Antlers in August

One of the many things we love about the hunting community is that we feel connected to so many of you through our TV Show, through the feedback we get from you on social media, and to the hundreds of you that show up for our in-person events. That was exactly the case this month at our annual Antlers in August event, held at the Raised Hunting headquarters in Winterset, Iowa.

We are so thankful for the hundreds of you that showed up to get ready for deer season. We enjoyed hearing from each of you and having a chance to share stories about scouting for deer and how our TV show Raised Hunting, and our Raised Outdoors App have helped you with your hunting strategies, and made hunting more affordable.

Thanks also to Iowa Ag Radio Network for the great video you shared from the event. 

For those who were unable to attend this year’s Antlers in August, here are a few takeaways from the event that can help you prepare for deer season this fall. 

  • At our seminar, Using Rubbing Trees to Put Your Buck Where You Want, we shared the importance of thinking outside the box. When they won’t come to you, make them! When they do come, capture them, on camera of course! Make just a couple tweaks to how you set your trail camera during pre-season to learn more about the whitetail you have your eye on.  
  • We had a panel of three hunters who had each killed a 200-inch deer. The odds of taking a deer of this caliber are one in a million. So, we had lots of questions for the panel members. Their stories all had one thing in common – strategy. They each spent a lot of time planning their hunt, doing their homework, watching videos, and practicing. 

For more information on how to get your gear ready for this year’s deer season, follow us on Facebook or checkout our gear on the Raised Outdoors store.  

If you missed Antlers in August this year make sure to mark your calendar for next year. We look forward to seeing all of you there.

Season 8 of Raised Hunting Premieres in July on the Outdoor Channel

It is hard to believe that we are set once again to release a new series of  Raised Hunting on Outdoor Channel. Eight years have flown by, and sometimes I catch myself wishing we could go back in time to relive some of those special moments. Thank God we have Raised Outdoors where we can watch any episode from any season at any time. 

As I catch myself reminiscing in the past, I try to remind myself that we can’t have memories if we don’t continue to live our lives to the fullest, and that’s all the fuel we need to push us on to the next adventure, the next season and the next hunt. 

What to Expect this Season

Season 8 is going to bring you an amazing season of beautiful landscape and imagery, dozens of wild animals at close range and a plethora of highs and lows that seem to be synonymous with hunting. More important than all that, will be the stories that unfold from the hearts of a hunting family, leaving us with those gut wrenching lessons we learn from life and from hunting. 

Season 8 will take our family and friends to places where we have never been before, to hunt animals we’d only dreamed about, until this year. We will travel to the west where the mountains seem to stretch beyond the clouds, and where the plains are so vast that even the savviest of hunters would wonder how anyone could get within bow range of anything out here.

The bugle of the bull elk will pierce the silence of another beautiful New Mexico sunrise, the roaring gobble of a turkey will sit us up a little taller in our chair, and when an antelope continues to close the distance, you will feel like you are there with us. 

Shotguns will echo in the distance as birds fall from the sky, and arrows will find their mark as they silently but humanely find their way into the exact spot we had spent hours dreaming about.  

Season Highlights

Maybe the highlight will be the elk Warren calls in, the unique whitetail that David has been seeking his entire life, or maybe it will be the second mountain lion that Karin encounters at eight yards. 

Whatever it is, it won’t be the same for any of us, each of us will find that peace, that part of Raised Hunting’s Season 8 that will hit us when and where we weren’t expecting it. It will be that moment that will stick with us and remind us that nothing lasts forever, and soon that moment will be a memory, and we will be left once again wishing for more. God willing we will be working on providing just that, another season of moments and memories. 

Raised Hunting Air times 2021 Season 8 on Outdoor Channel

Monday 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday at 12:30 a.m.

Wednesday 12:30 p.m.

Thursday 6:30 a.m.

God Bless and Good Hunting-David “Dad” Holder

Tracking, Seeing What We Can’t

2020 Opening Day of the Iowa Gun season will go down as one of the most memorable ever for me. Not because I killed a giant Iowa buck or that I even carried a gun or hunted at all. No, it will go down in history for me because for the first time I was able to share with others what I have known for years. Ol’ Dan, our black English Lab, is not only an integral part of our family, with his never complaining attitude, his desire to go with us whenever or wherever we go, but also for a talent that very few realize he has. 

What many don’t know is Dan is one of the best tracking dogs I have ever witnessed. 

