tons of light in order to see targets efficiently)
  • A bow kick stand that stands bow upright so you don’t have to lay it down on the ground
  • At least 5 arrows, possibly more if you believe you will miss targets or damage a few on other shooters’ arrows
  • Pencil (if one’s not provided)
  • Rubber boots as a backup in case your range is muddy
  • Tick/Mosquito spray (We like to spray Scentblocker’s Tick spray on our shoes the day before and it usually last a few weeks)
  • Sports drink to keep you hydrated (I prefer Mtn Ops Yeti or Enduro)
  • Snacks are usually available at a small cost but it’s probably a good idea to bring either a granola bar or PB cracker type snack
  • Water (This is usually provided for free throughout our range but sometimes they’re all gone by the time we go through the course)

Before you shoot in a tournament it may not be a bad idea to find someone that actually shoots them first and just do a walk through with them while they shoot. I did this to make myself more comfortable in knowing how things ran and how the targets are scored. I was less intimidated when I actually shot in my first since I knew how everything worked. If you can’t find someone to walk through with, no biggie, shooters at 3D tournaments are usually very nice and encouraging. I can honestly say I have not ran into a single person that wasn’t willing to help a beginner. It was very calming to be able to get advice from people that not only shot in them regularly but seemed to not be bothered at all by a newbie trying to figure out how the tournaments worked. Again, this is part of the reason I have fallen in love with archery. The archery community is so supportive and educational.

Most 3D tournaments have a variety of classes to shoot in based on your level of skill and your bow setup. For example, the tournaments I have been shooting in have:

  • PeeWee
  • Cubs
  • Longbow
  • Traditional
  • Youth
  • Women’s Youth
  • Women’s Bowhunter
  • Women’s Open
  • Novice
  • Bowhunter
  • Bowhunter Outlaw
  • Senior Open
  • Open Class
  • KNOWN 45
  • Pro Class

Each class will have general rules for being able to shoot in it and will also have different colored stakes to shoot from at the archery range.

Some rules to keep in mind: (Rules may vary slightly depending on the archery club)

  • Each club will have a max arrow speed and also have the right to chronograph any shooter at any time
  • Rangefinders are prohibited unless shooting in the KNOWN class. All other classes require distances to be judged by the naked eye.
  • Binoculars/spotting scopes may be used determining shot placement
  • Bowhunter class is restricted to a 12” or less stabilizer, screw in or glued in tips, and may shoot a movable sight (but it must be a HUNTING sight with NO magnification)
  • Bowhunter Outlaw class is restricted to bowhunter equipment ONLY with hunting sights and NO magnifications. This is the only class with no max speed limits
  • Exchanging yardage information is strictly prohibited
  • Each shooter must be touching the appropriate shooting stake for their class with some part of their body
  • A “controlled letdown” must be verbally announced
  • Once your sights are set and bow has been drawn you cannot reset your sights after a controlled letdown

 

Here are a few tips I would recommend doing before tournament day:

  • Make sure your sight pins are sighted in to ranges that vary for your shooting class
    • For example, I shoot in Women’s Bowhunter and the ranges will vary but usually the farthest distance is 25-30 yards at our specific archery club
    • There are also moveable hunting sights that are great for 3D tournaments so you can easily adjust the distance per target.
  • I practiced at home shooting the distances my pins were set at and really looking at the animal to help myself with judgement of distances. Sometimes I would walk at a random distance, look at the target and guess in my head and then use my rangefinder to see how close I am to guessing correctly. I continue to do this until I am comfortable with my guesses
  • Make sure gear is all together and ready to go
  • Make sure to get plenty of sleep the night before
  • Make sure to eat a healthy breakfast before

Upon arrival:

  • I usually sign in/register and get my score card
  • I then head to the practice bags and shoot at each one that I have a pin set up for to make sure they’re all sighted in. I double check my arrows, release and bow to make sure everything is in good shape
  • We usually shoot in a group with friends and “draw cards” for our shooting order. We will mix them up (faced down) and get one person to draw one card at a time and we will use that as our shooting order. This helps keep it fair because some targets are harder to see where to aim and being the first one to shoot those types of targets can be a little tough. Some shooters will have bright colored fletchings so that makes it easier for the next person to use as a guide on aiming.
    • Side note: Our group sizes vary from 3-5 but I personally believe a group size of 3 is the best. Groups of 5 tend to take longer shooting each target and going through the whole course in general

When shooting at a target I usually go through a series of steps to help myself make a good shot. I like to going by these steps in order to be consistent. These steps may be a little different for each person but once you start doing things in a way that works keep doing them the same way EVERY TIME. I promise they make a difference.

