Posts Tagged ‘Browning Trail Cameras’

Defender 850: Changing How You Hunt

October 8th, 2017 by BTC Editor

For 2017, Browning Trail Cameras came up with a new concept in trail cameras: the Defender 850. When they first unveiled this camera at ATA, I knew it was going to be a game changer. The Defender has some unique features and technology that set it apart from the rest and that can take your deer hunting to the next level. Here are 3 features on the Defender 850 trail camera that will allow you to change the way you hunt this season.

1 – Bluetooth and WiFi Connectivity Via the Browning Trail Cameras Mobile App

You can connect to the Defender on your mobile device from about 60 yards away via the new Browning Trail Cameras app. Through the app you can control the camera settings and download images and video straight to your phone or tablet, allowing you to keep your favorite hunting areas undisturbed and free of scent.

I have my Defender’s set up close to a few of my favorite tree stands so I can check the camera while I’m in my stand without actually having to touch the camera and leave my scent in the area where I am expecting the deer to walk out.

 

2 – Adjustable IR Flash

This feature is also new for 2017 and allows you to control the range of your LED’s on your nighttime images. There are 3 different flash settings – Power Save, Long Range, and Fast Motion – that allow you to maximize the performance of your Browning Trail Cameras, no matter where they are set up.

Power Save: This is the most economical of the 3 flash modes. The flash goes out to about 70 feet, which is perfect for wooded areas.

Long Range: The flash goes out to about 120 feet. This is perfect for open areas, such as larger fields or food plots where the game may be a good distance away from the camera.

Fast Motion: The exposure time is much faster in this mode, allowing you to capture game that are moving faster, while eliminating motion blur. Think fence crossings, trails, pinch-points and travel corridors, etc. This mode will really come in handy when new bucks start showing up on your hunting property during the whitetail rut!

Here’s a link for a YouTube video for more info on this setting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWva5ReMbKo

 

3 – Capable of Holding Up To 128 GB Micro SD Card

I wanted to point out this feature for 2 reasons:

1) The camera also features 1080P HD video technology, so having the ability to use an SD card with larger storage capacity means that you can leave the camera out in the field on video mode without having to worry about the memory card filling up in between camera checks.

2) If you wanted to set up your Defender 850 in a location that you may not hunt or visit often, once again you can rest assured that most likely your memory card will not be full by the time you make it there to hunt or check the camera. This is perfect for those whose hunting property is a long distance away, or if your favorite hunting location isn’t easily accessible.

Whether I end up getting a deer this season or not, I already feel like I am one step further with my hunting game plan than I was this time last year, and that is due to the unique features on the Browning Defender 850 that allow me to hunt smarter, not harder.

 

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

Shifting Deer, Shifting Cameras

September 24th, 2017 by BTC Editor

We’re beginning to get some early fall temps and the taste of clean, cool air. The skies are beginning to look a little different and we are both beginning to feel a bit different. We are anticipating…

Having found a new core bedding area via trail camera recon (photos below) we are now closing in on exactly how this section of property functions and we are stoked for the postseason and the chance to move cameras into this area and establish precise buck bedding locations. However, we still have the ENTIRE NY deer season in front of us and we now know that we have a prime buck bedding location nailed down adjacent to an area the local does bed in. As we continue to work on peeling the layers off that scenario we will ramp up our mock scrape game using our cameras to tell the story of these locations. This year we are adding into our equation several rubbing posts with overhead licking branches where we will begin to test the waters of the local big boys and hopefully provide ourselves another late October/early November tool for our arsenal. As all these fellas begin to take on their fall ranges and each personality begins to show we become probably a little too eager as we wait for the right time to make our next card pull, but hey, this stuff is what it’s all about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog originally posted on EverWild.

EverWild is an online journal of the outdoor adventure’s of two friends from New York – Justin Michau and DJ Tosh – who are passionate about the outdoors.

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

Personal Goals for Deer Season

August 13th, 2017 by BTC Editor

Bowhunters everywhere are anxiously counting down the days until deer season opens. Although it’s exciting, if you’re a serious hunter there’s a lot that goes on before climbing into the stand. Preparation is the key to success in the hunting world. You do so by taking inventory of your deer, making sure you have the right setup and proper stand placements, and providing adequate food sources. This will help to increase your success rate, not just for that specific year, but for years to come. Through the preparation process, you really gain knowledge and respect for the land that, in return, helps shape you to be the best stewardess of the land you can be. Setting personal goals to increase your success helps to make yourself accountable and focused on land management.

