Successful Bowhunters: Jordan Budd

I finally moved myself over enough to see all of his vitals and felt it was the right time for a shot. I waited until his head was completely turned away from me and his ears were out before I drew. I remember feeling extremely in control of that shot and thought process—smooth draw, anchor corner of the mouth, nose on the string, good level, settle my pin and squeeze. As soon as the shot broke, I saw that arrow arcing right into his shoulder, then it sounded like a branch breaking as he jumped up and took off. Not believing what had just taken place, I sprinted up the hill to my boots where I could get a better look as to where he had gone. I scanned around with my binoculars and found him lying about 150 yards from where I had shot him, expired. My arrow had broken through both shoulder blades on a clean pass through, and it was all over in 20 seconds.

Would you like to be signed up for the EBJ Extra mail list? CLICK HERE!

Click to view slideshow.

The post Successful Bowhunters: Jordan Budd appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.



The weather broke from thunderstorms for a small time in the afternoon, and we made our move. We made our way into the wilderness as far away from people as possible. A combination of stillhunting and spotandstalk was our plan of attack now, and we planned on not going back to base camp without an elk on our backs.  

After about an hour and a half of hiking, we heard a bugle. We made a beeline toward the bugle and tried some cow calls to hopefully locate him before he got us and be able to put together a stalk. As we came closer to the main bugle, there were three or four other bulls in the same area beginning to bugle back and forth. We finally got to the point where the bugles were close enough to set up a small hideout and see if a call would bring them in. I hunkered under an old pinion pine tree with my dad set up about 20 yards uphill from me. As I was settling in, I noticed about 60 yards in front of me was a huge wallow. This was the perfect place to set up and just wait patiently for them to come to water. 

Click to view slideshow.

Time seemed to fly by as I listened to all the bugles going back and forth between the bulls, but with all the excitement came anxiousness as the thunder clouds began to roll back in. I got to watch a couple of herd bulls chase off satellite bulls and listen to bulls scream so close, the hair on my arms would rise. When the thunder from the storm would boom, it would echo in almost perfect harmony with the calling bulls; it was a soundtrack that was unbelievable.  

Continue reading

Successful Bowhunters: Chad Cruicksank

When I returned the next morning, the deer was expired right where I left him bedded the previous night. I went in to retrieve my trophy and was startled by a black bear protecting the carcass. It looked as if he had chased off a coyote that had started eating the carcass. I quickly prepped and quartered my deer, took it home to the cooler and later returned to hunt the black bear that couldn’t have gone far. With the help of my buddy, R.J., I was able to get an arrow into the bear. Not only had I harvested a great mule deer, but also had a fall black bear to boot. You cannot make this stuff up!

Would you like to be signed up for the EBJ Extra mail list? CLICK HERE!

Click to view slideshow.


The post Successful Bowhunters: Chad Cruicksank appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

Successful Bowhunters: Brian Schiermeister

When the bull stood up I didn’t have a good shot angle on him and wasn’t able to squeeze the release. He got to the bottom of the little bowl they were in and started up the other side. Then he made a deadly mistake, and stopped to take a look back. When he stopped I guessed the yardage and made the adjustment on my aim. The next thing I knew I had my hands in the air, embracing all of the emotions of joy, relief, and thankfulness for having just harvested my first bull elk.

Would you like to be signed up for the EBJ Extra mail list? CLICK HERE!

Click to view slideshow.

The post Successful Bowhunters: Brian Schiermeister appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

Razor Max vs. Razor Blaze

This fall I was able to put Outdoor Edge’s first fixed-blade replaceable-blade knife through the ringer on big game. For years, we have been using the Outdoor Edge replaceable-blade folding knives. You’ve probably also seen the various knives from Outdoor Edge in this replaceable-blade folding knife family in our subscription offers. Here is a brief comparison between the two styles so you can see which one you might prefer to have in your pack.

The fixed-blade knife is called the RazorMax. It has the option to interchange the 3.5” drop-point blade (from their popular RazorSafe series) with a 5.0” fillet/boning blade. This is a complete replaceable-blade system knife for virtually all of your hunting, fishing and culinary needs. The total length is 8” with the 3.5” blade and 9.5” with the 5.0” blade. It weighs in at 4.7 ounces with the sheath (2.6 ounces without the sheath) and comes with three of the 3.5” blades and three of the 5.0” blades. The RazorMax is $79.95 at

The original folding-blade knife that Outdoor Edge came out with is the RazorBlaze. It comes with the 3.5” blades that the RazorMax comes with, but not the 5.0” fillet/boning blade. The obvious benefit of the folding knife is that it takes up less space in your pack, measuring just under 4.5” when closed and has an overall length of 8”. It weighs in at 6.4 ounces with the sheath and comes with six of the 3.5” blades. The RazorBlaze is $56.95 on

The blade replacement systems are the same when comparing the fixed blade RazorMax with the folding blade RazorBlaze, using the patented RazorSafe technology that allows you to replace the blades, without risk of injury, by the simple push of a button. The blade holder is steel and is black oxide coated for durability and good looks for more years than you’ll be alive to use it.