When shooting at a target:

  1. I find the appropriate shooting stake and place a foot on one of the sides of it. It doesn’t matter where as long as some form of your body is touching it.
  2. I usually go ahead and nock an arrow and prepare my arrow rest.
    1. I then look at the target through my binoculars and try to find where I need to aim. The best way to do this for me is to look for specific things like: the shape of the target, which way it’s facing, if it’s leaning backward or forward, if there are any distinctive parts on it such as areas that are shot up or if it has spots you can use to help as a guiding tool. Aim small, miss small is a very accurate statement in this case.
  3. I make sure my feet are shoulder width apart and as flat as possible.
  4. Draw bow.
  5. Find aiming location in peep and match it with appropriate pin.
  6. I make sure my peep sight meets up perfectly with my sight housing. If I’m shooting uphill/downhill and will have to lean some way I make sure to lean with my waist and not just with the bow as this would affect how my peep sight and sight housing meet up.
  7. Relax bow hand and rest pointer finger on my trigger.
  8. Continue to breath, relax muscles and release.

 

When scoring targets, it’s important to know which scoring system the archery club/organization is using. There are two primary organizations that have their own scoring systems: Archery Shooters Association (ASA) and International Bowhunting Organization (IBO). The tournaments we shoot in only use ASA scoring system and the “Upper 12” can only be called or used if the targets specifically shows it can. Here are a few pictures that show the difference in the two.

 

 

If you’re a beginner or not shooting in a Pro class, it’s important to remember these tournaments are for fun and to help you improve. Bad shots will definitely come and you’ll more than likely miss a few targets. Don’t stress too much about those because they have happened to everyone at some point and they help you learn from your mistakes. So good luck to all you beginners and remember to have fun!

Note: If you plan to consistently shoot year after year I suggest investing in an “archery stool” of some sort. I currently use the Browning Steady Ready Stool with PVC pipe attached to the leg. We taped the pipe with black electrical tape and glued a cap on the bottom so that it can be used as an arrow holder. The stool has a mesh zipper pocket on one side and an insulated cooler pocket on the other. You can put ice and drinks in the cooler but we didn’t want to make the stool too heavy to carry so it’s used to hold our extra accessories (keys, binoculars case, back up release, snacks, etc.).

 

 

Courtney is an avid hunter from Louisiana. She has a passion all things outdoors and is an avid hunter. She is also a team member of Huntress View, an organization formed to help strengthen the ever growing community of women hunters.

5 Summertime Trail Camera Tips

May 21st, 2017 by BTC Editor

 

1- Summertime is when most hunters get their trail cameras out of storage and hang them to start taking inventory of their whitetail herd. It’s also a great time to take inventory of your trail cameras. Make note of how many you have, how many more you may need for the upcoming season, and also keep a list of each camera model and serial number in the rare case of theft. It can, and does, happen so keeping a record of this could help get your cameras back eventually if they do get stolen. Browning Trail Cameras also has a Security Box that makes it more difficult for thieves to take your cameras, if even at all.

 

2- Look at an aerial map of your hunting property beforehand so you have a good idea of where you’d like to hang your cameras. This way, you’re not driving or walking all over your property, disturbing the game and working up a sweat. If you have a weather app on your phone you can easily locate your property via the radar portion of the app. If you don’t have that, Google Earth is what I recommend. It’s probably a good idea to take a screenshot of your property and from there mark where you are placing cameras using the paint/draw tool on your phone in case you forget where you hung the cameras later on.