Last night I received a call from a good friend and a multi state chairman for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), AJ Duchene. When he called I could hear the concern in his voice and the sincerity of how bad he needed some help. AJ had shot the biggest buck of his life and had been able to follow blood for several hundred yards only to lose the blood trail when the big buck crossed a mowed Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) field. A difficult place to find a sparse blood trail. Add the loss of light and now you have a large predicament. 

I assured AJ that Dan is not a miracle worker, but if you have a deer that’s been fatally hit and the trail hasn’t been torn up yet, I wouldn’t bet against him. 

When Dan and I arrived around 7:30pm, we met up with AJ and his friend. The worry and disappointment was evident as I looked at AJ.  A place where many hunters have been and a place none of us ever want to return to. The two of them took us to where the blood trail started. I collared Dan, hooked on his lead and gave the fellas a few instructions on how Dan works and what I would need from them. At that point I brought Dan over to a leaf covered in blood and gave him the words he loves more than any other, “Find It”! 

We were off, as I listened to Dan’s nose absorbing the frosty air we moved quickly from one draw to the next, passing pink ribbon after pink ribbon where AJ had marked blood earlier. Thus confirming that Dan was dialed in and was making no haste in scooting up the ravines and through the thickest of cover. If the deer went left, so did Dan. If it went right, he was on it. As the pink ribbons trickled out, so did the blood, or at least to the human eye it did, but to Dan this was just part of the game that defines him.  Without any hesitation, Dan headed across the big field. Nose down and like a man on a mission, he took me deep into the field only to make a hard right hand turn. I hadn’t seen blood now for that last couple hundred yards but I could tell my buddy was confident in where he was taking us, so without question I followed. We entered another section of timber and there it was like a glowing beacon, a red speck on a leaf confirming we are on this deers heels. I can hear Dan sniffing but I also hear my comrades several yards behind us talking in disbelief about how dead on Dan is. Right about then we head out into another field and again to the human eye blood is non-existent,  to Dan it’s like reading the newspaper and he continues to pull us closer and closer. Again, I want to doubt because I can’t visually confirm what he knows, but again I trust him, and sure enough we enter the next section of timber and again, I see a drop of blood on a leaf. 

We are now thirty minutes or more in on this journey and at least a half mile from the start of the blood trail. Then, it happens, two or three big washouts and Dan is obviously struggling to stay on the long trail. I recognize he needs dad’s help and I turn him around and we go back twenty yards to find our last blood. Now, the track is back on. It was as if he said “dad, appreciate the help, but I’ll take it from here” and we cruise through this section of timber until we hit a fence, Dan stops, and for the first time I can see him looking at me confused as if he is trying to tell me something. I assume it’s the fence that is giving him pause, so I ask my buddies to look closely around the fence for any evidence the buck might have gone over or under. I am going to circle Dan back again and see what’s going on. Not wanting to worry AJ, I don’t say anything to anyone about how confused I am by Dan’s demeanor as he seems to have lost drive to keep going, which is extremely odd since he has been so confident. 

So Dan and I start to head back up the trail we came down, only this time Dan is working just down wind of the trail, so we are probably 4 to 5 yards west of our original path. At that moment I was in disbelief, there in front of us was exactly what Dan is trained and so talented to find. Dan had not lost interest nor had he lost his drive, he was simply trying to figure out why we weren’t hooping and hollering! For the last 2 or 3 minutes we had been standing about 5 yards from the deer! 

At the moment when I hollered “Boys we got ourselves a deer” is when it became emotional for me as I could hear the relief in AJ’s voice as he asked the question we all ask, “are you sure?” My answer was, “yes AJ, unless someone else also shot a big buck tonight that followed your deer’s blood trail, we have found your deer!” AJ dropped to his knees, both to admire an absolutely beautiful buck, but also to thank his new found friend. I listened as AJ thanked Dan in the dark almost talking to him as if he was a young child, “thank you Dan, thank you for bringing me here.”

