Posts Tagged ‘archery’

Trail Camera Motivation

November 26th, 2017 by BTC Editor

I’m not a morning person. At all.

I know people say that a lot, but it matters when it hurts what you love to do the most. That trait surely hurts my deer-hunting efforts. You see, I’ve been chasing my beloved whitetails for over 25 years now. I average over 100 stand sits each season — if you break up the morning and afternoon hunts, because often they’re in different locations. But the bulk of that number is generated with afternoon hunts… a large bulk of that number.

I’ve got a trophy room chock-full of heavy antlered Midwest whitetail giants, and I enjoy admiring well over 1,000 inches of bone adorning the mounts which stare at me every night as I unwind watching t.v. All but one of those trophies were killed in the afternoon. So what’s the problem with that, you may ask? I wonder if there could be more. I wonder what that room would look like if I’d been motivated enough over the years to set my alarm earlier? What if I were more motivated? Frankly, it’s hard to imagine what could motivate me more than I already am.

Then it happened… I decided to leave some cameras up this year during the season. I’ll be very candid here: I don’t run a lot of trail cameras once opening day rolls around. Never have. Why? Because I hunt public land, pretty much exclusively. Highly pressured public land – the kind that when you pull up to park, you hope there’s a spot left to squeeze your vehicle into. That probably gives you a good idea of why I don’t like leaving $150-200 prizes out in the woods for the first winner to take home with him when he finds it.

But I took a chance this year. After a couple weeks of leaving them out, I slid one of my SD cards into my laptop and I couldn’t believe my eyes: Wide 8, a deer I’d captured on camera only after dark for three straight years, walked up to a scrape guarded by my Browning Spec Ops HD and began working it at 7:30 a.m.! Talk about motivation!!

Wide 8, a buck that Staggs has watched for three years straight, strolls directly into a scrape at 7:30 on the morning of October 29th:

 

And that is my point… Yes, I know hunters have long used trail cameras to “inventory” their bucks, even creating special folders for them and sometimes being able to watch them progress over the years as I had done with Wide 8. But I’d truly never thought about using a trail camera for motivation – until now. Now before I slide between the covers and wonder if I should get up tomorrow morning and get in a stand, all I’ve got to do is watch that video. I don’t have to wonder if he ever slips up in the morning, I KNOW he does. And that motivates me.

 

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.

The “30/30” Trail Camera Setting

October 22nd, 2017 by BTC Editor

Just a couple weeks ago I made my first series of mock scrapes for the year and placed my Browning Trail Cameras on all of them using what I call the “30/30 setting”: Video mode set on 30 second clips with 30 sec delay. It didn’t take long before the first mature buck found one in less than 24 hours of being made, and within a couple days they all started to heat up. I noticed one series of the three was showing more activity from a specific deer than the others. I knew right away this was a deer I wanted to target, but how was I going to be able to do so? The October lull was here and everything was happening at night. I knew if I wanted to harvest this deer I would have to do so fast, before love pulled him away.

 

​I chose to focus on checking that series of three cameras the most frequently, using wind and time of day to my advantage. By having them on the “30/30 setting”, I was able to see direction of travel and study the specific behavior of the deer I was targeting. Once I was able to get a general direction of travel, I used what I refer to as the “leapfrog method”: moving 2-3 cameras in the direction of travel, leapfrogging them as I checked them. This helps me stay on where I had him last while exploring my thoughts with the newly moved camera. I gained a very solid direction of what I thought was his daily routine – deer of a mature age class are very much creatures of habit – but even having a solid route of travel, I feared I was getting too close to his bedroom. I elected to not move in any further and let my Browning cameras continue to do my homework for me.

 

Over the course of a couple weeks I checked the cameras in a three-day rotation, as long as the wind stayed true to checking them. The pattern was there but since he was still moving after dark I was going to have to get aggressive, yet smart, if I was to win this chess match. I checked the weather on a site I live by called Weather Underground. This site lays it all out in a graph for me. I noticed an upcoming front with precipitation was a few days out. It was calling for rain for almost an entire day, ending the next day mid-morning with a temperature drop, wind drop, and rising barometric pressure. I knew this had to be the time to make my move!