 

3- Summertime is obviously hot, even first thing in the morning, so in order to be out in the heat as little as possible it’s best to have everything ready to go before you head out. Have your trail cameras already set up with the correct date/time/camera settings, full with batteries and the SD card in so all you have to do is hang them, turn them on, and go!

A Browning Trail Camera feature that really helps get your camera positioned quicker is the viewing screen on some of the camera models. (See photo below.)

 

 

4- Everyone has their own system for transferring and storing trail camera pictures to their computer. I like to stay organized from the start by putting my SD cards in 2 separate cases – one for blank SD cards, and one for  full SD cards – and then loading the pictures to my computer once I’m home. A baggie works just as good, just make sure you label each one to avoid confusion. Some prefer to bring a laptop and transfer the pictures there in the field, but I like to get in and out as quickly as possible and this works best for me.

 

5- Last but not least, don’t forget the tick spray! So far this year has been one of the worst I’ve seen for ticks. Using a tick spray with Permethrin has worked well for me. Spray down your clothes and boots and make sure they’re dry before putting them on. You do not want this on your skin! For those worried about scent control, this kind is supposedly odorless once it dries. My nose is of course nowhere near as good as a whitetail’s, but I don’t smell it at all once it’s dry and would prefer to be tick free over scent free anyways, so to me it’s worth it. It also doesn’t hurt to spray it on some of your trail cameras to avoid ant infestations, which are very common in the summer months.

 

By Andrea Haas

Andrea Haas is a Pro-Staffer from Missouri who enjoys hunting deer, turkeys, and upland birds. She is also the founder of the Huntress View, an organization formed to help strengthen the ever growing community of women hunters

The First Hunt

April 9th, 2017 by BTC Editor

With having accumulated many special memories over the course of my 35 years of hunting, I can vividly remember so many details. Memories begin with my first successful whitetail deer hunt, my first turkey, and my first harvest with a bow. All of these events pale in comparison to being able to watch my eight-year-old son squeeze the trigger on his very first deer…a spike buck.

Like many fathers who love to hunt, my hopes had always been to raise my two children to share my passion for hunting and the beauty of the outdoors. I know many hunters; however, whose children had grown up with little or no interest in following in their father’s footsteps when it came to pursuing wild game. I often wondered what it is that separates those kids who develop the passion and those that do not. There is no sure way of getting or keeping our children involved in hunting, yet there are certain things that we can do to increase the odds of them developing that lifelong passion.

From my experience and from what I have learned from others, it is key to get them involved at an early age. Children generally do take an early interest in their parent’s passion for the outdoors. My children were always there when I would bring home a harvested animal. They would come rushing outside to take a look. Whether it was gutting a deer or processing one, I allowed them to be a part of it. I made sure to answer any of the questions that they may have had. I would always say to them, “One day you both will get to go hunting with dad.”

Once a child reaches the age where you feel it is the right time to take them hunting, you must make necessary changes to how you hunt. You are going to have to keep it somewhat “fun” in their eyes. It could be a tag-along trip where they sit with you or simply head out to do some scouting. Explain what you are doing and what you are looking for. Allow them to utilize some of the gear, such as binoculars or rangefinders. If you are like me, you may need to shorten the time frame of your hunt. For instance, you may be accustomed to a 4 or 5-hour sit, but now you may need to make it only a few hours to prevent the child from becoming bored. Once you detect boredom, either change things up a bit or head to the house.

You may ask yourself, “When is the right time to take your child hunting?” The answer depends on the individual child. I believe it is important to not push them to go until they have shown the desire. We, as hunters, all want our children to share our love for hunting and the outdoors; however, if you force it on them, you risk driving them farther away. If they do not show as much interest as you would like, then simply give them their space. Always keep the invitation open and never force them to be an unwilling participant.

Make sure the child, when the day comes that they are ready, has the correct equipment. Make sure they are comfortable with the proper clothing. Even for seasoned hunters, we know the misery of freezing our butts off while trying to stay out for as long as possible. If it is miserable for us, imagine how much more it will be for the child who is not accustomed to cold temperatures for extended periods of time. You do not want to over-clothe them either. They need to be comfortable with proper fitting clothing. Remember, they so want to be like dad. Make their attire fit the part of a hunter.