What a trail it had been, I could not have been more proud of Dan. As I drove home I called another good friend to tell him how excited I was about what had happened and what Dan had done for someone. I guess he could hear the excitement as I explained every little detail when he interrupted me and said you sound as excited as when Warren and Easton killed their first deer. All I could say is, “I am, I am so glad God gave us Dan and that I got to witness him bring two grown men to tears!”  Man I love this dude. It would be wrong if I didn’t thank Dan for being the faithful, loyal companion friend, and healer he is. But it would also be wrong if I didn’t thank the landowner that allowed AJ on to have this experience. The two biggest thank you’s have to go to Jeremy Moore of Dog Bone Outdoors & Sporting Goods Company, the most amazing dog trainer I have ever come in contact with, and the state of Iowa for finally hearing the voices of the Iowa Blood Trackers Association and giving dogs like Dan a chance to make dreams come true. Thank you all. You have made us more ethical, better as people and as hunters, for allowing us to utilize one of the greatest tools God ever gave us. 

But most of all thank you God, for giving us Dan, and all the other dogs that find their way farther into our hearts and souls than we ever dreamed possible.

David Holder 

Founder, Raised Hunting 

How to Choose a Broadhead

Choosing broadheads can be a very difficult task. You will get a large array of varying opinions that people are often very passionate about. When it comes to choosing a broadhead there is several things to consider. How much weight am I pulling? How heavy are my arrows? What kind of game will I be hunting? All of these factors play a very important role when it comes to choosing the best broadhead for you! Lets start with the different types of broadheads.

Fixed Blade Broadheads

Fixed blade broadheads date back to the stone age. People long before our time used them to take down huge game! The Native Americans used them to hunt buffalo, deer, and other species to survive. A fixed blade broadhead means there is no mechanical or moving parts on the body of the broadhead. They are built into one solid piece making them very reliable and durable.  As the old saying goes, “if its not broke, don’t fix it”. Many hunters today still rely on fixed blade’s.  Hunters today that choose to use fixed blade’s typically do so for a few reasons.

  1. No fear of mechanical failure.
  2.  Typically they get great penetration cutting through ribs, and bone well.
  3.  Cut on contact, as soon as the broadhead touches an animal it will begin cutting anything in its way.
  4. Tough and durable. Fixed blades are very tough, it takes a lot to bend blades or warp the form of a fixed blade broadhead. This allows for the broadhead to be re-used after sharpening. You can also find fixed blade broadheads that have replaceable blades such as the Thunderhead Nitro.
  5. They are extremely sharp
  6. Great for lighter poundage bows or short draw lengths.

On the contrary there are also reasons that you may not want to choose a fixed blade.

  1. Smaller cutting diameter compared to mechanical broadheads.
  2. Do not always shoot the same as field points. With fixed blade broadheads it is imperative to shoot the broadheads to confirm they are hitting the same as your field points. It is not uncommon for your broadheads to hit slightly different than your field points. A well tuned bow is most likely to produce the same impact points from both heads.

As you can see fixed blade broadheads have many positive attributes to them. When it comes to reliability it is tough to beat the fixed blade broadhead.

Mechanical Broadheads

Mechanical Broadheads  are much newer to the hunting world. Shockingly the first mechanical was created in 1959 but they didn’t really catch on until the last 20 years or so. Mechanical broadheads are composed of  a tip or ferule, the blades, and the body of the broadhead. Mechanicals work by holding the blades inside of the body of the broadhead until impacting an object. Upon impact the blades will then expand. There are two main benefits of a mechanical broadhead. One, they are typically very accurate and fly much more similar to field points. Two, they often provide a much larger cutting diameter. Most fixed blade broadheads will have a cutting diameter around an inch and a half or smaller, mechanicals on the other hand often have cutting diameters of two inches or larger. Many hunters love the mechanical for a variety of reasons.

  1. They typically fly exactly the same or extremely close to field points.
  2. They offer larger cutting diameters.
  3. Typically provide great blood trails due to the large wound channels.

The same as fixed blades, mechanicals also have drawbacks.

  1. The possibility that the broadhead does not function properly. For instance not opening, opening to early etc.
  2. Penetration. If you are pulling lightweight or have a very short draw length it will be more difficult to get good penetration out of a mechanical due to the extra force used to open the blades.
  3. Durability. Many mechanicals are very durable but their is times where you may only get one use out of a broadhead. Since the blades are not built into the body of the broadhead they are much more susceptible to bend when encountering ribs/bone.

As you can see regardless of the broadhead you choose there will be pro’s and con’s to each. It is imperative to choose the best based on your situation.

Different Broadheads for Different Game? 

