Posts Tagged ‘deer season’

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.

Homemade Venison Jerky Recipe

July 2nd, 2017 by BTC Editor

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

 

 

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

Ingredients:

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

 

 

Instructions:

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

 

 

Additional information:

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

 

 

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

 

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

A Hunter’s Widow, Married to a Hiking Widower

December 4th, 2016 by BTC Editor

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Southwest Missouri resident Jessi Dreckman, who is married to an avid hunter, says deer season for non-hunting spouses shouldn’t be spent inside as “the hunter’s widow(er).” Instead, she urges those individuals to learn to love their spouse’s passion for hunting, and to get outdoors and find their own passion.

I’m the type of woman who has been known to spend 15 minutes, tupperware container in hand, trying to trap a red wasp that had wandered itself in my bathroom in order to take it outside and release it safely.

I’m the type of woman who has been known to spend the morning cooking warm oatmeal and delivering it to the hen house out back when there is two foot of snow on the ground, just to warm the bellies of my little egg producers.

I’m the type of woman who releases fish I catch. Even the really, really big ones.

I’m the type of woman who has been known to relocate the snakes I find in our yard down the road a ways instead of taking the shovel to them.

So, my love for hunting may not be immediately apparent to those who first meet me. But in addition to being that type of woman, I’m also the type of woman who fell head over heels in love with a hunter – and therefore, hunting itself.

My husband Drew and I have been together through thick and thin for 13 years, ever since our first date when I was just 16 years old. We’re opposites in many ways, but our mutual avid love for the outdoors that unites this opposites-attract couple in a way nothing else can.

So when the air turns cool and crisp and the leaves start to brown, I try not to hark on the fact that the season of being a hunter’s widow begins. Don’t get me wrong, the time my husband is home during September through February is minimal, but hunting season is also backpacking season. So it’s a time of adventure for both of us in different ways.

So, while Drew is waking up before dawn to find his way to a tree, I’m waking up shortly after to the trail head. When his heart jumps to the sound of the crinkle of leaves beneath him, my heart is pumping from hiking fifteen miles with a 30 pound pack on my back. When he is in his deer stand, close to the heart of nature, I am on my feet under the treetops, heart just as full. And when we do have precious moments together, we spend it with one another in the outdoors. My heart-pumping orienteering trip through the forest is an opportunity for Drew to scout for deer. His trip to put up a deer stand is an opportunity for me to tag along and test out my new hiking boots. And when he’s made a kill and we sit down to butcher and process deer, we share our separate stories of our adventures with one another. And we love every minute of it.

The truth is, although we spend our time in different ways, our hearts are very much the same. Through our time outdoors we’ve developed patience, determination and passion – and our love has only grown.

So to all of you fellow non-hunting spouses out there, please don’t spend hunting season alone focusing on your partner’s lack of presence. Instead, use those precious moments to go do what you love. Because when you find your own way to feel that same passion and fire, you realize it isn’t specific to any one hobby – those traits translate to life and love too. Get out there and find what makes your soul come alive!

 

Wild Game Thanksgiving Dinner

November 13th, 2016 by BTC Editor

It’s that time of year again, where we sit down with family and celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s a time to reflect on all that we are thankful for. For a hunter, this includes the memories in the field and the wild game that was harvested. In my opinion, there’s no better time than Thanksgiving to serve wild game. If you prefer a more non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner, here are a couple of simple recipes to try that you and your family are sure to appreciate.

The main course and side is a dinner kit from Hunter Gatherer Game Dinners.

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[Main course]

Seared Venison with Red Wine Chocolate Sauce

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 oz. venison, elk, buffalo, filet mignon or rib eye steak (I prefer venison filet mignon)
  • You’ll need to buy:
    • 2 oz. pancetta or Italian bacon
    • 1 – 8 oz. can low-sodium chicken broth
    • 1 stick unsalted butter
    • 1 cup Red Wine
  • There are seasonings for the meat in individual packets labeled with numbers, as well as step-by-step instructions so it’s super easy to make!

[Side]

Wild Rice with Cranberries

  • The wild rice and cranberries are also included in this kit, along with preparation instructions.