 

A couple of days went by and the rain set in. I was going to move in and hang a stand under the cover of good wind. The noise from the rain would cover me, and the wet forest floor would make for sneaking in an easy task. I was able to get my stand hung while staying undetected and pulled all the SD cards on my way out. My thoughts were staying true. My trail cameras showed he moved daily until the front hit and didn’t move that night or morning at all. I knew that after the rain he would likely move, as barometric pressure would be rising with a sudden drop in wind. I was going to hunt the following afternoon.

The following day rolled around and the weather stayed true, my information from my cameras were spot on, and I was able to harvest a beautiful mature 8 point.

 

When targeting scrapes, deer will likely want to freshen them up after precipitation. If you accompany that with a drop in temperature, high barometric pressure and a wind drop, it can often be the ticket to bucks getting on their feet a little sooner. I relied heavily on my Browning Trail Cameras to help me pattern this particular buck. Without being able to further pin down direction of travel I don’t think I would have been able to catch him during legal shooting hours, let alone a full hour before dark.

By John Steinhauer

Southwestern Backstrap Fajitas Recipe

September 10th, 2017 by BTC Editor

When it comes to fresh venison, the meal I most look forward to is fajitas! For this meal, I used the backstrap from my 8-point taken during last archery season. I love taking all that fresh, organic, grass fed meat into my kitchen and turning out this Tex-Mex classic. It’s filling, full of protein, includes fresh veggies, (my favorite- avocado!), and goes great with chips and salsa, and a cold beer if you want one!

 

Making them is super simple as well.  We process our own deer and package it in portion sizes big enough for serving 2, which in this case is about 1lb of meat. (If you don’t have a FoodSaver for preserving your harvest, do yourself a favor and get one!)

 

Ingredients:

-1lb venison backstrap, fresh or frozen

-1 Bell Pepper (red, green, or any color)

-1/2 white onion

-1 Hass Avocado

-Flour Tortillas

-Cheese- your choice. This recipe used Jalapeno Munster

-Garlic Salt

-Worcestershire Sauce

-Southwestern Seasoning (or mix of cumin, coriander, oregano, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper)

-Chips and Salsa, of course

-2-3 tablespoons of butter

Recipe:

-Take your meat and slice it in 1/2in thick medallions.  Add the Worcestershire Sauce, Southwestern Seasoning, Garlic Salt, to taste. If you can, marinate your meat in the spices overnight, but if you can’t it will still taste great.

-Add butter or olive oil to your pan and turn to medium heat. When hot, add your meat and sear on both sides to medium doneness.

 

-Add butter to a second pan (or use your current pan after removing the meat) and saute your sliced onion and bell pepper once you have sliced them in strips. Saute until tender and easy to bite through.

 

-Dice/shred your cheese, slice your avocado, and prep your fixins’! I arrange the ingredients along the bar and let everyone (and by that, I mean, all of this is just for my husband and I….mostly me!) Warm your tortillas, top with meat, veggies, avocado, cheese, and throw in some salsa if you’re feeling fancy. Then chow down!

 

-This should make enough for about 6 fajitas, and these are great as leftovers as well for lunch the next day. Crack open a Cerveza with salt and lime, and enjoy!

 

Jenny Burden is a successful competitive triathlete through the Spring and Summer, but Fall and Winter are all about hunting for her. She is an avid hunter and is also a member of Huntress View, a team dedicated to strengthening the ever-growing community of women hunters.

St. Jude Heroes Event

August 27th, 2017 by BTC Editor

Chances are, either you or someone you know has been affected by childhood cancer. One of my young, distant cousins passed away from cancer recently, as did the son of one of my co-workers. It breaks my heart to see children suffering from cancer, but thankfully St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is there to help treat and cure these children and to help support their families during the treatment process.

Families never receive a bill for the treatment their child receives or for their travel expenses, housing or food. This is made possible, in part, by fundraising events like the St. Jude Heroes event in Poplar Bluff, MO that I attended a couple weekends ago, sponsored by Browning Trail Cameras. This is an annual 2-day event featuring a VIP Party, silent auction and meet-and-greet with outdoor celebrities on Day 1 and a benefit archery shoot and silent auction on Day 2.

