Tree Stand Placement for Early Season Bow Hunting

Early Season Hunting Tree Stand Placement

Deciding where to hang tree stands early in the bow season can be difficult. Deer seem to be everywhere eating as much as they can from the grain fields and food plots. But, sometimes all this food can cause a hunter to second-guess the best location for a tree stand. Add to this the fact that fall home ranges and acorns can cause even more problems by the time season rolls around. There are several things to take into consideration as the season approaches, but generally knowing where and what the deer are eating, and where the available water sources are located should be your biggest concern. These can be found through summer scouting and trail camera tactics. Once you have these two things considered out, it is then time to start hanging your stands.

Think About Concealment

Early in the season when the trees are still full of leaves, hunters can get away with not climbing high just to find cover. Concealment ranks high on the priority list of most hunters when choosing a tree to hang a stand in. Hunters don’t want to pick a tree that is bare, but also don’t want a tree that will prove difficult to climb. Most trees in the whitetail’s range offer 12 – 20 ft high hanging opportunities, but most hunters want to be less than 23-25 ft. high. A hunter might get lucky from time to time if they hang on the low end of the spectrum (12-15ft), but more times than not they will get busted before a deer ever presents a shot opportunity.

Another way to stay concealed is to pick a tree with multiple trunks. Not only will this provide that all-important cover, but it will also give you the hunter plenty of places to hang your gear.

If you cannot find a tree with cover, or multiple trunks, and you would rather not climb to 22ft + all is not lost. Consider hanging your stand on the backside of the tree that is along the trail you want to hunt. Stand in your tree stand facing the tree keeping an eye on the trails in front of you. This will allow you to hide behind the tree above the deer while still giving you shot opportunities.

Hunters need to take into consideration the angle in which the stand is going to be placed. For right-handed shooters, place the stand so the prevailing wind hit’s the left side of your body, and vice-versa for left-handed shooters. This will make it easier to draw your bow on any animal upwind of your stand.

Find Water

If the ground you are hunting has a water supply do not ignore it. While the weather is warm whitetails will get thirsty throughout the day. They will not only visit it at midday to quench their thirst, but also in the mornings as they return to their beds and again in the afternoon before they start to feed. Place your stand downwind of the trail leading to the water supply. It doesn’t take a lot of water to pull a deer in. If there is a small stream running through your property, find where the deer are crossing it. The white-tailed deer is an animal that likes to do things the easy way. Rather than cross where it is steep they will walk out of their way to find an easy crossing. Often, before they cross the creek they will usually pause for a few seconds giving you time to get a shot off.

Find Mast

You might notice that the deer are not going to the fields and food plots as early as they once were. You can probably blame acorns on that. The deer are still visiting the fields, but only after an appetizer of acorns. Deer prefer the sweet tasting white oak acorns over the bitter red oak acorns. But, if the reds are dropping fruit and the whites are not, the deer will go to the red oaks. When both the white and red oaks are dropping fruit, the deer will devour the nuts from the white oaks before moving to the red oaks.

The best advice a hunter can get is to set up close to a hot oak that puts you within shooting range. Deer will mill around as they feed on the nuts. Always make sure the wind takes your scent away from the oaks. And as soon as oaks start dropping in good numbers, be ready. It might only last a couple of days, or it could last for weeks.

Don’t forget about the soft mass either. Apple and persimmon trees produce fruit that is well-liked by deer. If you have either tree on your property, hang a stand downwind. Once the trees start dropping their fruit, deer will walk long distances for the sweet treat.

Morning and Evening Considerations For morning hunts, hang a stand on a trail between the food source and a known bedding area like a swamp or thick ravine. It is a good idea to stay within 50 yards from a food source. Any further and you run the risk of bumping the deer from the beds. This is a great tactic to sneak in without spooking deer off the food if any happen to be feeding.

On an afternoon hunt you can often get away with hunting on the edge of a food plot. Try to position your stand about 15 yards downwind from the entry trail or funnel into the food source. Unpressured whitetails will feel safe enough to enter to enter a food source with plenty of shooting light left. Pressured deer may feel the need to stage in thick cover or feathered edges if entering large open Ag fields or food plots.

Conclusion

Early season bow hunting means targeting food and water, yet also playing it safe to ensure you keep the deer herd unpressured. Watch your wind, concealment, entry and exit routes, and shot opportunities. Tree stand placement in the early season is critical for success for those particular hunts and even keeping the deer unpressured for later hunts in October and November.

Gland Scents | How Do They Work?

Deer Gland Scents

David Holder was recently featured in an article about gland scents written by Jon Molden of Big Buck Adventures. Big Buck Adventures is a gland based deer scent company which includes Buck Pre-orbital Ultimate Scrape Mix and Dominant Buck Urine, both used in a mock scrape David harvested the buck above with. The article gives a background on gland scents, the company, and why gland scents are more potent than deer urine. Read the full article on gland scents below!

Capitalizing on Summer Trail Camera Strategies

Summer Trail Camera Strategies for Better Fall Hunting

If your trail camera strategies only include utilizing them in the fall, you are potentially missing out on valuable deer information. Of course, information obtained from trail cameras in September and October is important to plan fall hunting opportunities. Setting up trail cameras has to be a yearlong effort, however, in order to maximize their value and ultimately your hunting success. A ton of information can be acquired throughout summer, which means summer trail camera strategies have to be an essential part of your scouting and deer hunting preparation plan.

Why Summer Trail Camera Strategies are Important

Trail camera strategies have exploded over the last several years. Years ago the novelty of capturing big buck images was all the rage. Although today, more and more hunters are realizing the true benefits trail cameras provide when it comes to hunting.

Being able to remotely collect deer information in multiple areas is one of the biggest benefits of setting up trail cameras. The key is, however, you need to be using your trail cameras throughout the entire year and not just when hunting season rolls around.