 

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[Dessert]

Persimmon Bread

Most know that deer love to eat persimmons, but have you ever tried one? If you’ve ever tried one before they are ripe you probably think cooking anything with persimmons sounds like a bad idea, as they are awfully bitter. But once they turn ripe they are sweet and are great to use for pies, breads, cakes and cookies. Once they turn a purple/gray color and get soft they are ready for picking, usually after the first couple of frosts.

persimmons

 

This recipe is my pumpkin bread recipe, but I swapped the 15 oz can pumpkin for 15 oz of persimmon pulp. To me, ripe persimmons taste very similar and have the same consistency as a pumpkin. To get the pulp you will want to smash the persimmons into a bowl through a cone shaped collander, this way you don’t get the skins or seeds in the pulp. We picked these and after smashing all of them through the collander we probably have about 4-5 cups of persimmon pulp. I put the pulp into zip-loc baggies, about 2 cups per baggie, and store them in the freezer until ready to use for cooking.

INGREDIENTS
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup cooking oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 15 oz persimmon pulp
DIRECTIONS
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 loaf pans.
  • In an extra large mixing bowl, beat sugar and oil with electric mixer on medium speed. Add eggs & beat well; set sugar mixture aside
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon & nutmeg. Alternately add flour mixture & the water to sugar mixture, beating on low after each addition until just combined.
  • Beat in the persimmon pulp.
  • Spoon batter into pans
  • Bake 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
  • Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Wrap & store overnight before slicing (The recipe calls for this, but I never do this. I absolutely love warm bread right out of the oven!)

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.

Taxidermy: Caring For Your Animal Pre-Mount

November 6th, 2016 by BTC Editor

As hunters and huntresses, we sometimes harvest that special animal that may be a first, a big buck, big fish, or beautifully plumed bird to get preserved and hang on the wall as a trophy. When you have that trophy in hand, what are the next steps to take to make sure it is properly cared for until it is safely in the hands of the taxidermist, and how do we care for the mounts when we get them back? 

Growing up in a taxidermy family, I have seen everything from freezer burns and premature decay to faded and bug infested mounts. The care of an animal before and after it is mounted is key in keeping it beautiful for many, many years.

One of the first and very best things you can do before going afield is research taxidermists in your area and find one you are comfortable with. Most taxidermists will welcome you into their shops and showrooms that showcase their work. Talk to other hunters and find out what taxidermists they recommend. Do not go with the cheapest option because the mount will more than likely be poor quality. Bottom line, you’re going to get what you pay for.

Before the animal is mounted and before you are able to get it to the taxidermist, proper storage in the freezer is crucial to producing a good mount. Freezer burns are a common result of improper packing. On the other end, not getting the animal in the freezer soon enough can result in premature decay. 

Mammal, bird and fish taxidermy are very different, so the way they are taken to the taxidermist will be different. When you collect any mammal, the first thing to know for field care is to avoid dragging the animal if at all possible. There are many tools/equipment out there to help you transport your animal. The second thing to know is to keep the animal cool until you can get it skinned or to the taxidermy shop no matter what kind of animal it is. Always consult with the taxidermist before skinning it. The quickest way to ruin a trophy is to skin it wrong. You may also want to wash off any excess blood or body fluids prior to freezing. The third thing is get it to the taxidermist as soon as possible. Carting a deer around is a bad idea, but a coyote or fox is an even worse idea. As nature rapidly takes it course, bacteria starts to grow as soon as the animal dies and the skin will start ‘turning green’ or rotting.

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Birds will be put in the freezer exactly like they were shot. It’s not necessary to do any kind of skinning, so don’t take any of the meat or entrails out. The proper freezing position is to put the head on the chest of the bird and wrap it in a couple garbage bags and tightly seal it. Freezer Ziplock bags are also something good to use. Be careful to not bend or twist tail and wing feathers. One common misnomer is to put a bird in nylon hose and wrap it in newspaper. Many taxidermists cringe when a bird is brought to them inside a hose and even worse wrapped in newspaper. Newspaper will begin the process of dehydration and promote freezer burn, making the taxidermists job more difficult. Once you get a properly wrapped bird in the freezer, call your taxidermist and make arrangements to take it to them.