The animals that you are hunting can also play a large role. Many people will say you shouldn’t hunt elk with mechanicals. We have taken several elk with mechanicals that all died quickly and ethically. At the end of the day an effective broadhead is only as good as the shot placed on the animal. If you have a draw length of 25″ inches a draw weight of 45 lbs and you plan to hunt elk. It would be wise to explore fixed blade broadhead options due to the fact that Elk are very large animals, penetration is ideal and a fixed blade is by far the safest option. If you have a 29″ draw length pulling 70 lbs, this person has an option of fixed blades or mechanicals. With the right shot either will do exactly what it needs to.  When it comes to big game species we aim to get the most penetration possible or a  clean “pass through”. This is true for all big game species across North America with the exception of Turkeys. Turkeys are the only animal we hunt that we don’t want a clean pass through. The reasoning for this is turkeys have the ability to fly. If you shoot a turkey in the vitals, get a clean pass through and he flies off you will likely never recover the bird. For this reason we want the arrow to stay in the bird, this makes it very difficult for them to escape. Broadheads that “reverse open” like the one below take away a large amount of inertia preventing the arrow from passing through.

Summary 

At the end of the day it all comes down to shot placement. If you don’t put your arrow in the vital organs the broadhead you chose won’t save your bacon. Understand your bow, your capabilities, as well as those of your equipment. Regardless of the broadhead you use, you should only take shot angles that are ethical and high percentage shots. Fixed Blades and Mechanicals are both great broadhead options! Each will work great assuming you have taken the above factors into consideration!

David killed this large mature bull with a mechanical broadhead.

The Story of “Juice” David’s Largest Whitetail Ever!

Story Told By: Darron Mcdougal

When a bowhunter moves to Iowa, it’s usually because of the state’s giant whitetails. But Realtree pro staffer David Holder moved from Great Falls, Montana, to Winterset, Iowa, for another reason. “My wife, Karin, is a financial advisor with Edward Jones, and her work instigated the move,” Holder says. “We lived in Montana for almost 20 years, but felt that being centrally located in the United States would be ideal.” David and Karin are also co-owners and hosts of the show “Raised Hunting”.

Following his move to Iowa, Holder began assembling a catalog of properties where he could chase big deer. “We own a few properties and have also gained access to some other small properties,” he says. “The largest piece we own is 80 acres. We live on a 50-acre property, and we own another separate 40 acres. We lease a couple others, but nothing large. We also knocked on doors and gained permission on properties where other people are hunting, coordinating with them so that we aren’t competing with one another.”

Holder’s home property served as the hunting grounds for a buck nicknamed “Juice.” The deer earned his name after a tremendous jump in antler growth between 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 years old.

“We’d known about Juice since he was 3 1/2,” Holder says. “But I wasn’t seeing him as regularly in 2019 as I had in the past. Still, I knew of him and sort of understood his pattern. So, I put a couple of new stands up. I felt that when the conditions were right, those stands were right where I needed to be.”

Interestingly, the deer lost his eye in 2018 – a year prior to shooting him. “Last season, I filmed him one morning and both eyes were fine,” Holder said. “The following afternoon, his eye was swollen shut. That was approximately one year prior to me shooting him.”

Fast forward nearly 12 months, and Holder got his first chance at Juice on November 7. The buck chased a doe right underneath his stand. Holder couldn?t get a shot, but told his cameraman that Juice would be back.

“Sure enough, the doe returned 10 minutes later,” Holder says. “He was right behind her. He offered a tiny little window. At the same moment I released, he started walking, which we verified by reviewing the footage. On top of that, I rushed the shot. I’ve been bowhunting a long time, but that buck gave me buck fever for sure. Even though we were filming the hunt, we couldn’t determine if the arrow entered the ribs or merely grazed his belly.”

Holder waited until the next day to start searching. The blood trail was faint and lasted for 150 yards before disappearing. After lots of effort without finding any more clues to the buck’s whereabouts, he concluded that the buck was OK and would likely reappear on trail camera within a week. If it didn’t, he’d take his already-extensive search to the next level.

“Low and behold, I got a picture of the buck two nights later,” Holder says. “I knew I was back in business, because he was chasing a doe in the photo. He wasn’t hurt at all.”

On November 13, Holder climbed back in the stand with Juice on his mind.

“My son, Warren, was my cameraman,” Holder says. “I whispered to him that it didn’t feel like a “deer day.” It was overcast and quite windy. I was wrong. We saw our first deer before daylight. And the deer sightings continued. Juice was the 11th buck we encountered. Interestingly, all of the deer except him traveled downwind. Juice always comes from west of our setup, and he did exactly that.