Continue reading

How to Become a Better Bowhunter

In today’s society, the desire for instant results and success has exponentially increased as we creep further and further into the 21st century. Being a consistent, successful DIY public land hunter is like any other sport. It takes time and repetition to become skilled at and never can be truly mastered. 

Click to view slideshow.


Patience Grasshopper

As life and our society shape and mold us each individually, unfortunately, we are led astray from a trait that is most important in becoming a better hunter—patience. Patience is a general term and covers a lot of bases, but all the years guiding or stalking scenarios I failed in were due to a lack of patience. Patience plays a role in every hunting scenario.

Continue reading




Instantly, my heart began racing as I watched a cow sneak down a trail 30 yards through the trees. I immediately thought to myself, here’s your chance, Noah. I drew my bow and settled what I thought was the 30yard pin on the elk. To tell you the truth, I’m not quite sure what really happened in those moments because after I saw the animal, my adrenaline was flowing so much that everything seemed to be a blur, and who knows if I was even looking through my peep sight when I shot.

The shot broke, and the cow elk ran off. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I missed. I felt horrible! I could see the arrow sticking out of the tree trunk the cow was previously standing next to. Without going through the shot process or thinking through what I was doing, I seemingly shot in front of the cow, missing her completely. I couldn’t believe I screwed it up! I had the chance, and I dropped the ball by not thinking when I should’ve been. After having this gutwrenching feeling for about 30 seconds, I was starting to stand up when I caught some movement again. 

Continue reading

Another Case Of CWD Found In Wyoming…

In the Oct/Nov issue of Eastmans’ Hunting Journal (EHJ) I provided some background and updates on Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and how the disease continues to be aggressively monitored and may be spreading across the West. 

In a recent article from the Wyoming Game & Fish Department, they confirm that unit 105 in northwest Wyoming has confirmed cases of CWD.

A map of CWD endemic areas is available on the Game and Fish website. The disease is fatal to deer, elk and moose. The Game and Fish is concerned about CWD and how it may affect the future of Wyoming’s wildlife. The department is currently working to update its  CWD management plan through a collaborative public process.”

As we’ve done in the past, we will continue to update you when we know more on this deadly disease. Get prepared. Stay prepared. Hunt safe!

Continue reading

Successful Bowhunters: Clint Casper


This was my golden opportunity! Carefully, I drew back my bow and anchored in, preparing for the shot I had worked so hard for all season. It was down to a final arrow, and as I exhaled one last breath, I felt like the world had just completely stopped. I was in the zone, and time seemed to have stopped. Steadily, I started into my shot, and as the shot broke, I watched my arrow sink into the buck’s body, quartering away. It was a great hit, and blood was pumping from him immediately. I had just gotten my buck the hard way!

Would you like to receive every edition of  EBJ Extra, our expanded digital BOWHUNTING Journal? CLICK HERE!

Click to view slideshow.

The post Successful Bowhunters: Clint Casper appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

Photographing a Trophy Bull

One of the best ways to remember a hunt is with a quality field photo hanging next to your mounted trophy. However, enlarging photos to 8×10 or larger requires a digital camera that is capable of taking high-resolution photos. Most hunters will grab their smartphones or any old digital camera and put it on a low-resolution setting so they can store lots of photos. That’s a big mistake. The first step in being able to take a quality field photo is to purchase a digital camera that has at least a 12 megapixel capability, but be forewarned – not all 8, 10 or even 12 megapixel cameras are the same. 

It’s easy to get confused with all the hype about pixels, color temperature and photo quality. I’ll cut through the technical information and get to the basics. You’ll need at least a 12 megapixel digital camera with the ability to set the ISO speed to 100 or 200 on a cloudy or flat light day. 

Remember, the most important factor is to use the largest file size or a fine recording photo setting. It sounds great to have a medium resolution setting, which is able to shoot about 100 photos on your chip, but the quality will be sacrificed and depth of color washed out. Plus, you’ll only be able to enlarge it to about a 4×6 size without distorting and having noise in the image. That’s nowhere near the size needed for a magazine spread or even an excellent photo to frame. 

One important factor that adds to the quality and sharpness of digital photos is sunlight. I believe light has much more effect on digital cameras than on film cameras. There is a direct relationship between sunlight and sharpness in a digital photo. Using a fill flash all the time will help with defining the subject. The best digital photos are always taken in full sunlight.

