Hunting and Fishing News & Blog Articles

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Can You Be Too Close to Game?

This big mule deer buck offers the dream shot.  Quartering away, head down and feeding, an arrow behind the shoulder will fill your tag in seconds.  As ideal as this situation appears, it has a very low probability of happening and hunters must build probability into every ambush situation.  Sure, we’d love to have deer walk right up to us, and look the other way, while we raise our bow and shoot, yet that scenario is very unlikely.  It’s far better to prepare for reality and if lady luck makes our success easier, we’ll celebrate.

Embrace Distance

This single shot at 62.5 yards with a TenPoint Viper 430 demonstrates just how accurate a crossbow can be.  I was aided by the Burris Oracle X rangefinding scope which selected the exact range for the shot.  Crossbow hunters have the advantage of accuracy, especially if they can get a rested shot so that ranges of 30 or 40 yards can be near automatic.  You should not shoot beyond ranges you have practiced, yet 30 or 40 yards can easily be duplicated in a backyard setting.

Point-And-Shoot Set-up

Earlier this month, I blogged about a point-and-shoot setup and that’s exactly what I will use for my upcoming mule deer hunt in Idaho.  I sighted in my Meopta red dot scope at 25 yards using a 300-grain arrow and 150-grain target point to match the 150-grain Sevr Robusto broadhead I’ll be using on the hunt.  I’ll pack my Final Rest and plan to watch several waterholes and feeding areas with the TenPoint locked on.  To test the versatility of this setup, I shot a test arrow at 40.5 yards yesterday while aiming high on the shoulder of the Back-to-Back target.  As expected, with a slight aiming compensation, I can use a single-dot aiming system with total confidence at a medium range.

How Close is Too Close?

The closer you are to an animal the more likely it will smell you, hear you, or see you.  I had a chance to ambush a mule deer two years ago as the animal walked along a ravine trail 50 yards away.  Slightly adjusting my prone stance, I crushed a leaf and the buck quartered directly toward me, preventing an ethical shot.  Despite an animal in the rut and walking casually along a trail, the crush of a single leaf ruined the opportunity.  Sounds like clicking a safety to the “off” position, brushing your sleeve against the trunk of a tree, or even the tiniest unnatural sound can spoil a shot.  When winds swirl, the closer to the animal, the greater your likelihood of being detected.

Can’t Jump the String

I have hunted African animals from waterhole ambushes for nearly 10 years and have never had one jump the string from a crossbow.  African animals know that waterholes are places of great danger and almost always approach with their muscles coiled for escape.  I once chewed a bite of apple with my mouth closed and had a kudu bull raise its head from 20 yards away.  The sound of a compound bow’s release can cause a deer to duck before an arrow will reach it, however, this rarely happens with a crossbow and should never happen with crossbows 400 feet per second or faster.  For this reason, you can plan your ambush from deeper into cover and improve your chances for success.

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6 Missteps for Opening Day

Opening day is the Christmas morning feeling for adults.  No doubt, you have been thinking, planning, and preparing for this special event even if you’ve done it many times before.  The first day of archery deer season can be your state’s first legal hunting day or the first day you can go hunting.  Either way, if you are serious about success, don’t take these missteps and screw up your best first chance.

Gas Up Well Before Opening Day

One of the worst things a deer hunter can do is buy gas on the way to a hunt.  The scent of petroleum is so strong, most humans can smell it.  Even if you wear plastic gloves when gassing up, your feet will be soaking up the smell of gas.  Back in the car or truck, that smell transfers to your gas pedal and floor mats.  If you use a UTV, you probably have driven it with your street shoes so it is contaminated also.  It’s best to keep your boots and clothes in a plastic container and change them in the field.

Where the Wind Blows

Wind direction should determine which stand you hunt and if you should hunt at all.  On opening day, deer will probably have a routine of feeding and bedding and if they don’t smell danger, they will continue that routine.  If you pollute your environment with human scent, deer will detect you and detour you long before you see them.  Even if you take appropriate scent control measures (shower, spray down, use ozone scent eliminators) a deer’s nose is so sensitive, it will detect you from downwind.

