Elk hunting vital zone. Patience Elk Hunting in New Mexico pays off.
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.
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.
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.
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
When it comes to scouting for your next big buck there are tons of ways to go about it. From checking trails, rubs and scrapes in the dead of winter when the woods seem to look like an architectural blueprint of where every deer lives, to spending your spring picking up antlers that tell you exactly who is still out there, and what kind of potential they really have. Maybe you’re like us and you spend your summers driving the dirt roads in your area hoping to actually lay eyes on that dream buck. Or you want something tangible for your efforts, so you strategically place trail cameras out to catch a picture of the deer nobody else knows about. Whether you already do all of these things, or none of them, our goal is to give you some proven fine-tuning points that will help you get the most out of any scouting you do. In May or June the only thing going on in the deer woods is bucks beginning to grow their antlers back and does are starting to have little ones. This wouldn’t seem like a very good time to do much scouting for whitetails and for the most part you would be right. However, there are a couple things you could be doing.
Set out deer feed
Believe it or not, May and June can be a great time to set out food blocks or mineral blocks and put a camera on them. Yes, it’s true you won’t get a picture of a fully racked giant buck, but what you will get is deer finding your feed or mineral site which will help in the next couple months when the bucks’ racks are fully developed, and they return to your smorgasbord.
Add protein to their diet
The great thing about doing this is you can be improving the health of your deer herd by feeding them beneficial nutrients they may not be getting elsewhere. Feeding minerals at this time is extremely advantageous for the does as they are under a great deal of stress from both giving birth and raising their newborns. While feeding your deer during this time may not deliver immediate results, anytime your deer are healthier they have the potential to grow larger, because when they have access to certain nutrients, they have a better opportunity to reach their maximum potential. Even though we do utilize feeders in some areas, one of our favorite ways to feed is by using a pre-made block. They are easy to handle and carry into remote locations, they also seem to last longer than dumping bags of food on the ground.
One quick tip: don’t put your blocks in random locations, keep them in areas where deer are naturally feeding. Placing food in the wrong area can actually do more harm than good. For more information on how to attract and feed deer to support growth, check out our YouTube channel, or become a member of Raised Outdoor and follow along all year long.
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.
Founder, Raised Hunting
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.
- No fear of mechanical failure.
- Typically they get great penetration cutting through ribs, and bone well.
- Cut on contact, as soon as the broadhead touches an animal it will begin cutting anything in its way.
- 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.
- They are extremely sharp
- 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.
- Smaller cutting diameter compared to mechanical broadheads.
- 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 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.
- They typically fly exactly the same or extremely close to field points.
- They offer larger cutting diameters.
- Typically provide great blood trails due to the large wound channels.
The same as fixed blades, mechanicals also have drawbacks.
- The possibility that the broadhead does not function properly. For instance not opening, opening to early etc.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Grilled Turkey Breast
Serving Size 3 1/2 oz
- Calories 163
- Fat 1
- Carbs 0
- Protein 26g
Cut turkey breast into thin strips and put them in a gallon ziploc bag
Add the following sauces or your own creation:
- ? cup Soy Sauce
- ? cup Teriyaki Sauce
- ? cup Worcestershire Sauce
Shake bag so that all turkey is covered, let it marinade for 24-48 hours in the fridge.
Pull pieces out and place on grill rotating every 2-3 minutes in order to keep them from burning.
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