 

And just as important as the clothes they wear, is the weapon that they carry or utilize. Proper fit, whether a bow or a gun, is crucial. For a rifle, that means making sure your child can properly shoulder and aim the firearm and that the recoil is not more than they can handle. Assure they are comfortable with it, via practice, and preach the importance of firearms safety. I made sure to allow my son to carry his unloaded weapon to the stand. He held that rifle so tight and walked with so much pride. If your child is using a bow, it is important to assure proper fit with correct draw length and draw weight. If your child is not comfortable with the weapon they are utilizing, they probably will not be able to shoot it accurately or consistently. This can quickly lead to disappointment and frustration with hunting. If you are truly serious about getting your child involved, it is your duty to equip them properly. Just as you would do for yourself.

Finally, to keep them interested in hunting, sooner or later, they are going to have to experience the taste of success. While you and I may be able to sit in a tree stand or blind for hours on end, day after day and never draw back an arrow or push that safety forward, a young child is going to likely deem this boring and lose interest. This may mean that you need to start them out on smaller game or, in my case, place them in a situation where you know they will have a high chance at success in harvesting their first game. Sure, I dreamed of my son taking a nice big buck on his first hunt, but I was just as thrilled when a couple of spikes came in and presented him a shot. After my son dropped the deer in his tracks, I think it is safe to say, he was hooked. He experienced the “rush” that all of us, as hunters, have felt. Now, he does not mind spending a little more time waiting for the next opportunity.

 

When that special day came for just the two of us to make that trip to the field, I felt confident that we had put in the time preparing for a successful hunt. I am testifying that there is nothing more rewarding than watching your child harvest his or her first game animal. The excitement in their eyes, and to feel the pride of knowing that you played a major part in their success, is a feeling like no other. Most importantly, there is a bond that develops between you and your child that makes it that much more special. A special closeness that could only come from time shared afield. A bond that, if properly nurtured, will last a lifetime.

 

Blog post originally shared on “The Break TV”.

 

By Bobby Raybourn

Bobby is a team hunter on “The Break TV” on the Pursuit Channel. He grew up near Odessa, MO and began hunting at a very young age alongside of his father and older brother. Bobby has also taken up Taxidermy in his spare time and his business is thriving.

Using Trail Cameras to Scout for Turkeys

March 26th, 2017 by BTC Editor

Knowing where to hang your trail cameras and what kind of settings to use when scouting for turkeys is important, as it can vary a little from using cameras for deer hunting. When hanging my trail cameras, whether I’m using them for deer or turkey hunting, I pretty much keep 3 things in mind when determining where to put them: bedding, food and travel routes. So, for deer I often like to hang my cameras where I know they will be coming from their bedding area to their feeding area, and vice versa. For turkeys, I like to do essentially the same thing: find where they are roosting and figure out where they are going when coming off the roost. These locations for deer are often different than they are for turkeys, so scouting is a must.

A few things to look for when you are scouting for good turkey trail camera locations are roosting sites, travel routes, strut zones, and feeding areas.

Roosting Sites

You will know a roosting site when you see one. I have found several on our property, and they have always been in tall, dead trees and have lots of turkey droppings underneath them. You may find some primary wing feathers as well. When hunting last year, I actually spotted a couple of toms still up on the roost, which further confirmed their roost site. I found another spot this spring while shed hunting – it was a dead tree in on the edge of our food plot – and found quite a bit of droppings and a wing feather underneath it.

Camera Setup:

If I know where a roosting site is, I personally like to set my trail camera where I expect they will be landing when they fly down from the roost. From observing turkeys while out hunting I have a good idea of where they usually land when they fly down. On my property, this is usually in one of our fields planted in wheat and clover.

Time-Lapse mode is a great option for fields this size so you don’t miss anything further out where turkeys may not trigger the camera. I have this Browning Strike Force trail camera set up quite a bit higher to have a better view of the field. As you can see in this photo, the turkeys are flying in off the roost.