Stalk your Stand

I have several stands with excellent early morning potential, yet I don’t hunt them because I’ll spook deer on the way in.  Keeping the two previous points in mind, you want to stalk your stand such that you don’t spook deer.  For this reason, many hunters choose to hunt opening day in the afternoon so that they can approach quietly in full daylight, access wind direction, and move when most deer are bedded.  Ironically, if deer are used to vehicles, farm equipment, or UTV’s it may be best to drive as close to your stand as possible.

Sense about Scents-

I’ll never forget climbing a mountain an hour before daylight, upping a tree in my climber, and watching a herd of deer approach at first light.  The lead doe walked directly under my stand with a buck trailing the group.  Suddenly, she smelled some buck lure I’d posted, snorted, and nearly exploded in her escape.  This was the early season when doe-in-heat lure was unnatural and she wasted no time in her retreat.  Curiosity lures may stop a deer in a location, but save the rut scent for a more appropriate time.

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Take a Stand for Success

“Shooting houses” were born in the South where hunters waited in a small enclosed blind that helped deal with bugs and bad weather.  Primarily a rifle hunting strategy, hunters could sit with greater comfort and avoid creepy crawling things that made hunting unsavory.  Today, that concept has been elevated, literally, and many hunters now hunt from an enclosed structure from five to ten feet above the ground.  If youngsters or senior citizens are among your hunting group, box blinds are particularly suited to them.

Benefits of Box Blinds

Box blinds come in many configurations, but most have a roof, a door, and many are enclosed.  A blind with a door and windows has great insulating power and is ideal for hunting in windy or cold weather.  A small portable heater will allow you to hunt in relative comfort and spend the entire day if needed.  Most hunters embrace the comfort of a box blind which includes a chair with pads and a small table for coffee cups and sandwiches.  If you hunt with a youngster or two, the hunt quickly morphs into a picnic.  Tinted windows are a popular option so that you can see deer but they cannot see you.  Enclosed blinds are also more scent-containing than an open tree stand.


Box Blind Downsides

A square or circular structure on stilts will spook deer for a week or two, however, deer soon become accustomed to them and even roaming bucks will not be alarmed as they see does and fawns near the stand acting normally.  The cost will be a factor since purchasing a commercial blind or building one will cost between $1,000 and $3,000.  That may seem like a huge sum, but the blind should last at least 10 years and you can get great enjoyment from one.  Finally, some box blinds are stationary while others can be taken down and erected in a new location.  I had a porch built on my blind so that I had the option of sitting inside or in the open.

Ideal for Families

My daughter has three sons who love to hunt and my box blind is the perfect “school house” to help them become proficient hunters.  One has serious pulmonary issues and sitting in an open stand during the rut is a major health concern.  The enclosure helps keeps temperatures in the moderate range.  Also, youngsters need a lot of coaching in the early years about safety, deer behaviors, and especially guidance at the moment of truth.  The youngest grandson hops out of bed but only lasts an hour in the stand until he curls up for a nap.  All good.  An enclosed blind allows kids to be kids and keeps the fun front and center.

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Sam Davis Bowhunts Stone Glacier Bison

Bowhunter Sam Davis, pro-staffer for Grim Reaper Broadheads, shot this big buffalo with a Pro 3 broadhead (3-blade, 1 3/8″ mechanical from Grim Reaper Broadheads). This video covers the hunt, including Sam’s incredible stalk and his perfect shot. The Huge Bison goes only 20 yards. Sam absolutely “Watches ’em Drop.”


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At Last, The Elk Rut

When Elk cows comes into estrus, a herd bull performs courting behavior that is different from his herding behavior. The herd bull will approach cows slowly and carefully. He holds his antlers high and his tongue is flicking. He will do everything he can to win her over.

If the cow is not ready to mate, she will move away from the bull with her head low, and her neck is moving side to side. The bull will immediately stop his courting efforts. However, Cows will accept the herd bull’s attention when they are ready.

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Right Now In The Deer Woods

Simple! That describes what the deer we see (and don’t) experience in the Deer Woods. It is a much simpler place than what we people experience.