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Fish have a completely different scenario than mammals and birds. The very first thing you should do when you pull the fish out of the water is take good quality, clear pictures of it. Take an overall profile picture and make sure to get any special markings or colors you want the finished mount to have. If you’re going to release the fish, measure it from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail and the girth all around the body of the fish. If you are keeping the fish, do not skin or gut it and don’t put it on a stringer if you don’t absolutely have to. The best place to keep it is in a cooler or live well until it can be put in a freezer. When you’re ready to freeze it, get a wet t-shirt or towel and roll the fish in it. Wet towels or shirts are key in protecting the fish from freezer burn. Never use newspapers or paper towels. Put the wrapped fish into a trash bag and seal it tight. If you need to, double bag it. If it’s possible, freeze it on a flat board.

Try to have an idea of the position you want your animal mounted in. It will be that way forever. The taxidermist may be able to provide some ideas of positioning, but to avoid delays it is best to know what you want ahead of time.

When you see your mount for the first time, the memories come flooding back. You want it to look like that forever right? When placing your mount in your home, the best thing you can do is to keep it out of sunlight to prevent colors from fading and keep it dusted. Just like anything else sitting on the shelf, it will collect dust. Consult with your taxidermist about what is best to use for cleaning your particular mount. For fish and birds, a feather duster is most likely to be recommended along with never using any chemicals, as they will build up over time and cannot be removed. Dusting also applies to deer, however, some hair care type products are available.

Hopefully these tips will aid you in the process of preserving that special animal you were able to harvest, and to keep the memories of a hunt alive for years to come.

By Allison Stegmann

Allison is an avid waterfowl hunter from Iowa. She is currently a student at the University of Northern Iowa studying Leisure, Youth, and Human Services with an emphasis in Outdoor Recreation. Allison is also a member of of Huntress View, a team dedicated to strengthening 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.

Ken Haas of Whitetail Freaks – 9/11 Interview

September 11th, 2016 by BTC Editor

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BTC: Do you recall where were you and what you were doing on 9/11 when you heard about the terrorist attack? What type of impact did those events have on you as you watched them unfold?

KEN: I was sitting in a grocery store in Council Bluffs, Iowa eating breakfast with two other Troopers while the news was on. We all watched in utter disbelief as the second plane hit the tower. All of us there were prior military and we all had the same gut wrenching feeling that we were under attack and felt very helpless watching the entire event unfold. I remember that day being very quiet and the airways going quiet as all air traffic had been grounded. Living equal distance from Offut Air Force Base and Omaha Eply Airfield it was eerily quiet. It was a huge surprise to see a plane I knew well fly by, that being Airforce one descending into Offut Airforce Base, which was no doubt bringing the President to the center of the country for safety.

As our soldiers continue to fight overseas, it is our job as Peace Officers to protect our country’s border to border against foreign and domestic terrorists. Extremist groups are a constant threat and the uniformed officer, sometimes referred to as “The Thin Blue Line”, are without a doubt this country’s greatest assets when preventing, disrupting and deterring future acts of violence and terrorism.

 

Few people know that terrorism is funded in part by the sale of drugs. The exploitation of the United States and its unfortunate appetite for elicit and illegal drugs is problematic when we spend billions of dollars on heroin that has been imported from overseas. I mention heroin first because of the horrible impact it has on our people, but I do not disregard the impact of the other drugs that are imported as well. As you start to see the larger picture of what is happening, you will understand that the facts of our purchasing these illicit drugs is devastating. That same money used from the sale of drugs will then go back into the pockets of terrorist organizations, allowing them to continue to fund their attacks on the United States and the rest of the world.

As with anybody that watched the unfortunate events unfold on September 11th, that day will never be forgotten. The loss of life, the bravery of the firefighters, the police and other EMS personnel, their memories will not be forgotten. It has been my experience that no matter how bad the tragedy, there is always something to be gained from it. In this case, understanding what funds terrorism and that the profit has cost the world thousands of lives lost unnecessarily, has fueled my motivation and the motivation of many others. The world’s worst criminals are the most vulnerable while they are in transit. By intercepting them we are able to make the biggest impact where we can.