Summer trail camera strategies are important for two reasons. First, you will be able to observe fawn recruitment. Documenting the number of fawns that make it through the summer using trail cameras is an ideal way to track predator impacts and the reproductive potential of the herd on a given property. The second important reason to run trail cameras during the summer is to track bucks. Beginning now, you can start to see which bucks are using a particular property and how. Antler development deficiencies can also be observed and mitigated early by using game cameras and implementing a summer deer feeding program. Ideal places to set deer cameras in the summer like around high-quality food sources are much different than areas you are likely to find deer and more specifically bucks in the fall. But realizing this and monitoring the herds on your properties over the summer will expose critical information for a better fall hunting.

3 Top Spots for Trail Camera Placement in the Summer

Deer are fairly predictable from June to August in most parts of the country. Most of their activity will be focused on high-quality food sources and water. For this reason, summer trail camera strategies should be relatively simple.

  1. High-quality food sources – Both does and bucks are focused on forage high in protein and loaded with macronutrients during the summer. Protein is important for antler development and fawn rearing and development while macronutrients are key for antler growth and proper fawn growth. Places to set deer cameras include edges of bean fields, along with food plots planted in high protein forage such as peas or lab-lab and at mineral stations (where legal) loaded down with Big Tine Protein Plus.
  2. Watering Holes – Deer will, at some point, arrive at a waterhole during the day. Focus trail camera placement strategies on reliable water sources such as creeks, spring seeps and ponds. Lookfor heavily worn trails leading to the water’s edge as an ideal spot to set up your camera.
  3. Travel Corridors – With deer feeding and drinking most summer days, it should not be a surprise that travel corridors are one of the best spots for trail camera placement. Travel corridors are somewhat less reliable than food sources or watering holes because they do not concentrate deer together consistently. However, you can often get more pictures of non-resident deer on travel corridors who may have eluded your other summer trail camera setups. Find heavily worn trails from food sources to water or look for natural funnels that lead from bedding areas to food sources.

Summer Trail Camera Tips for Setup

After you have decided on your top spots to hang your trail cameras, you have to consider your trail camera settings.

First and foremost, keep your Primos game cameras in photo mode. Deer in the summer tend to stay over forage or mineral sites for long periods of time and video mode will simply eat up card space without providing any additional information. A basic setup to get the information you need is a 3-minute interval between photos. Any faster interval will mean more photos of the same deer.

Set trail cameras to their highest sensitivity setting when positioned on food plots or agricultural fields. This will help capture images of deer who may have entered the field from a secondary trail. Trail camera settings like trigger speed will vary depending on where your trail camera is set up. When positioned on travel corridors, trigger speed should be fast in order to capture photos of moving deer. On the other hand, trigger speed does not have to be fast on cameras surveying food or water sources.

There are two other important summer trail camera tips for setup. First, check summer trail cameras frequently early on to make sure deer are using areas you are positioned in. For example, a trail camera positioned on an unused food source or deer trail provides no information. You will want to take advantage of your scent elimination products from Scent Crusher when checking cameras early in the summer, or anytime for that matter, to avoid burning a good camera location with your scent. The other important tip is to set up cameras north or south to avoid sunlight exposure on images. The last thing you want is your morning and evening photos, the most critical times of the day for deer activity in the summer, whitewashed out from sun exposure.

Must-Have Items on Your Summer Trail Camera Checklist

No different than other times of the year, there are certain things you need to think about when implementing your summer trail camera strategies. Here are six items to check off with each camera you position this summer.

  1. Check batteries – If your cameras have been hanging during the spring, the best option is to change all batteries. Change batteries before you leave the house so you don’t have to carry them with you or forget which batteries are good and which are not.
  2. Check storage cards – Make sure you have an empty storage card for each camera. A good practice is to download each card after you pull it and store them on a computer or another device labeled in folders with date and location. Then each time you check your trail cameras you can simply swap out the cards.
  3. Update camera settings – As mentioned earlier, you will need to modify your camera settings for your summer trail camera strategies. Go through each camera and update the settings appropriately. Also, check the mode and date/time settings to make sure you are good to go.
  4. Replace straps – Camera straps can get worn over time. Check them before each deployment so your trail camera doesn’t fall and get damaged.
  5. Bring branch snippers – It’s rare you find the perfect tree when setting up trail cameras. A pair of hand snips can make easy work of trimming an opening for your camera.
  6. Hang them at the right height and angle – Nothing is worse than getting a bunch of pictures of half a deer because your trail camera mounting height is all wrong. A good rule of thumb is to mount a camera just above waist high. Also, if you experience camera shy deer, you may want to try a higher positioned camera with a downward angle.

Summer trail camera strategies are just as important as using trail cameras any other time of the year. Critical information such as fawn recruitment and antler development can be obtained right now with correct trail camera placement. Use the summer months as a building block to great fall hunting by taking advantage of trail camera setups now.

Spring and Summer Deer Feeding | When to Start and What to Feed

Spring and Summer Deer Feeding Leads to a Healthier Herd

With deer season well behind us, there’s no better time than now to start planning and preparing for next season. Part of that planning and preparation is providing your deer herd with the right resources at the right time to maximize their potential. Spring and summer deer feeding might be your chance to do just that.

Spring and Summer Deer Feeding Basics

Deer feeding can take on multiple aspects. As a whole, it includes planting food plots, providing supplemental minerals and feed, and working on habitat projects to improve native forage production. Deer management is all about providing the best resources, at the right amounts and the right time. Feeding deer in spring and summer correctly enables you to improve your herd during critical times, which leads to a healthy, more robust deer herd come fall hunting season.

Spring and summer deer feeding is distinctly different than feeding (or baiting) during deer season where legal. Although there are nutritional needs for deer in the fall during hunting season, maximum benefit and necessity from deer feeding occurs during the offseason, particularly in spring and summer. However, feeding deer in spring and summer months can be expensive. It can also be ineffective if not adequately planned out and purposefully designed as part of a larger deer management program for your property. For instance, herd dynamics, such as overall herd size and buck-to-doe ratios, and habitat concerns, such as carrying capacity and available forage, are important considerations to make before deer feeding programs are considered. If these are considered, then it might be time to begin looking into a feeding program for spring and summer.