 

For me, preparing for the season at a young age was different than it is for me now. Throughout my years growing up, I would help my dad hang tree stands and prepare for deer season under his wing. It was my chance to observe and learn. I recently moved a couple years ago into a house that had hunting ground that I could hunt and manage as I could. I finally got the chance to try my hand at land management on my own. It was an important goal for me to learn about food plots. I started by taking soil samples and executing how and what I needed to have a successful food plot. This is now an ongoing goal that I am excited to complete every year. As late August approaches, I will be planting a mixture of Triticale, Forage Oats, Winter Peas, Crimson Clover, Chicory, Turnip, and Daikon Radish. This food plot is located in a corner off of a large soybean field, not quite a 1/4 of an acre. It will provide deer with a highly palatable forage source.

 

Within these food plots I use my Browning Trail Cameras to take inventory of the deer. During early summer, bucks are in full velvet and still in their bachelor groups. By putting out your cameras early, you can watch the bucks progress and see how their antlers develop. Try to learn their patterns for early season hunting and pay attention to how they are using the land. This is a high priority, and yet something I truly enjoy doing. Study these bucks and get to know them. An attractant can help keep your deer coming back for more, while providing them with adequate supplements and minerals. I use Anilogics Mineral Dirt 180 which has minerals like Copper, Zinc, Selenium, and Manganese to help a deer’s immune system. As the velvet starts to shed completely off, each buck will soon start to go his own way and their patterns will quickly change.

 

You know, there are so many different ways to manage your land and provide for your deer. I think by actively being involved in all year prepping, you can tremendously grow and learn to become an even more successful hunter each year. After all the hard work has been put in, it’s time to enjoy time in the stand. It truly makes all your hard work and effort pay off when you harvest a mature buck or healthy doe. Myself, as well as thousands of other hunters, are making it our final goal to stock our freezer with lean, organic venison. Shooting your bow as much as you can prior to deer season will help give you the confidence you will need in the stand. It’s a year-round cycle of preparing, planning and executing, and it never gets old!

 

Kinsey Edmunds is a pro-staffer from Missouri. Being raised on a farm and surrounded by wildlife, her love for the outdoors began at a young age. Kinsey enjoys bowhunting whitetails, turkeys, hogs and gators, just to name a few. She is also a team member of Huntress View, a team dedicated to strengthening the ever-growing community of women hunters.

Father’s Day

June 18th, 2017 by BTC Editor

In honor of Father’s Day, here is a poem celebrating and thanking Dad’s for everything they have done for us. We’d also like to say Happy Father’s Day to the Dad’s on the Browning Trail Camera team: Brad Miller, Carl Drake, Derek Dirnberger, Don Kisky, Hal Shaffer, Henry Woodard, Jon Brunson, and Levi Morgan. Thank you for setting such a great example for your children and doing a great job at raising the next generation of hunters!

 

Happy Father’s Day

A Dad is a person
who is loving and kind,
And often he knows
what you have on your mind.
He’s someone who listens,
suggests, and defends.
A dad can be one
of your very best friends!
He’s proud of your triumphs,
but when things go wrong,
A dad can be patient
and helpful and strong
In all that you do,
a dad’s love plays a part.
There’s always a place for him
deep in your heart.
And each year that passes,
you’re even more glad,
More grateful and proud
just to call him your dad!
Thank you, Dad…
for listening and caring,
for giving and sharing,
but, especially, for just being you!
Happy Father’s Day.

 -Author Unknown

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.

 

Mountain Lions in Missouri

February 7th, 2017 by BTC Editor

What is one of the neatest things you’ve captured on your game cameras? For Darryl Esthay from Louisiana it was photos of a mountain lion on a piece of property he hunts in Missouri, a very rare sight for the Show-Me-State! Being from Missouri myself, I know how big of a deal it is to the residents here to learn that there are mountain lions in our state. I contacted Darryl to get the story behind the photos and to find out what is involved in reporting a mountain lion sighting in Missouri.

