Go sign yourself up for the Seek Outside Giveaway. We have used and field-tested Seek Outside products for some time now. They are Eastmans’ Staff approved! You must be a TagHub subscriber to be eligible. Don’t wait… Good luck!
Sign up at the link below for a chance at a brand new Roadie 24 from Yeti Coolers. This is a new Eastman favorite! You must be a TagHub member to be eligible to win. Good luck!!!
Learn how to use and practice field shooting positions to be the best shooter and hunter you can be! Todd Helms breaks down the fundamentals of the top 5 field shooting positions. Practice can make all the difference when it comes down to a once-in-a-lifetime hunting opportunity.
In this hunting tip learn how making time for e-scouting before hunting season could make all the difference on your hunt this fall. Hunter Guy Eastman shares this favorite e-scouting tips using onX Hunt maps desktop and mobile apps. With only so many days in each hunt season, e-scouting can cut the learning curve especially if you’re hunting a new area.
After much deliberation, the official Wyoming Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Plan is here. In March, I detailed portions of the proposed plan and some of my thoughts on the overall CWD topic (you can refresh your memory on by clicking here). You can click here to view the Official Plan, and here is a brief synopsis of some key points.
First of all, I want to commend all of the hard working people who are as concerned about this topic as we are. There is no easy answer to the puzzle, especially when there is no “live test” for the big game animals that are affected by CWD. There are 74 pages to the official plan so you can imagine that I can’t possibly cover it all here. These are just items that stuck out to me.
In the Wyoming Game & Fish CWD Plan it states, “Because CWD is a slow-moving disease with only gradual changes in prevalence, measuring prevalence every five years will provide adequate data to detect trends. Rotational surveillance will follow a set five-year schedule within each Department region…Surveillance efforts for each deer and elk herd unit are based on the feasibility of collecting a minimum of 200 samples from adult male deer or adult elk within one to three years, as well as with consideration of additional Department priorities for monitoring and management actions. The success of sampling efforts is dependent upon a suite of factors including harvest strategy (i.e., general versus limited quota hunting, female harvest allowances, season length, etc.), the overall size of the herd unit, landownership patterns, hunter access, hunter participation in the surveillance program, likelihood of the harvested animal being field-checked, and other demands on Department personnel and resources.” (p. 14 of the Plan, Surveillance and Monitoring).
The samples that are gathered from the Game & Fish comes from various sources, including hunter-harvested animals, road-killed animals, and harvest targeting in “hot spots”. We have all been wondering if the Game & Fish would implement the harvest management strategy of killing mature bucks on the winter range (see Recommendation 5.2, Option 1 (Pg. 120) of the CWD Draft Plan mentioned here: https://blog.eastmans.com/cwduh-be-informed-cwd-management-guidelines/). It appears this is an option that is on the table in the official Plan: “Chronic wasting disease prevalence in mule deer is based on adult males (≥2 years old), a standard metric that allows for comparisons of disease demographics across North American jurisdictions. The selection of males is based on monitoring data that demonstrates prevalence in adult males is significantly higher than adult females within the same herd. Moreover, infection is less common in yearlings, and relatively rare in fawns. In addition, because female mule deer harvest is limited in Wyoming, sampling hunter-harvested adult males provides larger sample sizes for assessment of long-term trends in prevalence. Although the focus is on adult males, assessment of yearling male and adult female prevalence is also monitored in those herds where harvest is sufficient to achieve meaningful sample sizes.”
This concerns me for a couple of reasons. Mule deer doe harvest is greatly limited throughout much of the West due to mule deer numbers declining across their historical range. In addition, due to the difficulty in drawing coveted mule deer tags the harvest by hunters is focused on mature bucks since we probably won’t draw that coveted tag again for many years, if ever. Logic would tell me that since many of the samples tested for CWD are supplied by hunters and many of those hunters are harvesting only mature bucks, then the testing of those harvested deer would show a higher prevalence of mature bucks having CWD compared to does and yearlings. There is no “live test” so it obviously isn’t possible to test live does and yearlings at the rate hunter-harvested mature bucks are being tested. On page 19 of the Plan under the section Hunter Harvest Management, you will see more discussion on manipulating hunting seasons to promote more harvest success on mature bucks, i.e. the rut and winter range.
Arizona poachers Blake Owens and Thomas “TJ” Purinton have been sentenced for their unlawful, dishonest and cowardly acts of poaching and fraud. But is their punishment enough? Unfortunately, these clowns will most likely never see the inside of a jail cell and only have their hunting rights revoked for 10 years.
I say this is complete garbage! People like these glory seeking, ego-maniacal clowns won’t stop taking from the honest and hard working hunters of Arizona. They will simply get better at poaching. They will be recidivists, mark my words. We will most likely never see their names or hear about them again but the wildlife of Arizona will and honest hunters will suffer the consequences sewn by men like Owens and “TJ” Purinton.