4 Most Important Benefits of Spring and Summer Deer Feeding Programs:

  1. Attract and retain deer to your property.
  2. Increase antler potential of bucks.
  3. Improve overall deer herd health.
  4. Increase in fawn recruitment.

When to Start Feeding Deer in Spring?

Beyond weather, focus on paying attention to vegetation. Spring triggers new growth in the fields and woods and deer know this. Their nutritional requirements shift from survival mode to growth mode for both bucks and does.

Early spring to mid spring is a good rule of thumb to start your spring deer feeding program. This roughly coincides as food plots will start being planted. Bucks will still be recovering from the rut and the past winter, but they’ll be also transitioning into starting new antler growth. In addition, does will be entering the final stages of fawn development and preparing for nursing. The third trimester and then into nursing newborn fawns, does will naturally have high nutritional requirements to ensure peak fawn survival.

Nutritional Needs of Deer in the Spring

Spring deer feeding has to focus on the needs that bucks and does have transitioning from winter. As mentioned previously, bucks are starting antler growth and does are preparing for fawn rearing. Both of these lifecycle changes require certain nutrients to maximize their potential.

Unless you have planned appropriately for late season and spring forages, chances are your food plots are just being planted. This can create a gap in available food just before and during spring green up. Protein is critical for bucks to rebuild muscle and also for proper fawn development. Choose high protein deer feed, such as the Big Tine 30-06 Protein Plus

 

Furthermore, certain minerals are also needed by whitetails to maintain a healthy and productive herd. Native browse, food plots, habitat projects, and new growth vegetation will fulfill the food” need of deer, but supplementing these sources with the right minerals creates more mineral uptake for deer and more opportunities for hunters. For antler growth, deer feed ingredients such as calcium and phosphorous are a must. Does, generally, will require a range of nutrients and trace minerals during the spring fawning season. What they don’t already get through the environment they can obtain from a good mineral block like the Big Tine Block.

Finally, an often overlooked need for whitetails during spring is sodium or more commonly salt. The need for this relates to the increase in food intake occurring at this time. Ingesting more succulent vegetation significantly increases the amount of water and potassium intake for whitetails and the need for salt to balance the digestive process is great.

When to Transition to Feeding Deer in Summer

Transitioning between spring and summer deer feeding relates to the next phase of the whitetail’s lifecycle. Bucks are continuing to grow their antlers and now fawns are starting to drop. In conjunction, seasonal changes are also occurring.

Spring and summer deer feeding has no clear stop and start. However, deer can clue you in on when to modify your supplemental feeding program. Two observations can help you decide when deer have shifted into summer mode. First, and most obvious, you will start to see fawns. Second, antler growth in bucks will begin to increase to the point where you begin to see more development of points and height. Both observations are an indication that nutritional requirements are again changing for deer.

Feeding Deer in Summer

The most important time for proper nutrition for whitetails is summer. Bucks are rapidly increasing antler growth and does are recovering from fawning and providing for those newly born fawns.

For bucks, calcium and phosphorus continue to be important for maximum antler growth. A large percentage of these two minerals go directly to antler growth. When selecting the right summer deer feed, look for calcium to phosphorus ratios in feeds should be 1:1 or 2:1 to for optimal antler development.

Does have the largest nutritional needs in summer, especially a nursing doe. Their requirements exist on two fronts. They’re losing energy and nutrients while feeding their fawns and in turn, need to be passing adequate resources to that fawn through their milk. If proper food sources are not available, fawn survival can suffer and the health of the doe herd can be diminished. High levels of carbohydrates and protein-rich feed is needed to meet the needs of does in summer. Protein content should be higher in summer than spring. Feeds should have upwards of 15-22% protein content. Also when feeding deer in summer, your feeders need to be accessible by fawns so they too can take full advantage of all the deer feed ingredients you’re supplementing with.

Conclusion

If you’ve planned well, your food plots and native vegetation, in addition to her management should carry all of the nutritional needs whitetails require. Plots planted with high-quality forages like the Deer Delight mix from Arrow Seed provide very productive, palatable, and protein-rich forages from which deer can easily extract all the nutrients they need during the summer. Of course, throughout spring and summer, and even into fall and winter, every bit of energy, protein, and nutrition can go a long way.

To conclude, spring and summer deer feeding are extremely important to overall deer herd health and to maximize antler development. However, don’t think of it strictly as supplemental feed and minerals. Deer rely on the habitat and the environment first, not supplemental feed. Always check your state’s regulations when it comes to feeding deer and minerals for deer. Whenever possible, make habitat and herd management a priority instead of supplemental feed and minerals. However, if you have satisfied those management requirements, supplying additional nutrition can be an added gain on your property!

Raised Hunting | Does HECS™ Clothing Work?

How a Deer’s Sixth Sense Can Be Beat with HECS™ Clothing

Hunters focus much of their time on concealment and scent control. Whether it be using the latest camo pattern from Realtree® or utilizing the full line of Scent Crusher® products, hunters go to great lengths to avoid detection. HECS™ clothing is that missing piece needed to get you closer.

Going undetected afield is not an easy task. It is so difficult that we spend most of our effort in hunting trying to achieve complete concealment. If you hunt long enough, you will certainly get busted without explanation. We chalk it up to a deer’s sixth sense but what is really behind these unexplained missed opportunities?

What is a Deer’s Sixth Sense?

Every animal emits an electrical energy signal. Deer and most animals for that matter can detect this electromagnetic energy. According to study from Hynek Burda in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (http://www.pnas.org/content/105/36/13451.full.pdf?sid=07d86620-89ef-4d42-a63e-c52cbe17d873), there is compelling evidence that large mammals can not only sense electromagnetic energy but respond to it. This can be termed an animal’s sixth sense. An animal’s ability to sense electrical signals hunters give off is no different than their ability to see or smell you.