The Story

According to Darryl, he went to his hunting property in Oregon County, Missouri for his final deer hunt of the year on 1/02/2017. That afternoon, he pulled his SD cards on his Browning Strike Force Trail Cameras and found this series of mountain lion pictures on one of them. He then contacted the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) who sent their Mountain Lion Response Team to investigate the “possible” sighting, later officially confirming that this indeed is a mountain lion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Darryl states that they were very thorough in gathering their evidence. They asked to see the original SD card that the mountain lion pictures were on, which Darryl presented to them. They saved the mountain lion photos, as well as the two photos before and the two photos after, to help support their evidence.

Next, the Mountain Lion Response Team asked to see the location that Darryl’s Browning Trail Camera was hung. They spotted the different landmarks that were in the photo: the fence, the rock & the log, and verified that it was the same location that the mountain lion pictures were taken. Darryl states that the “high fence” that is in the photos is actually an old fox pen from years ago that was there when he bought the property. He has cut 5-6 foot holes all along the fence to allow wildlife to pass through, as you can see in the photos.

After verifying the location was the same as in the photos, they then looked for mountain lion hair, scat and tracks in the area, but so far none were found. All of the gathered evidence was then presented to the entire Mountain Lion Response Team and was later officially confirmed as a mountain lion sighting in Missouri.

About a week later, Darryl also got a video of a gray fox, and what could possibly be another mountain lion in the bottom right-hand corner. The Mountain Lion Response Team looked at this video as well but they were not able to confirm that it was a mountain lion. They advised Darryl that once all the evidence is gathered after investigating a possible sighting, it is then voted on by the Mountain Lion Response Team. Each member of the team must vote “yes” in order for it to be a confirmed sighting. Even if the majority of the team believes it is, it’s not officially confirmed unless 100% of the team is positive that what they are looking at is a mountain lion.

(Click here to see a list of all of the confirmed sightings in Missouri.)

Other Evidence

Trail camera photos aren’t the only recent evidence of mountain lions in Missouri. According to an article in the Springfield News-Leader dated 1/27/17, the first confirmed female mountain lion in Missouri since 1994 killed an elk in Shannon County. Here are a couple of excerpts from the article:

“DNA from the cat’s saliva showed it likely originated from the Black Hills of Wyoming and South Dakota and northwest Nebraska. Conlee (A furbearer biologist for the MDC) said it’s a significant find because female mountain lions typically don’t travel long distances, preferring to live and hunt near where they were born.”

“There’s no indication the female mountain lion is staying in Shannon County, Conlee said, and it’s possible the cat will continue moving…Conlee emphasized there is still no evidence that Missouri has a breeding population of mountain lions.”

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, there have been 68 confirmed mountain lion sightings in Missouri since 1994, becoming more common in recent years. This could be due to the growing number of mountain lions out west, making their way into Missouri, or could possibly be due to an increasing number of trail cameras out in the woods.

I have lived in Missouri all my life and I have never personally seen a mountain lion or gotten pictures of one on my game cameras, though I have heard stories of our neighbors seeing some behind our home for years now. My husband said his great-grandfather told his family he was riding his horse on our property one day and the horse he was on was attacked by a mountain lion. How true that is we may never know!

Part of the excitement of running trail cameras is never knowing what you’ll get pictures of. If you’ve already taken down your game cameras for the year, I suggest  hanging a few back up to see what types of wildlife you get pictures of! Although it is still extremely rare, mountain lion sightings are becoming more common in Missouri. If you think you’ve seen one and have a good amount of evidence, follow this link for instructions on how to report it to the Missouri Department of Conservation.

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.

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.

bobcat

 

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.

D.E.E.R. Project

October 9th, 2016 by BTC Editor

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D.E.E.R. Project

By Matthew Hayes

Mule deer have a complex history throughout the western United States. In the days of the early settlers and pioneers, mule deer were relatively scarce; many trappers and explorers reported only occasional sightings of mule deer whereas other big game species were regularly observed. At the beginning of the 20th century, mule deer populations had been drastically reduced in number due largely to overharvest, market hunting, and overgrazing. Protections were put in place in the early to mid-1900s, eventually leading to ideas such as the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, which was followed by a dramatic increase in mule deer populations. Mule deer populations peaked between the 1940s to the early 1960s throughout the western US.