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Ken and his significant other, Malissa Driver. She’s a flight nurse and they are a family committed to public service.

There are many other stories like mine and my arrest of the terrorist suspect (see newspaper article below) that never see the light of day for security reasons, but rest assured uniformed and plain clothed officers are out every day doing their best to ensure that these major criminals do not travel freely to commit acts of violence throughout the country. I also take great pride in educating police officers from every type of policing agency across the country in criminal and terrorist apprehension training. I have instructed for more than 10 years in the state of Iowa, educating our officers and working for a private program called Desert Snow. I have traveled to almost all 50 states and shared what I have learned with thousands. I also take great pride in hearing about the success stories from the officers following the training.

A newspaper article about a terrorist suspect Ken arrested

A newspaper article about a terrorist suspect Ken arrested

In 2011 in Glendale, Arizona I was given the distinct honor as being chosen as the United States 2010 and 2011 Bob Thompson Criminal Interdiction Officer of the Year by the United States Department of Transportation, the United States Department of Justice, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Drug Interdiction Assistance Program, the El Paso Intelligence Center, and the former recipients of this prestigious award.  I have very humbly received many awards in my career, but all of them ill in comparison to sharing and continuing to share what I have learned to educate new officers in the same principles for understanding and recognizing when criminal activity is afoot. That impact, no matter how significant, will change the course of someone’s life in a positive way.

Most importantly, I hope people understand that the Peace Officers of this country cannot do the job without the support of its citizens. As I travel and teach officers across the country, the sentiment from those officers and their communities that they serve is the same. The officers are being overwhelmed with gratitude from the good citizens of this country who didn’t understand that this is not just a Peace Officers fight, but this is a fight that includes everyone in our nation. We who serve without a doubt need the support of our communities and the willingness of those people to share information with us when they see things that are not right. I believe it is this cooperation that will continue to keep our country and its people safe. And those that continue to help law enforcement have my unwavering gratitude and appreciation for their continued help and their dedication to the protection of our communities. For those that have gone out of their way, and for everyone that has taken the time and thanked a Peace Officer, fire fighter, or EMS personnel, I thank you!!!! You, are the people that I am talking about.

BTC: What do you feel is the most rewarding about your job as a state trooper?

KEN: The most rewarding part of my job is tough. It has many facets that stretch out in many directions. Being a first responder and saving lives is huge. So is protecting the innocent from crime and the relentless pursuit of major criminals on our nation’s roads. Few people consider the fact that all crime is, at some point, in transit: the people perpetrating the crime, the proceeds of the crime, the tools to facilitate the crime, or evidence of a crime committed.

BTC: What skill sets learned from your job and training have helped you the most as a hunter?

KEN: So you might ask yourself, “What does this have to do with me hunting, and how do I apply what I’ve learned from such a tumultuous career?” It’s simple. It’s the desire to pursue something, in this case a whitetail deer, and becoming a student of the sport. Many people will refer to me as an expert in my field, both as a Peace Officer and as a hunter. Although it is very humbling, I see myself as a student who is always looking for new ways, a better understanding, and never taking for granted the information that is shared.

One instance I’ll share with you happened last year while hunting. As I was sitting in the blind and watching a buck chasing a doe in and out of cover, I watched intently as I always do and enjoyed watching the doe try to elude the buck. Soon as the buck lost sight of the doe and he could no longer see her he employed a tactic that was not only smart, but something that I had never seen happen before, or at least understood its purpose. The whitetail buck started to stomp his foot and blow in the same alarming mode as if he was to have spotted or smelled some type of danger. I immediately suspected that he had caught our wind and could possibly smell us. So I checked the wind direction only to be reassured that it was correct and the chances of that buck smelling us was nonexistent. That buck taught me that he would employ the same tactic that he would use to alarm deer of danger to get the doe to run from heavy cover where she was hiding so he could continue to pursue her. This was the first time I had ever seen this activity and understood what was happening.