All of us have much more complicated issues going on in our lives than deer do.

This morning, right after daylight, the first thing I saw was was 4 wild hogs rooting in a growing wheat field 100 yards from me. Three were mature adult hogs of good size. The 4th hog was a black boar that was double their size. He was “Big” but not as big as the particular black boar I see almost every morning between 7:00 and 8:00. (He did a no-show this morning.)

During the first hour after sunrise I had watched 11 whitetail deer that were browsing and doing deer stuff. The closest were 45 yards and the furthest were over a hundred yards off.

Here is a picture of one of the closer ones. a young buck that was close enough I could use my iPhone.

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Herd Bull Behavior

Herd Bull Behavior: Herding and Courting

While Dominant Elk Bull’s display will attracts cows, bulls will also herd females to try to keep them from escaping to a rival Bull. The more a Big Bull works and advertises his dominance, the less likely cows will leave him.

Elk bulls will continue to charm females in their harems with bugling and displays, but it is the cows that will size up the bulls in the area and decide who looks most attractive. Cows do not want to be harassed by younger bulls that constantly chase down unattached females, so a big dominant herd bull that keeps younger bulls at a distance gives cows the peace they want to keep feeding for the winter ahead.

A Big Herd Bull will cut off cows that have ventured too far away, rushing at her with an aggressive display. The herd Bull will also use a similar technique to move the harem to safety, to an area to bed down, or simply away from another competitive bull.

When cows comes into heat, a herd bull performs courting behavior that is different from his herding behavior. The herd bull will now approach cows slowly and carefully, with antlers high and tongue flicking, doing everything he can to win her over. If a cow is not ready to mate, she will move away with her head low, weaving her neck side to side and the bull will stop his immediate courting. Cows will accept and tolerate the herd bull’s behavior when they are ready.

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Bowhunting Elk: What To Do First

Step One

The first step to elk-hunting success is finding where they live, but that’s not easy. Elk need food, water and shelter, so study maps or aerial photos or look at Online Maps. Locate where you plan to hunt elk and closely search for hillsides, especially north-facing slopes that will be shaded.

Elk will live near busy roads, paved or unpaved. Find restricted access areas and go over them. Then  you have to move in a few miles to find potentially good Elk areas. Most bowhunters backpack in, but horses, llamas and mountain bikes can also help bowhunters escape competition.

Elk have huge ranges, and can bed several miles from where they feed. They also travel to different areas because of changes in the seasons.

Always look for fresh elk sign while bowhunting. You know Elk are around when you find recent rubs, tracks and droppings. One sign, however, is the most important. If it smells like elk, they are close! You may have busted them out of their bedding area or else they are close to where you are.

Are You Over Bugling?

Every time you hear a bull elk bugle, you understand why chasing Elk with a bow is so exhilarating and addicting. Elk bowhunting season occurs during the rut, which is when bull elk are most vocal and active because they are searching for rutting cow elk.

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Where Do You Shoot A Deer?

Obviously, where you aim when you shoot a deer is very important. So is it the heart,  or lungs, or neck, or somewhere else. Let’s get to it. Watch this video to learn where to shoot a deer.


You’ll get 11 universal scenarios, 18 diagrams, and 9 rules to help you. The scenarios cover hunting on foot, from a treestand, and in the mountains. It’s based on rifle hunting, but the scenarios also apply to hunting with a bow.

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Point-And-Shoot Whitetails

Distinct steps in crunchy leaves caught my attention and a flash of antlers sealed the deal.  I was sitting on the ground among some small shrubs and knew that the approaching buck would quickly spot me.  A quick glimpse of its antlers showed it was a legal 4×4 and I knew I must act quickly.  I immediately flicked off the safety, aimed at the direction of the buck, and readied the shot.  As expected, the buck’s chest appeared in the open, its head went to immediate alert, and no doubt it would have bolted in the next instant.  Too Late!  The range was 20-something and I knew the speedy arrow from the Ravin 26RX would be within an inch of point-of-aim.  Within seconds, I saw a small tree shaking and knew the deer was down.  This success was the perfect example of point-and-shoot.