Understanding Electrical Energy in Animals

It is indisputable that living organisms emit an electromagnetic field (EMF). It appears that animals have the ability to sense the EMF emitted by other animals based on research from Theodore Netter (http://www.hecsllc.com/downloads/research-EMF-Blocking-TheodoreWNetter.pdf). In fact, they might be able to sense them in great detail, according to his research referenced. Humans are no exception. Humans emit electrical energy signals that other animals, including game animals, can sense.

Animals sense and use electrical energy many different ways. The most recognized electric energy in our environment is that from the Earth’s EMF. Fish and other aquatic wildlife navigate using electromagnetic energy and migratory birds travel based on these same electrical signals.

The same way animals use the EMF to navigate, it has been shown by Netter and others that animals can sense electrical signals given off by other animals and more importantly those given off by hunters. HECS™ clothing blocks these signals and keeps you concealed from an animal’s sixth sense.

The best example of how we emit electrical signals comes from healthcare. Consider the medical test called the electrocardiogram, or EKG. Typically, this test is used to measure the electrical activity of your heart to diagnose inconstancies, which may reveal cardiac issues. It works by reading each electrical impulse your heart produces each time it beats. Your heart, like other muscles, produces electrical signals each time they move. The greater the muscle movement the great the signal produced by the muscle. Just like the EKG, this is what animals sense when you are hunting.

How Electrical Energy Relates to Hunting

Every hunter has had at least one occasion where you can’t explain why that deer suddenly spooked or that gobbler hung up just out of range. You have practiced the most stringent scent control, implemented all the tree stand hacks possible and remained motionless in hopes of getting a shot on a trophy. But even all that wasn’t enough to conceal yourself and make the shot.

What happened? That sixth sense, the deer or turkey’s or other animal’s ability to sense your electrical energy signal, busted you. Your accelerated heartbeat or your muscles priming to make the shot are firing elevated electrical signals. Animals are sensing these signals, which are getting you busted more than you think. HECS™ Stealthscreen and the technology behind it is the only way to get closer.

The Technology behind the HECS™ Stealthscreen

Simply put, the HECS™ Stealthscreen blocks electrical signals. It is a patented revolutionary technology that blocks the electrical energy you emit. Doing so, allows you to get closer to game than ever before.

“Something is helping us… So when people ask us if HECS works, yes HECS works.” – David Holder, Raised Hunting

HECS (Human Energy Concealment System) uses a carbon fiber conductive grid to block your electrical signal. Its design is based on a principle called the Faraday Cage, which was invented in 1836 by Michael Faraday. The Faraday Cage (https://science.howstuffworks.com/faraday-cage.htm) is generally a conductive mesh material that blocks electrical fields by channeling electricity throughout the mesh. Typical uses for the technology include protecting sensitive technology equipment from electrical interference or blocking microwaves emitted from your household microwave.

What makes HECS™ Stealthscreen effective is based on the design of the carbon fiber grid. The size of the grid is designed to specifically block the wavelengths of human electrical signals. When integrated into hunting clothing, this carbon fiber mesh creates a Faraday Cage that keeps your electrical energy from being sensed by animals. The fabric not only blocks your electrical signals but it is also flexible, lightweight, breathable and machine washable. HECS™ Stealthscreen will never wash out or become ineffective over time.

How Raised Hunting is Using HECS™ Clothing

HECS™ hunting gear is with us in every hunting situation. No matter if we are hunting elk out west or bow hunting deer in the Midwest, we are wearing HECS™ clothing. We wear it just about anywhere you can think of. Does hunting with HECS™ actually work? Yes, it works and that is why we wear it each and every time we hunt.

“Why do we wear HECS, why not?” – David Holder, Raised Hunting

HECS™ Stealthscreen is one of the products you can’t quite put your finger on. Is HECS™ for real? It’s not tangible like a bow when you know it’s working or not. However, we get away with movement when we shouldn’t. We get animals in close that never look at us. We also get away with drawing our bows, when in other scenarios we would be busted. There is no other explanation other than HECS™ clothing works.

Hunters have experienced situation after situation which is unexplainable. That bull elk picked you out while you were downwind and motionless or perhaps a whitetail mysteriously snorted and retreated to cover. This sixth sense by animals is legendary to hunters and most assumed it was unbeatable. It’s not a mystery, but rather the electrical signals you’re emitting that animals are sensing. And yes, it can be beaten. HECS™ clothing and its patented technology block those invisible electrical signals and keeps you concealed down to the last moment.

Tree Stand Hacks to Use During Deer Season

Which Tree Stand Hacks Do You Use?

Have you ever been in the tree stand when a deer appears out of nowhere and catches you completely off-guard? You’re sitting there with a sandwich in hand, and out steps a hit-list buck at 20 yards. If you’ve hunted long enough, it’s probably happened. But there are a few things you can do to set up a tree stand that will minimize those scenarios. Here are several tree stand hacks to help you pick a location, set up your hunting gear, and ultimately, bring some venison home.

Tree Stand Placement

If you’re always picked out in a tree stand before deer get within range, you’re probably in the wrong spot or stick out like a sore thumb. Before you set anything up, think about the direction that deer will likely approach from (e.g., bedding areas for evening hunts, food plots for morning hunts, etc.). Instead of setting your tree stand directly in line of sight along a deer trail, place it downwind off to the side of the trail. Ideally, you should hang it within a dense conifer or oak tree, which will have enough cover to hide your silhouette. This simple idea is one of the most important tree stand hacks to utilize because it can allow you to hunt without spooking deerHanging a tree stand in a bare aspen or maple tree will really make you stick out, and you’ll probably be busted before you ever get a chance to make a shot.

 

There are a lot of tree stand tips depending on what style of stand you use. For example, if you’re wondering how to hang a hang-on stand safely, use a safety harness with a lineman’s belt, which frees up your hands to pull up additional ladder sections and the platform very easily. When you get to the top, you can screw in a sturdy hook to hang your platform from while you attach the ratchet straps around the tree. It’s a great tree stand hack that saves time and frustration, and is much safer for you.