At the end of the evening I immediately called Don Kisky to talk to him about what I had seen and ask him what his opinion was and what he thought about the encounter. After a short discussion, Don had told me that he had just seen the same behavior this year. He had never seen it before but had the same concern I did, that the deer actually had smelled or seen something that made the deer alarmed. We both enjoyed a good laugh as I stated to Don, “I might have taught Don Kisky something”. And knowing Don Kisky, that’s next to impossible when it comes to hunting whitetail deer. Really we just shared an observation that we both learned from.

So how does my career pertain to whitetail deer hunting you might ask? Simple. It’s the same perseverance, it’s the same willingness to learn and continue to learn, and a never quit attitude that keeps me going.  It’s also tradition, a strong sense of brotherhood, and it’s something I love to share with my children. My children understand the “circle of life” and the life lessons that we have had the privilege to enjoy together. They understand that hunting isn’t a right, it’s a privilege, one that we enjoy along with many other privileges. All of those privileges came at a very high cost and I feel very humbled and privileged to be able to share with many two of my greatest passions. To quote Lee Greenwood, “And I won’t forget the men who died that gave that right to me”.

One of Ken's 2015 bucks

One of Ken’s 2015 bucks

 

Trooper Kenneth W. Haas #345 Iowa State Patrol 

Ken Haas is a native of Omaha Nebraska and lifelong resident of the region. Upon graduating from Millard South High School in 1990 Ken joined the Army National Guard, honorably serving for six years.  

Ken received a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1996. While working on his B.S. degree, Ken worked as an Intern for both the Nebraska State Patrol and Lincoln Police Department, affirming his desire for a career in law enforcement. 

Ken joined the Iowa State Patrol in 1996 and is a 19 year veteran as a State Trooper. Ken served as the Iowa State Patrol Intelligence Officer in 2012, receiving a secret security clearance and was instrumental in implementing the department’s Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) initiative. Ken is the lead Criminal Interdiction Instructor at the Iowa DPS Academy, a Drug Interdiction Assistance Program/El Paso Intelligence Center (DIAP/EPIC) certified Instructor, an Associate Instructor for Desert Snow and instructs the Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS) Law Enforcement Intelligence Network (LIEN) School. 

Ken has served in many capacities during his career with the State Patrol including Canine Handler, SWAT team member, Sniper, Hazardous Materials Technician, and Field Training Officer. His dedication to professional development includes more than 600 hours of continued education in interdiction and hundreds of hours in a variety of topics including but not limited to defense tactics, firearms and emergency medical services. 

During his career as a Trooper, Ken has been responsible for more than 350 major drug and currency seizures, and involved in more than 600. These seizures include, but are not limited to, more than 23,500 pounds of Marijuana, 10 pounds of heroin, 1,200 pounds of cocaine, 200 pounds of psilocybin mushrooms, 150 pounds of Crystal Methamphetamine and $13M United States currency.  

As a direct result of criminal interdiction enforcement Ken has been involved in murder investigations, bank robberies, fraud, theft, weapons, terrorism and a lethal force situation,. Fifteen of the seizures resulted in a controlled delivery of the contraband to further the investigation.  These controlled deliveries have resulted in the forfeitures of more than 78 vehicles (53+ were outfitted with after-market compartments designed for concealing and transporting contraband).  

Ken is a certified Level III inspector of commercial motor vehicles. His experience with contraband seizures in commercial motor vehicles includes commercial rental trucks, refrigerated trailers with manufactured compartments, dry van trailers with manufactured compartments, car carriers, fifth wheel motor home transporters, Motor coaches, and seizures of contraband co-mingled within legitimate loads. Ken also has many personal use arrests in commercial motor vehicles and one “cloned” AT&T service vehicle.  

Ken has traveled to 43 states to train FBI, DEA, Homeland Security, TSA, state and local officers, task force officers and attorneys in criminal and terrorist interdiction. He also travels internationally to provide training for the US Department of Justice International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) and trains stateside for the US Department of Transportation Drug Interdiction Assistance program.  

With extensive courtroom testimony experience in both State and Federal courts throughout Iowa and the United States, Ken is considered an expert witness in highway criminal interdiction.  

Ken is a proud father of three wonderful children and has served as a State Trooper for 20 years.  He is a Taijutsu Blue Belt and when he is not patrolling or instructing Ken is an avid whitetail hunter.  He is currently in his 8th year with the television series “Realtree Whitetail Freaks” on the Outdoor Channel.