 

Travel Routes

I’ve noticed a couple of similarities in how both deer and turkey travel from my experiences hunting, and it seems they often prefer to take the easiest route possible. Some examples of routes I have seen both deer and turkeys using often is logging roads in the woods, creek crossings, openings in the timber, and holes in fences.

Camera Setup:

These are usually in small, tight spots so I prefer to hang my camera pretty low here and will often put my camera on burst mode so I don’t miss any action. I have this Browning Strike Force set to take 4 multi-shot images every 5 seconds.

 

Strut Zones

The best way to find these is to actually see a turkey using it in person. I know where a couple are on our property from observing the turkeys while out hunting. If you haven’t seen your turkeys using one, try looking for wing drag marks in the dirt while you’re scouting. On my property, our turkeys love to strut on the edge of one of our food plots where the sun hits them, so keep that in mind when looking for strut zone locations.

Camera Setup:

If you are looking to get some neat footage from your trail cameras, a Strut Zone is the perfect opportunity to switch your trail camera to Video Mode! Make sure you have a larger SD card in this instance as they can fill up pretty quickly on video mode.

This Browning Strike Force camera is actually in the same location as the “Roosting Site” listed above and Time-Lapse mode is what I prefer in this location due to the field size.

 

 

Feeding Areas

Food plots planted in chicory, wheat and/or clover are excellent options for hanging your trail cameras to scout for turkeys. We have one field planted in clover and chicory, and another planted in wheat and clover, both of which really seem to hold the turkeys on our property.

We also experimented one year by plowing up some of the ground on the edge of one of our food plots and the turkeys loved the easy access to insects there! You can see the plowed part in the photo below from the Browning Spec Ops:

 

Camera Setup:

Once again, a good option in a field this size is Time Lapse mode so you can still catch turkey movement outside of the camera’s detection zone, and setting the camera a little higher up.

If you already have a pretty good idea of where the turkeys are feeding at, regular Trail Camera mode works just fine here as well, and I would probably up the picture delay to 20 or 30 seconds here so you aren’t filling up the SD card as quickly with tons of feeding pictures.

When making your game plan for opening day of Spring Turkey Season, keep in mind what you have learned from studying your trail camera pictures prior to season opener. Using trail cameras to scout for turkeys will give you a good idea on your flock size, how many different groups of turkeys you may have, and where you need to be setting up on opening day. You will be one step ahead of the turkeys and by using the right settings, will likely get some amazing trail camera pictures and/or videos along the way!

 

By Andrea Haas

Andrea Haas is a Pro-Staffer from Missouri who enjoys hunting deer, turkeys, and upland birds. She is also the founder of the Huntress View, an organization formed to help strengthen the ever growing community of women hunters.

 

5 Tips For Bowhunting Turkeys

March 12th, 2017 by BTC Editor

Planning on using your bow to harvest a turkey this spring? If you’ve ever hunted turkeys before then you know it will be no easy task. Hunting turkeys with a shotgun is often enough to drive a hunter crazy, let alone adding the challenge of a stick and string. Successfully harvesting a turkey with your bow is perhaps one of the hardest, yet most rewarding hunts you will ever be a part of.

Browning Trail Cameras Pro Staff members Don and Dan Pickell have been bowhunting for years and make bagging a gobbler with a bow look like a piece of cake.

 

 

Here are a few of their tips for bowhunting turkeys this spring:

1) Scouting

Spend some time in the woods before season starts so you can be as prepared as possible before opening day. Look for roosting sites, turkey feathers & droppings, feeding areas and travel routes. Once you’ve found some turkey sign or what looks like some good locations, it’s time to hang your trail cameras.

2) Trail Cameras

Get your Browning Trail Cameras out now and keep them out throughout turkey season. Trail cameras will help pinpoint the time of day the turkeys are in certain locations so you know when you should target these specific areas while hunting.

When setting up your cameras, keep the location in mind and set them accordingly. For example, you may want to set your camera on Time Lapse mode while watching large fields or new locations where you aren’t sure where the turkeys are entering or leaving. The camera will take images of the entire field, so you will end up capturing game at 200 + yards away, where a conventional game camera would not normally trigger a picture.