It is beyond time to get tougher on criminals like Owens and Purinton. I say never hunt again, never own a firearm again, lifetime probation with electro-shock GPS chips implanted in their bodies so the authorities can monitor their every move and when they even glance at an elk or mule deer they get a jolt that reminds them of their past transgressions so violently that their eyes cross, they involuntarily vomit and once recovered from the electro therapy they never want to even hear the word “venison” or “antler” ever again.
Obviously I’m upset about what these clowns have done. Obviously the paragraph above is vitriol. But isn’t it time that we as honest hunters demand more from our justice system for convicted poachers than monetary fines and weak suspensions of hunting privileges? Why not make the poaching of game a felony, plain and simple. No pleas, no agreements, just a straight up old fashioned felony complete with prison time, lifetime hunting and weapons bans and lifelong probation. While we are at it we could use convicted poachers as laborers for habitat improvement projects, public lands projects… you name it, make them “pay it back” in a meaningful way that benefits both the citizens they’ve stolen from and the wildlife they’ve exploited.
I’m not talking about throwing the book at someone who has made an honest mistake and deserves some grace. I’m talking about hard nosed punishment aimed at true poachers. I mean, they shoot guys like this in Africa!
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Fitting right in line with most other western states, Wyoming was not alone in seeing more applicants than normal this year for big game draw hunts. For the most part, this was a record setting year in Wyoming in many respects.
To start with, the Wyoming elk draw saw an actual decrease in applications this year for nonresident hunters. Mostly due to the deadline falling right smack in the middle of the Covid shutdown. For the first time in years nonresident applicants for elk actually dropped by roughly 9% for the 2020 hunting season. Resident applications however have continued to skyrocket and elk was no exception this year with an increase of 8.3% versus last year for Wyoming resident bull elk tags.
If you were lucky enough to draw your favorite bull elk license as a nonresident hunter this year, don’t be surprised if you find yourself waiting much longer for the next one. The overall number of nonresident hunters inside the preference points system in Wyoming is literally skyrocketing. To put it into perspective in 2017, only three short years ago, there were a total of 67,256 nonresident applicants with elk preference points inside the Wyoming draw computer system. Contrast that to this year, for the 2020 application season there were over 103,000 applicants all vying for roughly the same amount of nonresident bull elk tags. This is a net increase of more than 54%! To say the Wyoming system is being overloaded with applicants could be the understatement of the week.
The pronghorn draw saw roughly a 10% decrease in buck tags for this year versus 2019, while applications increased by 7.2%. As a result, the antelope left-over list is as anemic as ever this year with a total decrease of nearly 26% in available leftover permits. There’s no question, hunting for a buck antelope in Wyoming this year will be more appreciated than ever as the opportunities have continued to shrink.
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To produce big results on big mule deer, scouting or locating a buck ahead of time is one of the most effective tools to bringing home a big deer. Scouting and locating deer through the fall months is almost an art form. Learning where and how to look as the fall season changes can improve your outcomes drastically.
It’s important to remember a few key points no matter when you find yourself scouting for big bucks. First and foremost, get the absolute best optics you can afford, particularly when it comes to a spotting scope, even if you have to borrow one. A top quality, high-end spotter should extend your effective glassing range to well beyond two miles on bucks under perfect conditions. Next, always utilize the shadows and cover. I always try to glass from a shady spot and in front of an obstruction like a stump or deadfall log. This will allow you to move around more freely without a big buck picking you off from across a canyon. And always remember, big bucks can be very, very smart. When and if that sixth sense kicks in, he can change up his routine or disappear in the dead of night putting you back to square one. For this reason, try not to get too close to a pre-scouted buck; a thousand yards or more is the safest bet in my experience. Anything under 500 yards is just too risky and can be a recipe for disaster.Photo Credit: Mike Eastman
Late Summer – Scouting on the Red – Hands down, the best way to inventory your deer area is to scout the bucks during the final weeks of summer, which my dad and uncles always called “scouting on the red.”
The prime weeks for scouting this phase are generally the final few weeks of August. The advantages here are bucks with their red summer coats glowing in the sun, bachelored-up bucks giving you more of an idea of what the area has to offer, and a green landscape that pops animals off the steep hillsides like beacons. The bucks’ racks should be just about fully grown by the 10th of August in most areas, giving you a very good idea of what a buck is to become.
The best strategy here is to get on a high point with the sun at your back and cover country both with boot and glass. Generally speaking, the south slopes will be too hot this time of year and the north slopes too thick, leaving a prospective hunter to glass east and west. I usually try to glass the west slopes in the morning and the east slopes in the evening. The key factor with this technique is to find the glassing sweet spots, the places that expose the best and most country from one vantage. Next, get the best glass you can afford, you’re going to be living behind it for hours on end. A high-quality 80mm spotter with a very solid tripod is usually the best tool to have on hand. The final step is to get comfortable and be thorough. Make sure to utilize the first and final hours of daylight each and every day.
Big bulls! Join Guy Eastman as he goes elk hunting with four different EASTMAN’S’ BOWHUNTING JOURNAL hunt winners. These lucky Eastmans’ subscribers hunt during the peak of the elk rut when anything can happen and does on this web episode of Eastmans’ Hunting TV.