Hunting Gear Setup in the Tree

Before you leave for the woods on a solo hunt, you should obviously know how to put up a tree stand by yourself, but there are other tree stand hacks as well. For example, once you’re in the tree (whether you’re in a ladder stand, climbing stand, or hang-on stand), how do you set up your hunting equipment so that it’s all easily accessible when you need it? How do you organize your camera gear so that it will take as little movement as possible to film your own hunt?

First off, let’s start with your bow. It’s certainly the most important piece of gear you’ll need to kill a deer, so it should be a priority concern. Many bow hunters elect to hold their bow at all times, just because you never know when a buck might pop out of the bushes. But that can get tiring. If it’s hanging above you, you have to turn halfway around and create a lot of commotion. Try using a HAWK® bow holder, which you can attach to your tree stand platform. It takes almost zero movement just to reach forward and grab it with your bow arm versus turning around in the tree stand.

   

Second, let’s talk about camera gear. It can get crowded in a tree with one or two cameras running. And the last thing you want is for one of the camera arms to block your shot. Use these tree stand hacks to solve your filming woes. Fourth Arrow® camera arms are solid and very adaptable in a tree, which gives you flexibility to get the right camera angle. If you’re a right-handed archer, you should place the camera arm on your right side. That way you can easily move the camera with your right hand before drawing the bow and making the shot.

Last, there’s all the other miscellaneous hunting gear that we bring with us. While you can get by with very little on an early season hunt behind the house, you might have to take a whole backpack with you during a late season hunt to a remote location. Use gear hooks to hang your backpack up in the tree beside you, which will keep it out from underfoot and help make sure you don’t knock it out of the tree stand accidentally when you shuffle your feet. One of the most important deer hunting hacks you can use is to eliminate your movement while in the stand.  Hanging it on a hook also keeps the contents up higher so you don’t have to hunch over to access it. But if possible, keep the critical stuff in your coat pockets since they will be much easier to access.

  

Additionally, many hunters use binoculars and range finders to identify deer and make accurate shots. If you’re one of those hunters, you need to be able to quickly grab your optics. Don’t just place them on top of your seat or bag since you could bump them, which would break them as they fall from the tree and ruin your chance at the approaching deer. Instead, hang your Nikon® binoculars or range finder on a chest harness, which will keep them safe, accessible, and out of the way for a shot. 

Do you use these tree stand hacks already or will you be adding them to your list of hunting skills the next time you’re in the deer woods?

Is Your Youth Hunter Ready for Deer Season?

Start Preparing Youth Hunters Now for Deer Season

 

Deer season is approaching fast. Many states are in full license allocation mode and hunters should be starting to think about how to prepare for this upcoming season. Whether you are planning to take youth hunters out for the first time or another deer season, there are a few considerations to think about during the summer.

 

What is the Right Age?

 

This is the hardest question a parent has to face when deciding on taking kids hunting. One thought is that your kids can never be too young to start getting involved in the outdoors. While this is true, there is a big difference in getting kids involved in the outdoors and actually hunting with them. Youth hunters have to have the attitude and ability to be part of the hunt. Kids with a prepared attitude should be able to deal with harvesting an animal and have an understanding of the great responsibility that brings. Hunting with kids that can accurately shoot, be patient to sit for long stints and be able to physically and safely deal with environmental conditions are all important ability aspects.

 

So what age should I start hunting with my kids? While there are regulations in many states as well as mentored youth specific programs for hunting, there is no specific age when a child is ready to hunt. You as a parent will know and be able to assess this summer how another year has added to their attitude and ability when it comes to being ready for this year’s deer season.

 

 

Formal Hunter Education for Youth Hunters

 

Besides the experience and training, you can provide your youngsters, formal hunter education programs are ways to teach your child about hunting. These hunter education programs are often mandated for kids and required before young hunters can take to the woods or buy a license. Each course is designed to teach new hunters about safety, regulations and being a good sportsperson. Courses usually consist of a full day of classroom work followed by a test of knowledge, which requires a passing score to be able to become a licensed hunter. These courses are offered throughout the summer months through your state wildlife agency and in most cases in cooperation with local sporting groups.

 

 

Mentored Youth Hunting Programs

 

Age, and more importantly attitude and ability, determine when a kid is ready to go hunting. But how does one build those skills with youth hunters? The answer is what hunters have been doing for years and has recently become part of most state wildlife agencies programs. Mentored youth hunting programs are designed for kids who either do not meet the legal age or are not all the way there enough to fully take part in hunting. This allows younger kids the ability to learn all aspects of hunting, including harvesting certain game species within a set of specific guidelines. A powerful way to get and keep kids involved in hunting. As part of preparing for deer season, review your state game laws now in summer and see what requirements there are if you are thinking about taking kids hunting for deer this season.

 

 

Practice Hunting Safety Throughout the Summer

 

Safety in hunting comes down to weapon safety. Whether it be with a firearm or bow, nothing is more important than making sure your kids and other hunters are all safe while afield. Summer is the perfect time to practice safely operating a gun and getting comfortable shooting and handling it. Cover all aspects of gun safety such as handling the firearm, loading it safety, safe shooting and range and hunting etiquette. A good choice to start kids out with is a Gamo air rifle, which is easy to handle and has low recoil to get kids comfortable shooting safely. Summer camps that provide instruction on shooting, hunting and the outdoors such as the Raised Hunting Bow Camps are a complete and valuable resource to get your kids involved in the sport.

 

Hunting Safety Tips

  1. Know your surroundings. Focus practice this summer on getting kids concentrated on the act of hunting. The most dangerous time hunting with kids, for them and you, is when they get distracted and forget about their surroundings with a loaded firearm.

 

  1. Be sure of your target. Teach your kids that you only pull the trigger when you are 100% sure of your target. When hours of hunting finally pay off with a deer within range, you need to be completely sure of your shot and what is around, behind or near it before you take the shot.