Aim Like a Cell Phone Picture

I’ve taken tens of thousands of pictures with a 35 mm camera during my outdoor writing career.  My big Nikon takes great pictures, yet it’s bulky, I need to know the focus, lighting conditions, and carefully construct the image I want people to see.

Despite the camera’s many attributes, it often stays in my backpack since I can get nearly the same results with my point-and-shoot cell phone camera.  In today’s digital world, a computer chip makes all the decisions you need for a near-perfect photo every time.  Likewise, the speed of today’s crossbows allows you to point and shoot with near-perfect results.

The Secret is the Sight-In

The outdoor industry has programmed archers, compounds, and crossbows, to think in terms of 20 yards.  Most scopes have their adjustments based on this range and it is natural to want a shot at this distance.  However, if you sight your crossbow in at 25 yards, you will find that arrows fly slightly higher than point-of-aim (POA) and a tad low at 30 yards.

Depending upon the speed of your bow, you may well be within the kill zone of a whitetail at 35 yards.  The variation from POA will vary according to the speed of your bow and the weight of your arrows.  The beauty of the point-and-shoot sighting system is the elimination of ranging which can cost critical seconds when a big buck suddenly shows up.

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See The Best Elk Video From Bowhunters: By Montana Wild

This is Elk Bowhunting By Public Land Bowhunters With The Experience And Drive, Who Are Willing To Go Where Others Won’t To Make It Happen.

If you are bowhunting Elk Every year without tagging one, you need to watch this video to learn what it really takes.

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Wild Hogs Spot And Stalk: Texas

The Element on goes to Texas to bow hunt wild hogs.

  The Element

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Bowhunting A Trophy Coues Deer Buck

This is the six pointer the author passed at 21 yards waiting for the big eight to come a little closer. He scored 77 points and made the P&Y minimums making this client very glad he decided to let him walk the prior week!

The obvious question is, “How do I improve the odds of being one of the relatively few bow hunters that succeeds and harvests a Coues Deer Buck that makes P&Y minimums (or better!)?” There are so many potential answers to that question that it’s hard to figure out where to start, but careful planning has to be high on the list.

In my last column I discussed the importance of finding a place to hunt that actually holds trophy class deer, and touched on the importance of setting goals and taking the first buck that meets your goals and provides an opportunity. Those things are part of the planning process, but you can fine tune things from there to improve your odds even more. Perhaps the best thing would be to give some examples:

This non-typical buck would score over 120 making him an exceptional Coues deer in anyone’s book.

One of my personal goals has been to harvest a P&Y record book Coues deer Buck with the bow. On my first hunt I tried but didn’t get the job done. It wasn’t that I hadn’t done the proper planning, heck I was with a great guide, in a real good area, and hunting during the late season rut.

My outfitter had near 100% success with bow hunters for six years running, hunted out of ground blinds, and his area holds a pile of deer. Not only should it have worked, it actually did work, almost!

Actually, I did end up with a perfect shot opportunity 21 yards from a buck that would make P&Y minimum for Coues Deer … but I just chose to not take the shot!

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Johnny Ricard: Ontario P&Y Black Bear Bowhunter

Johnny Ricard, Canadian Bear Hunter.

“Le Magané”, the biggest bear I killed so far. It took me several years to have a chance at him. The beast will be listed in the bow hunting record book. “Hunt North WEBSITE” 5% PROMO CODE: JOHN2023 

Hunt North SHOP ? Follow me on social medias! INSTAGRAM… 



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How You Can Video Your Hunts

Aside from the basics, such as getting completely familiar with your camera equipment and keeping the lens clean, here are a few important things I’ve learned.

By: Cindy Lavender

With the increase of outdoor hunting TV shows as well as hunting videos on and numerous Websites during recent years, many people have purchased professional quality cameras and begun capturing their hunts on film. My first camera was a Canon GL-2, which, for television broadcasting, has since become obsolete; just about everything today is in High Definition.