 

3) Setup

Pattern the birds with your trail cameras and set up your ground blinds accordingly. If they aren’t coming into your call it’s usually best to just sit and wait them out; Remember, you’re hunting with a bow, not a shotgun, so run and gun is a lot more difficult. More often than not, your trail cameras will tell you where you need to be. Remember what you learned about their behavior while studying your trail camera photos and stick with that.

4) Decoys

A decoy will often help bring the birds within bow range while keeping their eyes off of you, but we have also had toms skirt our decoys at times. When this happens we usually pull the decoys and set up in a proven spot where we have them patterned with our Browning Trail Cameras and ambush them. It just depends on the bird’s moods.

5) Shot Placement & Recovery

With a shotgun we aim at the bottom of the neck to allow for the pattern to cover both his head and neck. With a bow, we prefer a broadside shot through the wings if possible so an injured bird can’t fly off, making it harder to recover. Whether we use a bow or a shotgun, as soon as a shot is made we go after the bird and get a foot on its head, just in case.

Going into turkey season, it’s best to have a positive outlook and lots of patience! Turkeys are fickle creatures and even having the “perfect setup” is often not enough to harvest a tom. Make sure you’re as prepared as possible ahead of time by scouting with your trail cameras and keeping the above tips in mind. Harvesting a big longbeard with your bow is worth all of the hassle. Stay safe and have fun this turkey season!

 

By Andrea Haas

Andrea Haas is a Pro-Staffer from Missouri who enjoys hunting deer, turkeys, and upland birds. She is also the founder of the Huntress View, an organization formed to help strengthen the ever growing community of women hunters.

 

Homemade Venison Bratwurst Recipe

January 9th, 2017 by BTC Editor

Making bratwursts or summer sausage is an easy way to use the meat from a whole deer, especially a large or older buck or doe that will likely be tough. Below are step-by-step instructions to making your own homemade venison brats.

 

What You’ll Need

  • Meat from whole deer (20-25 lbs. deboned meat)
  • 5 lbs. pork or beef fat
  • 2 lbs. cheese – pepperjack or cheddar
  • Lem’s Brat seasoning + water according to package
  • Natural casings for 25 lbs. meat
  • Meat grinder
  • Sausage stuffer

 

The Process

 

Step 1: Debone meat

Debone shoulders and hams from a whole deer, removing fat and sinew. Use neck and rib meat if needed, to get a total of 20-25 lbs.

 

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Tips!

  • Use cut-resistant gloves when deboning meat for added safety
  • Make sure to use a sharp knife, such as the Outdoor Edge Razor-Lite replaceable-blade knife

 

Step 2: Grind

Using an electric grinder, grind all venison into a meat tub or large pot. Grind pork or beef fat separately, and then mix into venison until distributed evenly throughout.

 

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Tips!

  • I recommend the Lem #8 meat grinder from Bass Pro Shops. We purchased ours nine years ago, and have ground more than 1,500 lbs. of meat—including 40+ deer, buffalo, hogs and elk. Still works perfectly with no issues.
  • There are several ways to obtain pork or beef fat. Ask your local meat store or grocery store if they sell it, or contact a local farmer. We raised a domestic hog and saved the fat once we butchered it. You can also substitute bacon for the fat.
  • Before grinding the fat, let it freeze slightly so it makes pellets when ground. If it’s too soft and warm, it will be greasy and melt when grinding.

 

Step 3: Add the Seasoning

Prep seasoning by mixing with cold water, as instructed on package. Add seasoning and water mixture to meat, one cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each cup. Keep meat mixture in meat tub and refrigerate overnight.

 

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Step 4: Prep Casings

Prep casings by rinsing with warm water to remove cure and salt. Refrigerate in water overnight.

 

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Step 5: Add Cheese to Meat

Cut cheese into ¼” cubes and mix thoroughly into meat.

 

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Tips!

  • Use any kind of cheese preferred. Pepperjack adds a little more spice and melts better when cooked. Cheddar stays in larger chunks when the brats are cooked.
  • During this step, you can also add chopped peppers, such as jalapenos or habaneros, if you like spicier foods.