Around 8:50 a.m., the giant deer chased a doe right toward the father-son duo.

“We honestly got only 26 seconds of pre-roll footage,” he says. “The doe came right in to 23 yards, and when Juice entered my lane, it took three mouth grunts to stop him. I was virtually yelling at him.”

Once again, the buck offered a small window of opportunity.

“He was close enough that I felt confident I could put my arrow right where I wanted to,” Holder says. “After making a non-lethal hit six days prior, I told myself not to do that again.”

But he still hit the deer a little farther back than he wanted. Playing it safe, they backed out for a few hours.

When they returned to search for the deer, they found the buck had expired about 200 yards from the point of impact.

“When my son spotted Juice at the end of the blood trail, he hollered,” Holder says. They weren’t far from the neighboring property, owned by another hunter with whom Holder is on good terms. “My neighbor texted me saying, “I guess I can get down. It sounds like somebody killed the deer I was hunting based on the holler I just heard.” I didn’t know it, but he was hunting only about 300 yards away. It was kind of funny.”

Holder’s buck gross scores 169 6/8 inches as a mainframe 8-pointer. If you add the 10 inches of abnormal points, it stretches the tape to 179 6/8. That should keep a smile on Holder’s face until his focus shifts to a new buck next season.

By: Darren Mcdougal

How to Get the Most Out of Summer Pics!

Proven Tactics to Get Great Summer Pics

Big velvet summer bucks is arguably one of the most exciting times of the year! Seeing deer with massive potential is always exhilarating. Watching a buck develop and grow into the deer of your dreams is hard to beat. Spending countless hours learning his habits, hoping to give yourself the best opportunity come fall. The only thing better than an awesome summer picture of a giant buck, is a picture of a giant buck with you in it! So, here are some tried and true tactics to help you get the best summer pics. Part of getting great pictures is having a great camera. Before you buy any cameras, check out Raised Outdoors! You can save 50% on Stealth Cams through the site and app!

Water

Water can be a great source for awesome pictures. If you have a dry year, or a convenient water source where animals frequent, you may have the perfect spot to catch great summer pics! On dry years, it will obviously be much easier to choose a water source, as the amount of available sources will be far fewer. On wet years, you must be far more selective. Make sure not to rule out water sources on a wet year due to the thought process of ,”There’s water everywhere, why would they drink here”. Water sources in the right location can still be proven productive. Try not to overlook these areas due to a little more rain than usual. If you don’t have a good water source where your deer are spending the majority of their time, it may be wise to provide one. We have also used small, pre-made ponds that work great. In the photo you see below, this deer had just finished getting a drink from our man made pond just below him.

Food Sources

In the midwest, deer will spend large amounts of time in beans and cornfields. Alfalfa fields are great nationwide. I would go so far as to say Alfalfa is my #1 favorite food source in the summer time. Alfalfa is phenomenal for seeing deer and getting great pics. Beans are my second favorite and corn being third. Make sure to scout your food source before setting up your camera to make sure you know where the bucks are coming out. If you do not have the ability to scout first, focus on field corners and main trails. Try and give your camera a large field of view. This will help you get pics that distinguish exactly where your camera needs to be.

A big bachelor group taking advantage of a lush alfalfa field.

Mineral/Feed

Mineral blocks and supplemental feed can be one of the most powerful tools for getting great summer photos. When choosing a location to place a mineral block or feed, we are very selective. We want to be in an area where the bucks are hanging out, but not be invasive. Often times this will be near the edge of a field, or timber. If you are going to use a mineral block, make sure that you have checked the local laws. In Iowa you are not allowed to hunt within 300 yards of a mineral location. If you do hunt within 300 yards of a mineral location, you must bury it. We have had great luck with the Big Tine block and 30-06 cherry rush!

Digital Camera

Send Us Your Pics!

There are lots of ways to get amazing summer photos. These are a few ways that have worked for us year after year. Let us know what tactics you use and more importantly, send us pictures of your big velvet bucks! The time for drooling over velvet bucks is among us my friends, savor every moment!

Tree Stand Placement for Early Season Bow Hunting

Early Season Hunting Tree Stand Placement

Deciding where to hang tree stand 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 hits 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. Look for 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!