My initial archery hunt on the GL-2 somehow got lost and I’ve never been able to find that footage. (Probably I taped over it, which is upsetting, because watching your hunt for the first time and being able to replay it is such an amazing experience.) I can’t tell you how important it is to keep track of everything you film or video; once lost, it may be forever gone.

Whether filming a hunt for a segment on the Nature Productions family of TV shows or my own personal use, I want to make memories and share my hunts for years to come.

Aside from the basics, such as getting completely familiar with your camera equipment and keeping the lens clean, here are a few important things I’ve learned the hard way.

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Bridge & Brooke The Trailer Cooks: Mule Deer Backstrap w Fried Potatoes; Sizzling Good!!!

By Bridge and Brooke The Trailer Cooks

The sizzle is on at the outdoor kitchen of Bridge & Brooke the Trailer Cooks! Going on Brooke’s portable grill is Mule Deer Backstrap and her own twist on delicious grilled potatoes.

Real Outdoor cooking done right, the trailor cook way … sizzling Good!!!


Cooking Wild Game.GO TO: Deer Pictures By Robert HoagueVisit on Facebook.Visit For Daily News, Bowhunts, Tips on Archery and Bowhunting, Videos, Deer Pictures and lots more for bowhunters.

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Colorado Elk Bowhunt

You never know what’s happening next when you’re bowhunting Colorado Elk.

    Whitetail Properties

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5 TIPS For Beginner Bowhunters

Informed Outdoors has 5 good tips for beginning bowhunters to use on their early season bow hunts.

   Informed Outdoors

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Trophy New Mexico Archery Mule Deer

By: Tink Jackson

At times I question where and when I came up with some of the standards that I hold as baseline in my daily life. Are we “living right”? Do we have a “good life”? Are we “happy”?

All of these measures vary from person to person. One person’s idea of a good life, living right or happiness may vary significantly from another, based on any number of factors that we choose to include in our evaluation of a subject.

As circumstances change in our lives, our measure of these subjects will change as well. These changes can occur in any part of our lives including age, health, spiritual growth, or just about anything else you can think of.

It’s always interesting to talk to other hunters and observe how their measure of a “trophy” animal changes throughout their hunting career. No matter who it is, it always seems to come back to one of four areas. The basic premise of each area may seem obvious, but after a while we can see that even in these basic areas there can be major differences between hunters.

To most, the fundamental measure when rating a trophy deer is antler size. However, even this measure can mean a lot of different things. For some, it might be the number of points. To many, a “12 point mule deer” will mean “trophy”.

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DEER HUNTING: Public Land vs. Private

State wildlife agencies have improved at compiling and analyzing deer harvest data. Trends have emerged. While a vast amount of land in America is open to public hunting, the overwhelming percentage of harvested deer come from private lands. It’s clear that isn’t going to change anytime soon … if ever.

Private vs. Public Harvest Numbers

When it comes to whitetail data compilation and dissemination, there is no better resource than the National Deer Association (NDA). Kip Adams, chief conservation officer for the NDA, is a highly respected member of their staff and earlier this year he presented interesting harvest data at the Southeastern Deer Study Group Meeting in Louisiana.

Private Land vs Public Land Harvest Information

When it comes to whitetail data compilation and dissemination, there is no better resource than the National Deer Association (NDA). Kip Adams, chief conservation officer for the NDA, is a highly respected member of their staff and earlier this year he presented interesting harvest data at the Southeastern Deer Study Group Meeting in Louisiana.

According to Adams, during the 2021–22 deer seasons, more than 5.21 million deer were tagged on private lands. During that same timespan, approximately 700,000 were killed on public lands. “This doesn’t include the western U.S., as those states can’t differentiate the harvest data,” Adams said. “But there’s only around 250,000 deer killed in the West, so even if all of them were on public land, the total would still be less than 1 million.”

Clearly, many more deer are killed on America’s private soil than grounds open to all. That really isn’t surprising, though. According to the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), private individuals and corporations own about 60 percent of U.S. land. Federal, state and local governments own the balance. Of course, nowhere near all of that is open to deer hunting; much of it comes in the form of un-hunted lands. Still, that breaks down to more than 600 million acres of huntable land.

deer land management
mast for deer
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