 

Step 6: Stuff Meat into Casings

Rinse casings with cool water. Attach 10mm stuffer tube (ok to use larger size) to sausage stuffer, and fill stuffer with meat. Fit casing over stuffer tube, and knot one end. Fill casings with meat until expanded, being careful not to rupture the casing. Once the brat is to the desired length, cut casing and knot the end. Repeat until all meat is used.

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Tips!

  • Using a standalone sausage stuffer makes the cheese stay in larger chunks. We used the Cabela’s Commercial Grade Stuffer, 11 lb. model. You can use the electric grinder without the blade in place to also stuff the casings, but it regrinds the meat, causing the cheese to break up.
  • The small stuffer tube size is easier to fit the casings over without tearing them, but you can use larger size tubes.
  • Brat length depends on preference. You can tie them at standard brat length, approximately 6”, but you will use more casings. We make ours approximately 18” and cook whole, then cut into thirds after cooking.

 

Step 7: Package and Freeze

Place brats individually in freezer bag and wrap with freezer paper. Label and freeze. Recommended meat storage is up to 1 year in the freezer to maintain flavor.

 

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And the best part: Cooking and Eating!

Spray grill grates with non-stick cooking spray. Grill brats over direct heat on charcoal or gas grill for approximately 5 minutes per side, flipping only once using tongs to prevent puncturing. Enjoy alone, or on a bun with your favorite toppings.

 

By Sarah Honadel

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Sarah is an avid hunter and outdoors enthusiast who lives on a farm in Kentucky where she raises cows, chickens,a nd keeps bees.. She enjoys gardening, canning, crafting and traveling and is also a member of the Huntress View team, an organization formed to help strengthen the ever growing community of women hunters.

Shed Hunting: Tips & Benefits

January 1st, 2017 by BTC Editor

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Anyone that knows me knows I’m a whitetail freak. I’m in love with hunting whitetail deer and everything that goes with it. However, as much as I love to hunt the actual deer, I am just as crazed about hunting their sheds after season is over. Picking up a shed antler gives me just as big of a rush as sitting in my stand and hearing a deer walking around on the fallen leaves in the timber.

This past shed season, my husband and I found over 200 shed antlers and 3 dead heads. I can’t begin to tell you how rewarding it has been.  We were able to spend so much quality time together doing what we love, got in some serious leg workouts, and we even introduced our little girl to the sport. She came along on every shed outing and will have an eye for them before we know it.

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In this article, I will be discussing benefits, tips, and ideas for what to do with your sheds.

Benefits:

There are so many benefits involving shed hunting. First and foremost, it’s a wonderful way to get in some quality time with family and friends. Finding shed antlers to an outdoor enthusiast is the equivalent to a child’s Easter egg hunt: extremely exciting, full of fun and the amount of pride that fills your soul when you pick one up. I’ll add, also, that it’s an excellent way to get in some serious exercise. Successful shed hunting requires a lot of walking, though some are lucky enough to have terrain accessible enough for four wheelers and/or horseback riding– both of which are effective ways to be successful. However, for those that don’t have land that is ATV accessible, get walking. Walk your food plots. Walk your trails. Walk your fence lines. Walk, walk, walk, walk, walk. Getting outside and walking your property for sheds gives you other advantages, like getting to know your deer herd’s travel patterns, and also what deer made it through the season. Plus, it’s just flat out fun.

 

Tips:

Like I stated previously, walking and/or driving/riding your property is key. You have to put in the time to be successful. Think like a deer, just as you would when considering what location to hang a tree stand or trail camera. Go places the deer go. Find their bedding areas and their feeding areas and you will be golden. Places where you know bucks will have to make hard landings, like jumping over fences or ditches are excellent places to look. Just because the rut has come and gone, doesn’t mean bucks don’t spar. With that being said, walk your food plots. Walk the open areas where deer congregate.

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Something I also understand is that not everyone has their own land to go look on, which brings me to my next tip. Just ask. You would be surprised at how many people just don’t care for sheds, or better yet, want them off of their property: farmers especially. This past season, about 90 percent of the property I shed hunted on was from people that I had never met a day in my life, most of them being farmers. Sheds pose a threat to tractor tires and most farmers hate them. Almost every response we got when we asked for permission from farmers was, “find them all and take them all,” and most of them even gave us names and numbers of other farmers.