 

  1. Practice then practice again. Summer gives you the opportunity with longer days to spend more time practicing safety. Head out to the woods and practice situations your youth hunters may encounter during deer season. This will instill safety as priority one while hunting.

 

Summer Preparation Activities for Youth Hunting

 

Along with safety and hunter education, there are a number of activities you can do this summer to prepare kids for deer season. Although there are much more, these three activities will have you and your kids ready to go on opening day.

 

  • Spend time in the woods. A child’s hunting experiences will be much more enjoyable if they know exactly what they are in for. Taking kids in the outdoors often over the summer provides them a chance to explore the woods with you and get comfortable with all the sights and sounds. They will learn how to walk through the woods, look for deer sign and understand how game moves with the goal in mind of preparing for deer season.

 

  • Gear up. Do not skimp on youth hunting clothes and other gear. They will be more comfortable and more likely to enjoy the sport if they are outfitted like a hunter. Start with Under Armour youth hunting clothes matched with a good weatherproof layer and topped off with a kids orange vest and hat. Also be sure to get quality boots to keep your youth hunters comfortable and dry. Gear up in the summer so clothing and boots can be broken in before deer season. The most important piece of gear, the youth bow or gun, should be very familiar for the youth hunter by now. If they do not have a bow or gun specific for their size then go get one!

 

  • Plan Hunts Now. Each hunt is more critical than usual when taking kids hunting with you. A bad trip or two can quickly turn off the enthusiasm. Summer is when you want to plan your youth hunting Scout areas that are not too far off the trail and have little hunting pressure. Consider if you will be hunting from a stand or blind and be prepared with several locations within walking distance so you can move as patience wears. Have these spots prepared and ready to go come opening day.

 

Preparing for deer season now in the summer is even more important if you are planning on taking kids hunting in the fall. Youth hunters should be properly educated and have the attitude and ability to be part of the hunt. Focus summer activities on safety and basic hunting skills in these months leading up to deer season to ensure successful youth hunts this fall.

 

Don’t know where to start? If your kid is the right age to begin hunting, then go ahead and start with the gear. Check out Whittaker Guns for great prices on youth guns, bows, and gear! After the gear, get them acquainted to it and go over hunting safety. Then follow the rest of the blog’s advice all the way up until deer season!

shed antlers

Why Do We Hunt For Shed Antlers?

Finding Shed Antlers | Why Do We Shed Hunt?

 

The desire to find shed antlers from deer and elk have created a die-hard passion within the tight-knit community of hunting.  Reasons to work hard in the late winter, spring and summer to find white gold vary from person to person.  There is the intrinsic value of finding antlers and building history with particular animals year after year.  Shed antlers are a large part of working to unlock the secrets of a mature deer or elk’s movements.  In part two of a  five part shed hunting series, David and Easton Holder and their taxidermist, Wayland, express why they love finding deer sheds. This is where the anticipation begins to build for the upcoming fall.  Making clear notes of where shed antlers are found can help build your scouting and hunting strategies for the entire year.
In case you missed it, find “How to Train Yourself To Find More Shed Antlers | Part 1” below!

 

Part 2 | Why Do We Hunt For Shed Antlers?

 

“Shed Hunting Tips, Part 2, why do you shed hunt? What is it about deer sheds that force us out into the bitter cold of February and early March? Have you asked yourself that question and thought or came up with a solid answer? Some may answer to scout my property, other may answer to simple find a shed, or to get a picture of a shed in my hand. Whatever it is that drives us to the cold woods every winter, it’s a good thing. Raised hunting discusses the reason for why we shed hunt. On the discussion, we reveal some eye-opening opinions. First is satisfaction without anything spent, it does not require a license, does not require a set in season. It is going out to the woods for one goal, to find deer sheds and the rewards of finding a shed go much farther than just holding a deer antler. Finding a deer shed provides more history, more information, the locations, and habits of that buck. It confirms that he has survived the season, and knowing that he will be bigger than what you are currently holding. Reversely, finding a dead head is the end of a long story, it can be frustrating, but knowing where your hunt stops is key. Early or late, we still get out there, enjoy the outdoors, share the memories and frustrations, and share the passion of hunting. Why do we shed hunt? Why do we go out looking for deer sheds? What is your answer?Shed Hunting Tips Part 2 – Why Do We Shed Hunt

 

Taking the time to look for shed antlers is not just about preparing for the coming fall. David says in the video that the best part of looking for antlers is, “You don’t need a license.”  Unlike sitting in a tree during the fall, looking for shed antlers does not require a license.  Finding shed antlers is one of the best ways to get someone new interested in hunting as it opens the door to a new world of adventure opportunity.  Because antlers are a part of the mystery of the wild which peaks the curiosity, it is easy to introduce new people and kids to the hunting community through shed antler hunting.  Now, some states in the West may have restrictions forcing people to wait until much later in the year to begin looking for antlers, which has more to do with not putting extra pressure on animals trying to recover from a harsh winter.  Other states may have rules in regard to finding dead animals, or deadheads as David refers to them in the video.  Quickly checking your state regulations is always a good way to stay proactive in order to have a full understanding of the laws.

 

What To Bring

 

Chances are, regardless of where you are going to look for antlers you are going to be out for a while and walking a few miles. David says in the video he recommends people carry a small backpack to pack snacks and water in.  Even in the cooler temperatures of the late winter and early spring, you can still become dehydrated and lose focus in the field possibly walking by antlers.  A good backpack is also needed for when you need a place to put your coat or sweatshirt after walking for a while, not mention a place to carry antlers when you do find them.

 

why-we-hunt-for-shed-antlers_pic1

Binoculars are also a necessity for shed hunting. Having a great pair saves you a lot of walking to decipher whether or not that “thing” in the field is another corn stalk or an actual antler!

 

Did these basic shed hunting tips help? Don’t miss the other shed hunting videos in this five part series!