 

Ken’s opinions expressed in this blog entry are his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Iowa Department of Public Safety.

 

 

A C H I E V E M E N T S   A N D  A W A R D S

 

2014                 Certificate of appreciation from the Department of Defense and the ICITAP program for providing Criminal Interdiction and Terrorist Training to the Kosovo Police in Pristina Kosovo.

 

2011                  Award from The El Paso Intelligence Center in conjunction with the Drug

Enforcement Administration for “The Largest U.S. Criminal Highway Interdiction Of Currency Seized in 2011.” The seizure of 2,569,955.00 in U.S. Currency.

 

2011                  The Bob Thomason Criminal Interdiction Officer of the Year

United States Department of Transportation/ Federal Motor Carrier Administration/ Drug Interdiction Assistance Program (DIAP)

Criminal Interdiction Officer of the Year, nominated  by the former recipients’ of this distinguished award.

 

2011                  Recipient of the 2011 Officer of the year award “Respect For Law 2011”

Optimist Club of Council Bluffs Iowa.

 

2010                 Nominated for the United States Department of Transportation/ Federal Motor Carrier Administration/ Drug Interdiction Assistance Program (DIAP)

Criminal Interdiction Officer of the Year by the former recipients’ of this distinguished award

 

2010                  Recognized by United States Department of Transportation/ Federal Motor Carrier Administration/ DIAP for continued and sustained contributions to highway criminal interdiction.

 

2009                  Recipient of the United States Department of Transportation/ Federal Motor Carrier

Administration/ DIAP “Outstanding Achievement Award”

 

2008                  Golden Dome Award, Iowa State Patrol Interdiction Unit

 

2007                  Colonel’s Commendation for Interdiction

 

2006                  Nominated for Governors Golden Dome Award

 

2005                  Golden Dome Award

 

2004                  United States Attorney’s Office Enrique Camarena Certificate of appreciation

 

2004                  Colonel’s Commendation for apprehension of terrorist subjects.

 

2003                  Nominated Department of Public Safety Employee of the Year Award.

 

2003                  Nominated Governors Golden Dome Award

 

2003                  United States Attorneys Award for excellence in Criminal Interdiction

 

2003                  Drug Enforcement Agency Commendation for Drug Interdiction

 

2002                  Colonels Commendation for criminal interdiction efforts, seizing more than $28.5M in  narcotics and $3.2M in US currency

 

2000                   Jimmy Wilson Jr. Foundation Award, for Officer involved shooting.

 

2000                    Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner’s Commendation Award

 

2000                    Award for Excellence in Criminal Interdiction, Governor of Iowa

 

1998           F.B.I. Accommodation for excellence, for the Apprehension of a bank robber

 

 

 

DIY Trail Camera Stand

September 1st, 2016 by BTC Editor

No tree around to hang your Browning Trail Camera? No problem! Pro-Staffer Kinsey Edmunds gives step-by-step instructions on how to make a homemade game camera stand that can be placed anywhere!

 

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.

Kristy Lee Cook Q & A – Part 1

August 21st, 2016 by BTC Editor

 

 

 

Kristy Lee Cook is most known for being a top 10 Finalist on Season 7 of “American Idol”. She has since stayed in the spotlight and is currently co-hosting “The Most Wanted List” on the Sportsman Channel, along with her 2 friends Jess and Jessi Jo. We recently sat down with Kristy to find out more about her and her love for singing, hunting and all things Browning.

BTC: You are co-host for “The Most Wanted List” on the Sportsman Channel, along with your friends Jessi Jo and Jess. Tell us a little about the concept of this show.

KLC: The show is basically about just having adventures and bringing along friends and family. It’s really fun because we get to bring out a lot of different people on the show. I brought my brother on and we bring celebrities on. It’s just really about showing what it is to share adventures and doing everything you’ve wanted to do in life. A lot of people say there’s things they want to do, and then never do them. We actually go and do them. A lot of people just say it, and they never get the chance to do and see things, so the whole point of the show is to go on these adventures, everything we’ve wanted to do in life, like hunts and anything else we can think of and we go and do it.