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What to do with your sheds:

 

The fun doesn’t stop after you’ve picked up a load of bone. There are countless ideas to explore with your antlers. Decorating is my favorite thing to do, as I have sheds laying everywhere around the house. Nowadays, with websites like Pinterest, the creative opportunities are endless. I’ve seen everything from jewelry holders and fall decorations, to chandeliers and doorway entries. Believe it or not, there is actually a lot of money potential in your shed antlers if you’re willing to sell them. This year, while out, there were a couple of guys from Colorado in the area where we were hunting that were searching for sheds as well, and were willing to pay $16 dollars per pound. Crazy, right? I, for one, like to keep the ones I find.

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With all that being said– get out there this upcoming shed season. It’s very rewarding and an experience that will develop into an obsession.

 

By Cajun Bradley

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Cajun Bradley is a lifelong lover of hunting and the outdoors, especially waterfowl hunting. She is a member of the Huntress View team, an organization formed to help strengthen the ever growing community of women hunters.

 

 

 

Using Trail Cameras in Trapping

December 18th, 2016 by BTC Editor

 

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“Sometimes people wonder if animals are suffering or what exactly happens after they’re trapped. After an initial period of attempting to get away — which is why trappers run multiple swivel points and laminate the trap jaws so no paw damage occurs — the animal lies peacefully until the trapper arrives to check his traps. At that point, the trapper can decide to turn it loose or harvest it, depending on the conservation goals for the property he or she is trapping.

“Trappers are the best outdoorsmen there are,” the game warden replied when I told him I trapped. It was a routine license check while deer hunting, and once that formality was out of the way we began chatting. I don’t know if I fit into THAT category, but I certainly strive to learn all I can from those who’ve gone before me. Trappers settled this country, and their skillset often determined living or dying in those days. It’s a time-honored tradition where not much has changed: the methods, the techniques and even the equipment could easily be interchanged with those who came before us more than 200 years ago.

But there’s been one concession to modern, cutting-edge technology that has advanced the trapper’s knowledge more than any other single item: the trail camera. For years, we trappers have studied the tracks left behind of an animal at our sets, trying to figure out why he stepped here and not there. Snow is like a God-send to the trapper, and we’ll get out and follow a set of tracks for miles just to study the species we love to go after. What caused him to stray from the path he was walking there, and what attracted his attention enough to cause him to deviate from his destination?

Staggs first recorded this nice bobcat visiting his set four days before the second time it made an appearance; another added benefit of using trail cameras while ‘cat trapping is helping to pattern them, as big males will often make a 5-day loop around their territory.

 

With the technical advances in trail cameras over the past decade or so, a treasure-trove of information is now readily available to the average person, and chief among those questions that get asked more than any other: How does animal XYZ work a set? Tracks give clues, but there’s nothing like actually WATCHING a bobcat tip-toe gingerly through your walk-through set… or a coyote approach your dirt-hole set from the side, because he didn’t know that the “front” of your set was the front.

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Pictures are great, but video mode and the information it captures is priceless. Invisible night-vision infrared LED illumination is a must when capturing predators on video like this; if they see a red glow light up the area, they’re gone … and unlikely to return. Give it a try sometime if you’re a trapper, and see how much your knowledge base is increased. Or, even if you’re not a trapper, you may enjoy expanding your horizons beyond merely trying to capture deer on camera. The next time you’re in a Bass Pro or Cabela’s, or even an old hardware store that may have a trapping section, pick up a bottle of gland lure. Dip a bit out with a Q-tip and place it under a fallen limb on the forest floor. You may be amazed to see the number of predators you get video of which you had no idea were around.

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Greg Staggs is the former back-page columnist for Inside Archery, and his writing regularly appears in such magazines as Outdoor Life and Petersen’s Bowhunting. Staggs loves introducing his two boys to all things outdoors, including fishing, trapping, canoeing and camping, and has been chasing turkeys and big game exclusively with archery equipment for over 20 years.