Continue reading


Hunting season is upon us and it’s that special time of year to get after those big bulls. It seems the September rut goes by in a flash and we are into October. The October post-rut period can be one of the toughest times of year to harvest a good bull. It’s after the rut and prior to the cold November weather that pushes big bulls down and keeps them feeding. I have a ton of experience hunting bulls in this October season. I feel to be a consistent elk killer you have to take advantage of and be effective in every season. October offers late bow seasons and the majority of rifle seasons open this time of year. It takes an understanding of what the bulls are doing and specialized tactics but big bulls are out there for the taking!

Elk behavior

October runs the gamut of different elk behavior and it’s important to know what to key in on. In the beginning of the month there is still some good rutting taking place. You can still catch a big bull tending cows looking for that second cycle estrus. Any cows that did not get bred in September will come back into estrus and bulls know this. Now, it can be hit or miss, but if you find a hot cow, the bulls can be rockin’. This time of year, I do not call much. I grab good vantage points and glass and listen for bugles. Elk this time of year tend to gather in big groups and I will look over these groups to see if there is a big bull hanging around. A lot of times a big bull will come down at night to search for a hot cow and then leave the herd when the lights come on, so be on the lookout for that. This is a great time of year to catch a big bull slipping up still hanging with the herd. 

As we get into the heart of October, the rut is ending and the bulls start to separate themselves from the herds. Now you can still catch some younger bulls hanging with the cows but the big boys start moving off. Like rock stars at the end of a long tour, these bulls are run down and beat up from the rut. They usually move off, running solo or maybe with a couple of buddies, but they just want to hide in a hole and lick their wounds. They are desperately trying to put weight back on to make it through the winter. During the rut they let their guard down, but this time of year they start to tighten up their programs. There usually isn’t much cold weather or snow, so they tend to come out late and put away early feeding to feed all night long. They find high country secluded basins, slides or small openings to work and then spend the middle of the day bedded in the thick timber.

Continue reading

Upward Mobility

When I was younger, my hunting strategy was very simple – run around the mountains as far and as fast as possible and shoot anything dumb enough to cross my path. Wow, have I come a long way. This system was not in the least bit effective, not to even mention being very unenjoyable and unrelaxing. Who knows how many bucks and bulls I walked past back in those days. Now, as I get a little older and wiser, I understand there is a much better way. Here are some of the strategies I have found useful to not only extend my hunt and travel further, but to enjoy my hunt and the overall experience just a little bit more in the process. 


Hydration Strategies 

There’s really no big secret strategy here.  The name of the game when hiking hard is to keep properly hydrated by loading your body with fluid and keeping it there. My personal strategy here has a two-edged approach. First off, I try to drink as much fluid as possible before the hike even begins. Sometimes I even guzzle down a full half liter of water about a half-hour before go time, generally first thing in the morning or on the way to the trailhead. You will want to give your liquid a bit of time to settle in which will alleviate the possibilities for “sloshing” while hiking. It takes about 15-30 minutes for your body to fully absorb that quantity of moisture once ingested. This process is called “cameling up.” The process is pretty straightforward and will ensure you don’t start out your trek with a hydration deficit. A few things to remember here, cold water digests more slowly and supplements and water additives can also affect the time it takes your body to absorb the water. Your body can go from a moderate level of dehydration to fully hydrated in about 45 minutes. Even under the most strenuous physical activity such as a marathon, your body can only fully absorb about 500 ml (1/2 liter) of water per hour, so drinking more is usually a waste of water and energy. In addition, once you have hydrated after a strenuous climb, always give yourself at least five minutes before you consume food or supplements of any kind. Not doing so will only prolong your dehydration. I usually drink pure water, ½ liter before and after a tough climb, but I drink water with a supplement with my food consumption. Many supplements contain fairly high levels of sodium or sodium-like elements which your body does need, but can affect or alter the rate of absorption of the water into your body tissue. 

Continue reading

FIRE! Can your safe take the heat?!

Disaster can strike at home when you least expect. Be prepared and protect your valuables with a truly fire tested safe. Liberty Safe has an innovative process testing their own and competitor safes under extreme heat in a custom furnace. This ensures they engineer their products to exceed expectations. The Eastman family trusts Liberty Safe to store everything from guns and optics to legal documents and keepsakes.

The post FIRE! Can your safe take the heat?! appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

Someone Stole Your Elk!

The definition of poaching is to illegally hunt or catch (game or fish) on land that is not one’s own or in contravention of official protection. Another definition is to steal a public resource. 

Well, someone in Montana stole an elk from all of us and we all need to get the word out so this poacher can be caught and brought to justice!

According to Q2 News out of Billings, “Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is offering a reward of as much as $1,000 for information about a large, mature bull elk that was shot illegally Sunday night along Sarpy Basin Road east of Hardin and left to waste.

“Anyone who reports information that leads to a conviction in the case is eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 by calling Ladd at 406-860-7808 or anonymously to FWP’s 24-hour crime-reporting line at 1-800-TIP-MONT (800-847-6668).”