 

This year the VIP Party included dinner & drinks, live and silent auctions, raffles, a meet-and-greet with outdoor celebrities (including Browning Trail Camera team members Don & Kandi Kisky of Whitetail Freaks, Jon & Gina Brunson of Addicted to the Outdoors, and Derek Dirnberger of The Break TV), and live music from Nate Hosie of Headhunters TV. The best part of the VIP Party was meeting a family that had been affected by and overcome cancer, thanks to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, and listening to their story.

During the VIP Party, there was also a celebrity auction. The outdoor celebrities split up into teams of 2 to compete in a rear-steering tricycle race. Guests had the opportunity to bid on each team and the bidder of the winning team won an AR-15. Don Kisky and Jason Bosaw of the Whitetail Freaks took first place and the proceeds went to St. Jude’s!

 

Here’s a Boomerang video clip of Jon Brunson competing in the race:

 

Day 2’s events included a 3D archery range, a pop up range & tournament, free youth archery camps, Cornhole/Horseshoes/Dunking booth and a silent auction all day. The outdoor celebrities also attended the archery shoot on Day 2 to interact with the guests and participate in some of the 3D shoots as well.

Jon Brunson chatting with guests at the 3-D Archery Shoot on Day 2.

The greatest thing is that ALL of the proceeds from this event go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and this year the event brought in over $100,000 in donations to St. Jude! We all had so much fun at this event and knowing that it was for such a great cause made it that much better. If you are a hunter, an archer, or if you just have a passion for helping others in need, please plan to attend the St. Jude Heroes event next year in Poplar Bluff, MO and help put an end to childhood cancer!

 

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

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

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 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.

 

Venison Meatball Recipe

February 26th, 2017 by BTC Editor

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb ground venison

¼ cup half and half

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 medium white onion – finely chopped

3 tablespoons chopped garlic

2 large eggs

1/4 cup dried parsley flakes

1 tsp dried oregano

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

 

DIRECTIONS

This recipe is by far the best wild game recipe I’ve ever tasted!  I must preface this by saying that up until a few of years ago, I was actually a vegetarian.   Not because I was trying to save the animals.  I did it because I just didn’t care for meat.  However, what I realized when I met my husband, who is a hunter and ultimately the one whom got me into hunting as well, is that what actually bothered me about meat is that I didn’t always know where the meat from the grocery store had come from.  I was growing a few veggies in my backyard, and purchasing the rest through a farmers market or local CSA.  So I have always been aware of where my food came from; but the meat remained a mystery.  Then along comes hunting.  The first time my husband brought a whitetail deer home for us to process I started asking questions.  I began cooking it for my family and realized my kids could never tell the difference between ground venison and ground beef.  Thus began my journey in creating wild game friendly recipes.

Now I am extremely picky with how my food tastes.  I do not like having a gamey taste to it at all.  This meatball recipe is so perfect.  Every time I make it, it gets better and better as I modify ingredients.

Begin by preheating your oven to 425 degrees and coating the bottom of your 9×12 baking dish with olive oil.  Next, place 1 pound of ground venison in a large mixing bowl.  Add ¼ cup half and half (regular milk works as well, however I have not tried this recipe with dairy substitutes) and then set this bowl aside.

 

In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  Add 1 diced onion and 3 tablespoons of chopped garlic to the skillet.  Be sure to dice your onion into very small pieces.  Saute until the onion is clear.  I tend to like a lot of onion, so this may look like more than 1 medium onion. Never enough onion or garlic in my house!

 

 

Then, add the onion mixture to the ground venison bowl.  Add 2 eggs, ¼ cup dried parsley flakes, ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and 1 teaspoon oregano to this same mixture.  Salt and pepper to taste.  You are now ready to mix with a wood spoon or your hands. I typically use my hands, but am careful for the hot onion/garlic mixture.  Don’t burn your fingers!

 

 

Using the same medium skillet as you cooked the onions (as you can see in the photo I do not clean out the skillet), add 2 tablespoons olive oil and turn on heat to medium.  Roll meat mixture into 1” diameter meatballs.  Don’t look to close at mine.  They are never perfectly round because my kids are always starving.  Place meatballs into heated skillet; browning on at least 2 sides.  You are not cooking them all the way through, just browning the edges.  This makes the outside of the meatballs yummy and slightly crispy.  Once you have browned the meatballs on 2 sides, place meatballs into your greased baking dish.  Bake 20 minutes, turning once after 10 minutes.