Fast forward a few decades to the present day. With a lens to examine population fluctuations over the past 40+ years, a clear pattern has emerged. Populations, at least in Wyoming, appear to go through cyclical periods of increase followed by sharp declines. In reviewing literature and historical documents, concerns about mule deer populations tend to follow huge decreases in populations and when they subsequently rise, research and management become less important. Another point that seems clear in Wyoming is that although we have this see-saw in population numbers, there is a general declining trend since at least the 1970s. On average, Wyoming has seen a roughly 20% reduction in mule deer populations.

The population swings, and general decline, of mule deer since the 1970s has been difficult to understand. A variety of factors have been proposed to explain these declines, including: overharvest, harsh winters, habitat, drought, predation, disease and burgeoning elk populations. Managers have long noted that many areas that mule deer inhabit face different pressures and that populations are likely being driven by a variety of factors. All factors are not influencing populations in each portion of their range. This complication has meant that gaining a more complete understanding of reasons for fluctuations or stagnant growth in population numbers has been elusive. Without a solid understanding of the why and how associated with population fluctuations, it is incredibly difficult for targeted management to be beneficial.

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Researchers and managers have made great strides to better understand mule deer ecology and factors relating to their survival and reproduction. In the early 2000’s Global Positioning Systems (GPS) became small enough to fit onto a collar sized for ungulates. Since then, studies have been conducted examining migration and use of the landscape in summer and winter. The effects of drought and shifting precipitation regimes have been investigated as well as determining when, where and how animals are dying. Wyoming has been at the forefront of this research and has helped to better understand the ecology and management of mule deer. A key ecological process that has remained poorly understood are the interactions between mule deer and elk (though some work has been done at the Starkey Experimental Forest).

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Mule Deer with GPS tracking collar.

Both mule deer and elk are highly cherished big game species. Wyoming and her residents rely on these animals for hunting, tourism and as a part of our cultural heritage. Nevertheless, at the same time those mule deer populations have generally declined, elk populations have increased dramatically across the same geographical range. Managers and researchers have long wondered if mule deer and elk could be competing for space and resources but, until recently, the ability to study these interactions was almost impossible. Potential for interactions between these 2, highly valued species to affect one another’s abundance has been a bit of a conundrum for decades, probably given the challenges associated with addressing such a complex question. The Deer-Elk Ecology Research Project (DEER) was ultimately incepted out the need to unravel the head-scratching complexities of poor performing mule deer populations, while a similar big game animal continues to grow in the same country.

Population sizes for Mule Deer

Population sizes for Deer

 

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Population sizes for Elk

 

The DEER Project, located in the Greater Little Mountain Area of southwestern Wyoming, aims to increase our understanding of both mule deer and elk. This project is examining parturition timing and location of mule deer, mortality and recruitment of fawns, nutritional condition of adult female mule deer, summer diet overlap between elk and mule deer, space use, recruitment of male mule deer, survival, migration, and dispersal. We also are implicitly examining winter severity, habitat use, precipitation patterns, predation and disease. One of the greatest strengths of this work is the rigorous monitoring of both mule deer and elk in the same system. Many studies prior have examined one species or the other with inference to supposed interactions, but the DEER project will be able to analyze these interactions at a much finer scale. Another added benefit of this project is that it occurs in a high-desert system—an ecosystem ubiquitous throughout Wyoming but less studied compared to high-elevation systems. Far from being a one-off or unique system, the results from this work will be applicable to mule deer and elk throughout their shared range.

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Future articles will focus on updates from the DEER project. You can follow along with the project, donate and subscribe for updates at www.deerproject.org.

 

The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has explored the issue of mule deer decline in depth and has published a very approachable book on the topic; you can check out the website at www.wafwa.org and navigate to the Mule Deer Working Group for more information.

 

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FOR MORE INFORMATION: mont

 

UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING

 

Kevin Monteith 307-766-2322 kevin.monteith@uwyo.edu

Matthew Hayes 307-766-5417 mhayes1@uwyo.edu

 

 

 

 

gameandfish

 

WYOMING GAME & FISH DEPARTMENT

Patrick Burke 307-875-3223 patrick.burke@wyo.gov

Mark Zornes 307-875-3223 mark.zornes@wyo.gov

Kevin Spence 307-875-3223 kevin.spence@wyo.gov

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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