Shed antlers

How to Train Yourself to Find More Shed Antlers | Shed Hunting

Training Yourself to Find More Shed Antlers

 

You can search high and low, far and wide, mile after mile, but that doesn’t mean you will find one. Shed antlers are in demand this time of year and there is no doubt that they are the main focus of every hunter once February arrives. Whether you are in search of elk sheds, mule deer sheds, or whitetail sheds the fact is that shed hunting in general always comes down to one harsh reality…the ability of your eyes to spot sheds!

The common saying of “miles equals piles” might hold true until you get down to comparing the piles themselves. The pile of a shed hunter with trained eyes versus a first time shed hunter will be substantially larger! Point being, training yourself to find shed antlers before actually searching will drastically improve your results!

The Best Set of Eyes Might be Your Taxidermist’s!

Breaking shed hunting down to the bare bones allows many hunters to arrive at the same conclusion each and every year. The hunter that has his eyes trained on the shape, color, and size of antlers the most, is likely the best shed hunter. You then might ask yourself “who looks at antlers on a daily basis?”. No, some antlers laying around the house here and there, or stacked in the “man-cave” does not count! We are talking about someone that eats, sleeps, and breathes antlers!

Your taxidermist, the artist who takes in seemingly hundreds of antlers and is around thousands upon thousands of inches of bone each and every year, is often the best shed hunter you will come across in your life. Your Taxidermist has a set of eyes that have studied, picked apart, undressed, and most likely even dreamt about antlers year after year. This is the guy or girl you want in your shed hunting group!

How to Train Your Eyes!

The sad thing about the best shed hunter around (your taxidermist) is that he or she is swamped this time of year! Being around all those antlers comes at a cost, it is more than a full-time job! The reality of the best shed hunter you know is that they probably don’t have time for shed hunting, leaving most if not all of your shed season entirely in your hands (actually your eyes)!

The question to ask now is… “How do I quickly train my eyes to become as good of a shed hunter as my taxidermist?”

How To Find Shed Antlers | Training Yourself To Find More Deer Sheds (Pt 1 of 5)

(Video) In this first of a 5-part series, the crew will discuss how to train yourself to find more sheds, focusing around tricks to train your eyes to identify sheds tucked away in the landscape.

One of the best tactics to train yourself at spotting shed antlers is to simply replicate the scenario. Toss a shed in multiple habitats and ground cover types…simple yet effective! A corn field, thick grass, open pasture, thick timber, or within a food plot, really just about anywhere and everywhere you would expect to find sheds. Seeing the outline, color, shape, and size of the antler in the elements (different ground cover types and light conditions) will slowly build your eye’s ability and skill to spot the shed antlers.

Do this each and every time you shed hunt! Always take an antler or two with you on a shed hunting trip. Before moving into a new ground cover type, say a cornfield, simply toss a couple antlers and have everyone in the shed hunting group look the antlers over. After sweeping the cornfield and before moving into another ground cover type like timber, run the antlers through the group again. This time the group will be trained to what antlers look like in the timber, as they are now searching new ground cover type as well as a bit more shaded light conditions. By training your eyes just before searching and practicing this repeatedly shed hunt after shed hunt your eyes will eventually be at a level comparable to that of your taxidermist!

Training your eyes stacks the favor in your odds, however, a big player in shed hunting success comes down to the time you go, the weather, and what the specific conditions of the property are in terms of ground coverage.

When to Shed Hunt

Weather, ground cover height and characteristics, as well as the time of day all are factors to consider when planning a shed hunt. The absolute best conditions for shed hunting would be the following (this is often debated).

  • Weather:

The gloomier the better. Bright days make it hard to spot glistening antlers as shadows and bright light drastically alter the surrounding habitat and ground coverage. Gloomy days allow the whites of antlers to still pop, yet keep the white of the sun off the surrounding sticks, leaves, or corn stalks.

  • Time:

Anytime you can is the best time to go shed hunting…period. The timeframe, however, is a different story. Late February-early March usually has you arriving when most deer have shed, ensuring you are not busting deer off the property before they shed.

  • Ground Coverage:

Just after rain or if snow is covering the ground completely but has melted off slightly often creates the best possible conditions. When the brush, and ground coverage is laid over and mashed down, or slightly melted snow is on the ground it is very easy to spot shed antlers!

Raised Hunting’s Shed Season

This information is the beginning of several shed hunting tips that could significantly increase your piles of sheds this year. This is just part 1 of a 5 part shed hunting video series. Check out all the shed hunting videos and tips by Clicking Here. Also be sure to stay up to date with the Holder family by following Raised Hunting on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter!

 

processing game youth hunting | Raised Hunting

Processing Game With Youth | Youth And The “Dirty Work”

Processing and Preparing Wild Game I Leading the Way for the Youth

processing game youth hunting | Raised HuntingThere is truly something special and spiritual about the fall, cooler air, the changing of the leaves giving way to the first snow of the year. Fall is truly a magical time to put on the Realtree and hit the woods.  Fall is also the season of the harvest. Not only harvesting game, and processing game, but also for farmers. The hard working and dedicated agricultural producers of our Country begin to literally and figuratively reap what they have sown, providing a means to take care of us here in the United States as well as many countries overseas.

Of course, you cannot think about fall, and especially the month of November without thinking about the tradition of thanksgiving. Giving thanks for all we have, that too is a very magical and spiritual thing itself.  Giving that fall is the season of harvest and a time reflect and give thanks on the bounties that God has provided, perhaps it’s only fitting that hunting season occurs during this time of year.  Having the ability to head out into the woods, and enjoy the cool fall atmosphere with friends and family, enjoying the bounty that nature has provided is something that all of us should be thankful for.