 

 

My husband and I tend to eat them plain (that’s how good they are) or dipped in barbecue sauce.  My kids like to put them on Hawaiian rolls with cheese and barbecue sauce.  Either way, I think you will love them! Enjoy!

 

By Tammy Bashore

 

Tammy Bashore is an outdoor enthusiast from South Dakota. She is a professional photographer, the wife of a professional walleye angler and the mother of 2 kids, plus one fur baby, a GSP named Bentley (pictured above). Tammy is also a member of the Huntress View team, an organization formed to help strengthen the ever growing community of women hunters.

What’s In Your Hunting Pack?

October 30th, 2016 by BTC Editor

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In two days, a couple buddies and I are heading to Pike County for a four-day bowhunting trip… No, not THAT Pike County, but it’s close. In fact, it’s right across the river from it. Both my pals are fairly novice bowhunters, and this is the first full season for one of them. Seeing as how I’ve been on several 10-day, DIY excursions to Colorado chasing my beloved wapiti, they’re leaning on me heavily to provide guidance as to what to bring. It’s actually not that uncommon a question from even veteran bowyers, as I see the “What’s In Your Bag?” query on the bowhunting forums quite often.

After well over a couple decades’ worth of bowhunting, with most of that time consisting of over 100 stand sits annually, I’ve definitely settled on a list of “must-haves” as well as items that have found their way into and out of my fanny pack. I’ll break down below exactly what I carry with me, and the use for each item.

  • A small Ziploc bag (for weather protection) holding a good amount of toilet paper, plus hunting licenses. Also included in this bag are small zip ties for affixing the licenses to the deer’s back legs, a tube of chapstick (seems my lips are prone to drying out on windy days while on stand), and a handful of cherry cough drops (nothing worse than getting that tickle in your throat when you’re set up within 100 yards of that big buck’s bedding area!). I also put a nice lensatic compass in the bag, to keep the glass lens from getting scratched all up by the other items in my pack.dsc_0015-copy

I’ll give you a tip about the toilet paper before moving on… I carry quite a bit of it with me, and obviously you probably realize one of its primary purposes. But I also lean on it just as heavily when tracking a deer at night by propane lantern. I tear off little half-squares and place every couple feet along the blood trail I’m unwinding… it’s remarkable how you can hold up your lantern and see those white squares trailing off into the blackness, and they’ll really help you get a “line” on the direction the deer’s traveling and where to look for next blood if you’re having difficulties. An added bonus is that when you’re done, you don’t have to go back and retrieve all of them — just let the next rain dissolve all of them for you.

  • A mini-mag flashlight… the triple-battery version. I often end up in hairy places after dark I’ve never been through before, and I like to see what I’m trying to wade through – be it thorn bushes or a small creek. The version I like to carry just fits into my fanny pack from end to end, and utilizes three “AA” batteries.

 

  • A headlamp. Sometimes, I’ll opt to turn my cap around backwards and slap on the headlamp. It’s especially helpful when I’m assembling my stand at the bottom of my tree after I get down in the pitch black, or when I’m gutting a deer after dark.

 

  • A Leatherman multipurpose tool, the small kind. It contains a three-inch knife blade that I’ve used to gut over 50 deer, antelope and elk with. And on the off chance I need a pair of pliers, they’re included too.

 

  • Limb saw… to trim shooting lanes with, and more importantly to cut off small branches on the tree I’m going up with my climber.

 

  • My pull-up rope. I bought a commercial one with the plastic swiveling ends and hooks on it, cut those off and attached those to 30’ of parachute cord. Packs much tighter than the commercial one I bought.

 

  • Rattle bag. I’ve got a very nice set of real rattling antlers that sound awesome, but they’re a pain to carry all the time. My rattle bag fits nicely inside my pack and is always there from the third week of October until December.

 

  • Bleat can. I can’t attribute any single deer to coming in to the can call, but I’ll mix it into my rattling sequences any way; the hope is it’ll sound like the estrus doe that the two bucks are fighting over.