MWL_Group_Promo_003

 

BTC: You’re all 3 barrel racers and you (KLC) travel all over the country for that as well to compete in competitions?

KLC: Yes, I do. I’m actually in Texas right now for a competition and I was in Utah and California before that.

 

BTC: Which do you find to be more of a rush: barrel racing, singing in front of a big crowd, or shooting a big buck?

KLC: Oh boy! Well, I don’t get buck fever. I would say the most nerve-racking thing for me is singing the National Anthem. It’s such a hard song to sing and if you mess it up you’re known for life for messing it up. So that’s probably the most nerve-racking thing for me. I do get nervous

 

BTC: I’m sure you’ve had the opportunity to hunt with some well-known people. What is one person that you would like to hunt with one day that you haven’t yet & why?

KLC: I would really like to hunt with my sister again. That would be a lot of fun. I took her on her very first hunt and that’s the only hunt she’s ever been on so I’d like to take her again one day. I’m actually going to have one of my other best friends on the show. I kind of just want to bring on my friends and family and help people go on hunts and adventures that they’ve always wanted to do.

 

BTC: You had a Camaro completely wrapped in camo with the Browning Buck Mark on the hood, so it’s safe to say you’re in love with the Browning brand. How did your love for Browning start?

KLC: Well I’ve just always loved Browning. I came up to them one day and said I would love to put your logo on my car. It’s good advertising and I’m a Browning girl and I want to camouflage my car. So I talked to them about it and they said it would be great if I wanted to do that. I’ve always wanted a camouflage Camaro so I did it! It was just cool.

Kristy-Lee-Cook-Camaro

 

BTC: Was yours was the only one out there like that?

KLC: It was the only one in the world. I did see a few cars get done like that after I did mine, but it was pretty neat having the only car in the world like that. You’d find either people liked it, or didn’t like it. For the people that didn’t like it I was like, “Well, I have the ONLY one in the world like this”. I liked it!

 

BTC: Any good stories about that Camaro? Drag racing? Tickets? Burnouts?

KLC: Actually yes! I’m so used to driving trucks so when I had my Camaro, I was in Nashville and I was going 80 down the freeway in a 65 zone. I didn’t feel like I was going 83 at all because it just drove so fast and smooth. I got a ticket for that for sure.

I couldn’t take it anywhere without people wanting to take a picture of it. I would be in the gas station in my PJ’s and people would still want to stop and take a picture with me and my car.

I also have a little bit of road rage, so everybody knew it was me who was cutting them off!

 

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Q & A with Kristy Lee Cook, to be posted at Huntress View

 

The evolution of the trail camera has been simply remarkable over the last several years, from taking 35mm film to the photo shop to the almost instant gratification of looking at them on your phone, things are simply in a place that was once only a dream.

With that said, there are still some factors in play when it comes to nighttime images that make them seem behind the times.  With all of the advances in technology, why have nighttime images not been perfected yet?  Well, in this format, we’ll do our best to explain the basic science of nighttime images on trail cameras.

Seeing the Waves

Nope.  We’re not at the beach.  But to develop a basic understanding of what’s going on with nighttime images you will want to make sense of the following to help differentiate between the various types of flashes:

  1. Our eyes can only see light that exists within a small range of the electromagnetic spectrum.
  2. That electromagnetic spectrum is measured in wavelengths.
  3. Those wavelengths are measured in nanometers.

Ultimately, these nanometers are your take away from this section because this is the measurement that you can use to understand how each type of flash impacts the quality of your game camera pictures.

If you need a visual aide to help you more effectively wrap your head around the concept of nanometers, NASA has created a handy below:

SOURCE: http://science-edu.larc.nasa.gov/EDDOCS/Wavelengths_for_Colors.html

Measuring the Flash?

Well, we’ve given you the basics on nanometers, but now you’re asking: why do I care?  Well, we’ll do our best to explain that here as simply as possible across all three types of flashes found on trail cameras:

White Flash Cameras   

If you look at the chart from NASA, you will see that they define “visible light” as being in the range of 400nm to 700nm.  That’s pretty much what you get with a “white flash” camera and that’s how you get to see the full color images.