Continue reading

Perfect Typical, 197″ Mulie – Wyoming Mule Deer Hunt with Mike Eastman

Join Mike Eastman on of his favorite all-time mule deer hunts in the sagebrush of Wyoming. Get behind the scenes as Eastman and his sons recap the hunt highlights and their surprise at the this bucks’ impressive B&C score grossing 197 7/8 inches.

The post Perfect Typical, 197″ Mulie – Wyoming Mule Deer Hunt with Mike Eastman appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

National Elk Refuge To Starve Elk

Photo By: Mike Eastman

As I’m writing this it’s the day before Halloween and the temperature outside is hitting a high that is 23 degrees below the Fahrenheit freezing point. This is October, not January and winter’s early chokehold on Wyoming doesn’t set a welcome stage for our wildlife. With antelope and elk seeking recovery from their rut, deep snow and extreme temps are the last thing those worn down bucks and bulls need to contend with. Hopefully old man winter loosens his grip a tad but this is the West and extreme weather is just part of the deal.


What’s also been part of the deal, for elk especially, are the winter feeding programs such as the one operated by the National Elk Refuge in Jackson, WY. However, this program is in danger and along with it the health of the elk herds in the northern Rocky Mountains. A plan to “wean” elk off of the feeding program at the refuge and eventually discontinue it altogether is in place. 

Continue reading

RazorMax Review

Hunter Brandon Mason shares his experience with the brand new RazorMax by Outdoor Edge. This new knife uses the same replaceable blade technology as to the Razor Lite series, but boasts the added strength of a fixed blade style. It features two blade styles a 3.5 inch and a new 5 inch fillet blade and makes this knife transition easily between meat processing tasks in the field and at home.

The post RazorMax Review appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

Valhalla LS Zip

Valhalla – the hall where the god Odin houses the dead whom he deems worthy of dwelling with him.

The past couple of seasons I’ve gotten to put the Valhalla LS Zip from Kryptek through its paces across a wide range of conditions on a variety of hunts and I can say without a doubt that this shirt is worthy of place at Odin’s table. 

From sweltering August pronghorn hunts to chilly mornings grinding up steep slopes chasing archery elk, this shirt performed flawlessly. It kept me cool and protected from the sun on the arid plains and dry in the mountains after working up a sweat. I was amazed how well the Valhalla breathed and how effectively if wicked moisture, it was almost as if the sweat was evaporating directly off my skin instead of through the 88% Polyester, 12% Spandex fabric of the shirt. 

I’ve also pushed the Valhalla LS Zip into the late season. I used it as a baselayer under a puffy vest and softshell. I love how even in below freezing temps I could strip down to just the shirt and grunt my way up a ridge to a glassing point where I simply shrugged into the warmer layers and didn’t have to worry about my baselayer trapping moisture against my skin and robbing me of core warmth. 

Continue reading

Don’t Be A Victim! Watch The Walther PPQ 45 Review

Family man and hunter Scott Reekers shares his experience with the Walther PPQ 45. Combined with Hornady ammunition, this compact pistol is perfect for concealed carry and packs the punch needed to handle threats, human and otherwise. Reekers travels with his from home to trailhead and all the way to hunting camp.

Scott’s ammo for the Walther PPQ 45:

Hornady Critical Defense 45 AUTO 185 gr FTX

Hornady Critical Duty 45 AUTO+P 220 gr FlexLock

Check out Scott’s high country deer hunt next:

Continue reading

The Final Act

For most elk hunters the end of the elk rut can be a very disappointing time to pursue bulls. With the rutting action winding down, the hunting can become unpredictable and downright frustrating at times. Fear not however, all is not lost; with the unpredictability comes some good opportunities at some of the biggest bulls in the area. 

When most of the breeding is finished the elk change their rutting behavior. The biggest, most mature bulls go from methodical herd managers to one-man, traveling clean-up crews. The name of the game is to find every cow that has not been bred yet and get the job done. It’s nature’s version of Slapjack – search the deck, find the missing jack, take care of business and move on to the next one, making sure that every single viable cow has a calf come June. 

The first order of business is to recognize that you have fallen on the later stages of the rut in the first place. The biggest keys to noticing your rut hunt has fallen on hard times are outlined in the sidebar below. Time of year, herd behavior and elk body language are the best ways to determine if you are in the cooling zone or not. 

Strategies for hunting big bulls during this window vary slightly, but for the most part, it becomes a spot-and-stalk endeavor and a patient ambush game. Because the big bulls are on the move, if you find one you have to either commit or ready yourself to possibly never see the bull again. Many times I have caught little more than a glimpse of a big traveling bull only to never see him again.  Once the big bull does find some cows to check he can sometimes get the job done in only a few hours or sometimes he can linger in the shadows beyond a big herd of cows for a few days, you just never know. 

Continue reading