 

  • True Talker grunt tube. This has accounted for more deer riding home with me than any other single piece of equipment.

 

  • Ninety percent of the time, my shot opportunities are limited by heavy undergrowth and are 30 yards or less. Every once in a while though, I’ll sit a field edge where the rangefinder comes in handy.

 

  • Diaphragm turkey call in a clear case. Archery deer tags come with two turkey tags included, and I won’t pass up an opportunity to call to a passing flock. I’ve got a wall-full of turkey fans above my desk that were all taken with my bow in deer season.

 

  • Extra release. In case I leave my main one at the truck or it falls out of the tree for some reason.

 

  • Four bow hooks. My bow goes on one above my left shoulder, and my fanny pack hangs from one around seat height on the same side of the tree. The other two are spares.

 

  • A Kwikee Quiver caddy with my Octane quiver holder attached. I screw this into the left side of the tree, and affix my quiver upside-down so if I shoot and need to reload quickly, I simply reach behind me without looking and pull another arrow out.

 

  • A hand-held Magellan GPS. This is a recently new addition to my pack, and one that I’ve come to value. I shoot a lot of deer just before dark as evening hunts comprise 98% of my trips afield (I’m just not a morning person). Usually, by the time I recover the deer and head back to my vehicle to get my game cart, it’s pitch black once I return to the scene of the crime. Having marked where my deer is laying via the GPS sure does make it a whole lot easier once everything looks completely different in the dark – and a whole lot easier to get out of the woods.

You could ask me any day of the year, and that’s what I’ll have in my fanny pack. It’s the main component of a system that I’ve fine-tuned for over 20 years of bowhunting, and it’s what enables me to grab my gear extremely quickly when I get home and be on my way to the woods in just a few minutes. I’m never scrambling around looking for this item or that; I simply know exactly where everything I need is.

Now, if it was only that easy to know where that big buck was…

 

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.

Archery Tips with Levi Morgan

September 18th, 2016 by BTC Editor

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BTC: What steps do you go through mentally when you draw back on an animal to ensure your form is right and to help calm your nerves?

Levi: You know it’s funny, I don’t think. I think it’s all in practice when you do that because everybody, including myself, when you get out there in the woods and that buck of a lifetime steps out, no matter how hard I try or how much I tell myself, “Hey, I’m going to really slow down next time and I’m going to think about what I’m doing”, I look back and go “Man, that was a blur. You know, I don’t even remember that.” I don’t remember what I did, I don’t remember why I did it, so I think It’s so important to not just get your bow and go out and shoot just once every couple of weeks or get it & take it out 3 weeks before season, because you have to create that muscle memory and teach yourself to slow down and practice.

One thing I do is hunt with a caliper release. When a big deer would come out, I would draw back and get in such a hurry that when my pin got there I would just press the release off. I wasn’t really freaking out or anything, but I was rushing the shot every time. I was afraid the deer was going to run or it was going to see me, I was just nervous. So when I need to slow myself down, I started hunting with what’s called a back-tension release, or a hinge release, which forces you to slow down. You can’t shoot it fast or it’s an epic fail, so it forced me to slow down.

I really feel like it’s easy to say, I’m going to think about all these different steps when a big buck comes out. But the truth of the matter is, I really feel like people are going to do what comes naturally to them, which is why I think it’s so important beforehand to be prepared and have your equipment fit you perfect. Really get to know it and shoot it all the time because when you get nervous and everything goes blank, you’re going to revert back to what you do naturally with that bow and the way you practice with it. I really think that’s the best way to be prepared for the moment of truth.

Also, when I’m sitting in the stand or when I’m out hunting sheep, I imagine opportunities happening. For instance, if a buck comes down that trail, where am I going to shoot him at? Where am I going to stop him at? How is he going to be angled if he’s on that trail or if he walks out into the food plot? I try to imagine every scenario that could happen to me while I’m sitting there or while I’m hiking so when it does happen I’ve already kind of played it out in my mind that I’m going to stop him here and he’s going to be perfectly broadside or a little quartered away.

Obviously in hunting, you never know what’s going to happen, but that has helped me before. Nothing is as important as just being really prepared.