SOURCE: http://www.trailcampro.com/collections/shop-trail-cameras/products/reconyx-hyperfire-hc550

Low-Glow/Standard Infrared (IR) Flash

Now it starts to get a little more complex, because we’re going to step outside the range of “visible light” and move into the infrared range.  For cameras that fall into the “low-glow” or “standard” infrared (IR) category, it’s reasonable to suggest that most of these cameras measure around 850 nanometers.

Now, even though these camera flashes technically fall in the “Infrared” category, they are still close enough to the red in the “visible light” range that (A) if someone is looking in the general direction of the LED bulbs when it takes a nighttime image they will see a “low red glow” and (B) the flash still generates enough illumination to take a reasonably good nighttime images.

Obviously, you sacrifice the color of the images here since you are using a flash outside of the spectrum found in the “visible light” range, but you are still getting a reasonably crisp image without the “flash of lightning” effect you get with a white flash camera.

Bucks IR

 

Invisble/No Glow/Black Flash

As we discuss this type of flash, it is worth noting that it still falls within the infrared light range.  It is simply further away from the “visible light” range than the low-glow infrared flash cameras.  With flashes in this category, it is reasonable to assume that most of them can be measured around 950 nanometers.

The net result of this is that the LED bulbs are not visible when taking a nighttime image, BUT in exchange for that “invisibility” you are sacrificing image quality when compared to the other types of flashes.  This is because invisible flash cameras simply do not illuminate the subject matter as much as the other two.

In this image below, if you look back up to the one we used for the “low-glow” images you’ll notice that the image captured by the “invisible flash” camera is a little grainier and has a little more “white noise.”  They are both still good images, but you can see that one is a little clearer than the other.

Bucks Black Flash

 

Speed Matters

Now, we could get into a long dissertation about the impact that SHUTTER SPEED has on trail camera images, but for today we’ll just provide you with a few quick notes and save the essay on “shutter speeds” for another day.

In this context we only want to relate shutter speed to the amount of light that is available for capturing images.  So here goes: the more light you have available, the faster the shutter speed can be.  The less light/illumination you have available, the slower the shutter speed must be.

Basically that means this: during the day you have enough light for the shutter speeds to be super-fast and capture cool images of deer jumping and birds flying.  This is why most of the cool action shots we see in trail cam pics are daytime pics.

Crows BTC

 

It also means that as you move further away for the visible light range with your flash (i.e From 700 nanometers to 850 nanometers to 950 nanometers…), the shutter speed must slow down to allow enough light inside the camera to capture nighttime photos.  In layman’s terms, as you move from a white flash to a low glow IR flash to an invisible flash, you are increasing the likelihood of blurred images because the shutter speeds needs to slow down.  While this example isn’t horribly blurred, it still demonstrates that the illumination from an invisible flash camera accompanied by the slower shutter speed, doesn’t always give you the cleanest image in the world.

buck

 

What Do I Really Need to Remember?

Well, here is the gist of it, starting with the very basic premise that there are two types of trail camera pictures: daytime pictures and nighttime pictures.

Beyond that, based simply on game cameras, there are 3 types of nighttime images: those taken with a white flash, those taken with a standard/low-glow IR flash, and those taken with an invisible/black flash.

So if we take those four types of images and rank them based on potential quality of the images based on the lighting, they would be ranked as follows:

  1. Daytime Images
  2. White Flash Images
  3. Low Glow/Standard IR Images
  4. Invisible/Black Flash Images

Obviously, there can be a lot more depth to the discussion on flashes and nanometers and shutter speeds and everything else that leads to the trail camera pictures you find on your SD cards, but hopefully this gives you a little bit more of a foundation for understanding why some of the pictures you find on your SD cards look the way they do and helps you with you game planning when it comes to where you put your different types of trail cameras!

 

Tom Rainey

Tom Rainey has been with Browning Trail Cameras ever since they were introduced at retail and enjoys hunting everything from squirrels to whitetail deer…but his obsession is turkey hunting.  His grandfather purchased him a Belgium Browning 20-Gauge A-5 prior to his birth and he has been a fan of the Browning brand ever since…