One of the most popular characterizations of hunters by non-hunters is that we do not appreciate nor respect true animals we are pursuing.To them, all we care about is all letting the GoldTip fly, and nothing more past that. If you are a hunter, you know that this premise could not be any further from the truth.  Sportsmen and women do more to conserve and protect our natural resources and the wildlife that we pursue than anyone.This goes along with many other non-game species as well. We give billions of dollars annually to help manage our wild landscapes and the animals that live within, and we self-impose limits and restrictions to ensure that others can enjoy these resources for generations to come. Hunting and the hunting lifestyle instills ethics and  an appreciation for our environment and our natural resources. It teaches hard work, discipline, compassion, and unity. You see it’s not all about the kill, it’s about enjoying nature and harvesting a hearty and healthy food source to help feed our families. We are thankful to have the opportunity to enjoy nature in such a way!

The Other Side of Hunting

processing game youth hunting | Raised HuntingWhen we talk about the sport of hunting having the ability to instill a work ethic, many would have you believe that it is all about the work that goes into making the hunt happen. While that is certainly the case, the work doesn’t end once the animal is one the ground.  One of the best ways to get youth involved in the sport of hunting in a way that will help to teach them what it means to truly “harvest” an animal is to get them involved in the “dirty work”.   Harvesting, processing game, and cooking your own harvested meat usually requires a lot of work, especially if you are planning to process the game yourself. While the small game doesn’t require much effort (other than packing the Gamo) as say a white-tailed deer or elk. Cleaning and processing wild game is a skill and requires attention to detail and there is not a better way to learn than “hands-on”.

If you are introducing a youngster to the art of self-processing your game, sometimes it’s almost better to start out with a larger animal like a white-tailed deer. Reason being is it’s easier for them to see what you are doing, and there are opportunities to get them involved right away. Regardless if they are holding a leg, or holding a light getting them involved early helps to ensure that the lessons you are instilling take hold. It’s can be very easy for a young mind to wander, getting them engaged is critical.

Talking them through the process is good, showing them the process is better, letting them help while explaining the “why” and the “how” is best.   It is important for them to learn and understand that if you plan to harvest an animal, you had better be prepared to put in the time after the trigger is pulled.

Though big game animals are great for illustrating the principals behind cleaning and processing wild game, for their first solo attempt, nothing beats working on a smaller animal like a squirrel or a rabbit. Although the process is a little different, game bird species like quail and waterfowl are also excellent starter animals. Though the process may be different, the concept is still the same!  You might just surprise at just how many do not take the time to properly educate young hunters on the process of “field to freezer”. Will the pickup bits and pieces along the way? Sure, and is there something to be said about learning by doing?  You bet, but by taking the time to step them through the process and teaching them how to use a knife effectively you can certainly save them a lot of time and frustration.

Never Too Late to Brush Up

Now, you might be thinking “yeah this is all great, and I can see teaching my child how to field dress a deer but we take our game to a processor”. If you are one of the many who elects to have their game professionally processed, that is fantastic as well. There is not a thing wrong with having your harvest processed by a professional.  That is your choice!  At the end of the day, it is all about the lesson that comes from the harvest, and that is simply “respect the animal”.

processing game youth hunting | Raised Huntingprocessing game youth hunting | Raised Hunting

As we have made mention several times up to this point, processing wild game is certainly a skill. The skill necessary to effectively process wild game can certainly he honed over time. However, there are many of us out there who have probably never really be taught the “proper” way to process wild game. Whether you are taking the animal to your home for processing, or you a the type who prefers to debone the animal in the field there is certainly a right and wrong way to complete the process.

If you fall into this category, don’t be ashamed. There are many just like you!  Regardless if you have never been officially taught yourself, or you just want to brush up on your techniques there are opportunities out there to do just that.   For starters, pay a visit to your local butcher. Generally, they are more than willing to discuss proper cutting techniques, types of cuts and can generally provide you with a few helpful storage tips as well. If you are looking for a something that is a little more hands on, many states offer “field to freezer” courses through their fish and game departments.  These courses provide hands-on learning opportunities that can teach everything that you need to know to clean and process both large and small game.

Enjoying the Fruits of Your Labor

Teaching a youngster that the work isn’t over once the trigger is pulled is a very valuable lesson that will help them develop into excellent outdoor men and women.  Giving the tools and information they need to be able to properly clean and process the game the harvest is a really important piece of the whole hunting experience.  The final piece of the puzzle that helps paint the whole picture is enjoying the fruits of your labor, and preparing a meal that consists of the game you have harvested.

There is no doubt that cooking is a very technical skill that can often require many hours in the kitchen to perfect and hone the craft.  Luckily, when it comes to a wild game there is a plethora of menu options and recipes that are available either on-line or in a wild game cookbook that anyone can complete and enjoy.

Click Here For Raised Hunting Wild Game Recipes!

From grilling, jerky and baking to crockpot meals, there is an abundance of options that even a youngster can master in just a few tries.  The wild game lends itself to be very easily incorporated into a wide range of ingredients, herbs, and spices and with a little research and practice; you can be eating well all winter long.

Having a youth hunter involved with not only the harvest, but everything that comes after (cleaning, processing, and cooking) really helps to them to understand the entire process that is involved in harvesting an animal.  It helps them to understand that you if you don’t plant to consume the animal, or provide the animal for consumption by someone else, then it are simply not worth harvesting the animal.  It helps so them not only the importance of ensuring they utilize the animals that they harvest, but that wild game is also excellent table fare and can be easily prepared in a short amount of time.

As mentors in the outdoors, you have the ability to set the example when it comes to youth hunters and the experiences that they have in the great outdoors.  In order to ensure that they are as active, passionate and share the conservation values that was passed down to you from your mentor.  As you find yourself in the outdoors this fall, especially if you are fortunate enough to find yourself sharing a tree stand or turkey blind with a new or young hunter, just remember the responsibility that you have to set the example and not only teach them how to hunt but to ensure that they are equally prepared to do the dirty work that comes with harvesting wild game.  If you take the time to do that, then the hunting heritage that we love so much will be in good hands for many generations to come, and we can rest easy knowing that our fish and wildlife species will continue to be a priority and be managed for, for generations and you will have done your job in passing the traditions along!