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BTC: A lot of archers and bow hunters struggle with target panic. What advice do you have on how to overcome this?

Levi: Target panic is probably the most common thing in archery. I think almost everybody has been through it at one time or another if they’ve shot a bow long enough. There are so many causes of it and because of that there are a lot of cures. I think some of the main causes of target panic are too heavy poundage, too long of a draw length, or not having equipment that fits you. Also things like your peep being too small and things in your sights that are making you too uncomfortable, for example your pins being too small to see, the target being blurry…All of those things can cause it.

Another major cause is holding your breath when you shoot. I’ve talked to professional fighters and doctors about that. When you hold your breath the first muscle that starts to break down is your eyes. That’s a huge cause of target panic so that’s why it’s so important to keep breathing. I’ve seen people pull back, hold their breath and aim too long and just feeling like they HAVE to shoot now. That’s really all that target panic is, no matter what the cause, is when the pin hits the target they feel like they have to shoot now.

I think the best cure for target panic is to stand in your yard, pull back and aim at the target with your arrow loaded and finger on the release. Put your pin in the middle and leave it there but don’t shoot the arrow. When your pin starts to go, let it down. Take a few seconds to regroup, then pull back and aim at the target and let down again without shooting. Do that over and over for however long you normally practice for about a week or so. All that’s doing is letting your mind know, “It’s ok for my pin to sit there. I’m in control. I don’t have to fire this shot”. Also what it’s going to do, is you’re going to aim at the middle longer and longer, allowing you to build up that confidence and stamina to keep your pin in the middle longer to let you execute that perfect shot.

I think that’s one of the best drills there is. It lets you just focus on aiming, relaxes your mind and lets yourself know that it’s ok to aim at the target and not fire that arrow as soon as the pin gets in the middle.

BTC: What are some of the bad habits you’ve had as an archer and what helped you the most in overcoming them?

Levi: I think my worst habit, as a hunter and shooter, is when I get in a hurry. I go out and practice just to be practicing. Practicing numb is what I call it. I think when you stop trying to get better, you’re going backwards. For me, I think it’s really important to count on myself, even in practice. I don’t go out and shoot at 30 or 40 yards at the same dot every day. I try to challenge myself, whether that’s moving back further distances or trying to hit so many arrows in a row on a certain dot. Whatever games you can play to make it fun for you, that makes you challenge yourself and keep trying to get better every single time you practice and not get complacent. What should be 4 inch groups at 40 yards may be plenty good to go hunting, but it’s not the best that you can do. I think a lot of people say, “Well that’s good enough”. I’ve heard it so many times. It’s easy to do that when you’re shooting good enough but it’s important I think, for me especially, to keep challenging myself and keep trying to shoot better groups at further distances and really keep it fun and interesting during practice.

 

BTC: You’re going to Alaska soon to hunt sheep as part of your quest to complete the Super Slam with your bow. How far are you from completing the Super Slam?

Levi: There’s 29 animals in the Super Slam and I have killed 17 of the 29 with a bow, so I’ve got 12 left.

 

BTC: Which animal has been your favorite to hunt so far?

Levi: Probably my Dall Sheep in the Yukon. It was the hardest. I guess it felt the best when it was over. It was the most satisfying when the hunt was done because of how hard we had to work. We spent 14 days on horseback (The episode just aired the evening we talked on the Sportsmen Channel).

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BTC: Do you have any advice for others who are wanting to complete the Super Slam?

Levi: Yes. Go to their website, www.superslam.org. The first thing I would say to do is to become a member of Super Slam because they give away hunts every month, and these adventure type of hunts are not cheap or easy to go about getting.

 

Also, do a lot of research. These are not your normal types of hunts. I grew up a whitetail guy, hunting whitetail in the Midwest. When I started doing these hunts, going to the Arctic, Mexico, the Yukon and all over the world, it was just a wakeup call on what gear I needed and how little I actually knew about my equipment. I think it really teaches you a lot when you go to those places and you’re riding on a horse for 14 days. You never know when something can go wrong, so get to know your equipment really well, do your research on what you need to take, and don’t cut corners on your gear. The weather is so uncontrollable out there on these adventure hunts.

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