Tag a buddy that needs a new gym!!Up next for our TagHub Giveaway is an Off-Grid package of awesome products from Sorniex Exercise Equipment! Click the LINK BOLDED TEXT BELOW to get your name in the hat for a chance to win!
Eastmans’ Staffer, Brian Barney, goes bow hunting mule deer with his heavy backpack in the high country. Brian is the host of Eastmans’ Elevated podcast. He puts his public land hunting skills to test on this DIY deer hunt. Brian has to work around other hunters on this web episode of Eastmans’ Hunting TV.
With the QuietKat E-Bike you still have to pedal but they use a small battery to help power you up hills and ease extreme mileage. With the range of 20-50 miles on one battery, the Apex will be able to take you to and from on any backcountry adventure, no doubt. These e-bikes are classified under federal law to adhere to the same rules as bicycles. Every state is different so read your laws but here in Montana, I can use my bike on roads and trails closed to motorized vehicles. The only place I cannot use it is in the wilderness. I really feel like this is one of the biggest new innovations for hunters. You can lay down tens of mountain miles with ease. These to me are better than four-wheelers and motorbikes because you can use them in more places, such as trails and closed roads.
These things pedal like a dream and before you know it you are deep into country and separated from hunting pressure. Now, I know you hardcore bike guys will be upset with these things being used on your same trails and classified the same but those are the rules. I am one of you guys that loves bikes and using them in hunting but if you can’t beat them, join them. I have been trying out the QuietKat and it just amazes me how many miles I can put on with this thing, they are a huge advantage!
If you have any interest in adding this piece of equipment to your hunting arsenal this fall, boy does Eastmans’ TagHub have an offer for you. Rather than spending an estimated value of $4,904 on one, subscribe to Eastmans’ TagHub for $9.99 a month to get entered! Eastmans’ TagHub has partnered with QuietKat e-bikes to bring you a giveaway like no other. At only 80 lbs paired with the Tektro 4- Piston Hydraulic Suspension, the Apex is the ultimate backcountry bike. The Kenda Juggernaut Tires on this bike is far from what I had anticipated. The grip power on these tires makes for easy navigation through any terrain you might find yourself in while on a backcountry hunt. The load capacity is placed at 325 lbs. – far from anything a person should be carrying on a bike that is sane. But having the capability to throw an elk quarter on your back to make trips back and forth is a huge advantage. The QuietKat Apex is up for grabs and with a click of a button, as a TagHub Subscriber, not only are you signed up for the QuietKat giveaway, but you are also in the drawing for over $16,000 worth of total gear! CLICK HERE TO GET SIGNED UP.
Go sign up at the LINK BELOW for a chance at the ultimate Bipod set up from Swagger bipods. All three have been field-tested and approved by the Eastmans’ Hunting Staff!
This thing will put that trophy animal on the ground this fall!
Is there a best time to be in the field with a stick and string pursuing a trophy bull elk? There definitely is for deer. What about elk?
Pope and Young Records for Elk
To find out, I went to Pope and Young Club’s record book online. I wanted to look at monster bulls taken with a bow and I consider 350 and better a huge bull. So, I asked for all bulls over 350 gross in the 11 western states taken since 2000.
Here’s the breakdown by state.
I don’t know about you, but the number of entries from Oregon and Washington surprised me by being larger than expected and Idaho came in with fewer than I would have thought, only third from last. California is the sliver of blue in the corner and like the other coastal states, only looks at Rocky Mountain typical elk.
Congrats Winner! You are now the proud owner of a PPQ 45 from Walther Arms, Inc. paired with a Custom Eastmans’ Taghub holster from Ivory Holsters. Be checking your emails to claim your prizes folks! If you want to enter the TagHub Giveaway, you must be a subscriber. Click the LINK BELOW for more on how to enter! Good luck.
Eastmans’ Staffer, Brandon Mason, reviews the Cell Link by Spypoint. The Cell Link can be set up to turn most non-transmitting trail cameras into smart cameras. Combined with Spypoint’s free app, the Cell Link will send photos straight to your smartphone! And it’s ONLY $59.99!!!
With the fall quickly approaching, it is imperative that we all keep informed of state and federal regulation changes, especially during a weird year like 2020 with COVID-19 changing most of our lives in some way.
A friend of mine recently postponed his much anticipated Alaska moose trip for this fall due to Alaska’s regulations on those entering their state. The charter service sent them a letter with this in it:
Do yourself a favor and check in on the states you are planning to hunt this fall. 2020 has been a weird year, to say the least. Don’t let it ruin your hunting plans and your favorite time of year.
Get prepared. Stay prepared. Hunt hard!
Learn how to use Eastmans’ TagHub to find the hunting areas that have the most hunting pressure. If you didn’t draw that limited license you were hoping for, don’t be discouraged! You can use TagHub to maximize your OTC or general hunting license by locating and avoiding areas with higher numbers of hunters.