Sunday, September 28, 2008

Beat the Stink

Welcome fellow hunters! Once again we have to apologize for our lack of posting. It’s been a BUSY September, that’s for sure. In fact this past weekend I was at the 69th Annual Big Game Trophy Show at the Rockingham Fair Grounds in Harrisonburg on behalf of Mossy Oak and ShowMeYourBuck and it was a lot of fun. I couldn’t believe how many 200 inch monsters roam the Old Dominion- its something to look forward to! Also- I became good friends with Rob Holes, sales consultant and Pro Staff member of Shenandoah Outdoors TV, a hunting show aired in Harrisonburg, Staunton, Waynesboro, Woodstock, Luray, Front Royal and Winchester and he offered to come down and film one or two of my hunts and put them on the show- I couldn’t believe it! Talk about a dream come true, I really hope things fall into place!

Enough of the rambling, Damin and I wanted to talk to you guys about scent-control a bit. We are both HUGE advocates in scent-elimination. While it is impossible to eliminate all human scent, we believe that we take the necessary steps to fool the best nose in the woods- that of the whitetail.
It’s been debated that a deer’s sense of smell is 100 to 1000 to 10000 times better than a human’s, regardless of the number, these guys can pin point human odor in a heartbeat and ruin not only your hunt, but those around you. However, several precautionary steps can be taken to reduce the possibility of this happening.

First of all, we wash our clothes with scent eliminating laundry detergent, hang them out on the line to dry with natural air, then place them in the dryer with earth scent dryer sheets. Then they go in to a Scent-Lok bag or tote for scent-free storage until use. We usually repeat this process several times during the season.

Next comes the preparation of the hunt. After we get out of bed (we wash our sheets with scent eliminator too!), starting this year we will wipe ourselves down with scent-eliminating field wipes. Then we’ll spray our hands with Hunter’s Specialties eliminator/ earth scent before we get dressed. Next comes the carbon-activated Scent-Lok BaseSlayers, which is our first and best line of defense. Then, as we begin to layer up we spray more earth scent on after each layer is applied. This ensures that each garment is scent free.

Once we are fully dressed, we liberally spray more HS eliminator/earth scent to cover up kill any remaining odors. We do this to our packs, hats and camera bags as well. We then spray down our boots, top and bottom so we don’t leave a stinky trail to stand. Finally, we attach a HS scent-wick (earth of acorn, depending on our setup) to the top of our hat to top off our scent-eliminating process (pun intended).

As you can see a lot of work goes into beating Mr. Big’s sniffer, but it only makes it more rewarding when you do! Of course, as stated before it is impossible to eliminate all human scent as bacteria on your skin is constantly feeding on dead skin cell, thus resulting in human odor. But if done right, and hunting the wind correctly, you can greatly increase your chances of taking that big buck!

Stay tuned as the season opens up October 4th, less than a week away! Damin and I are super pumped and the blog is sure to be hopping with stories, photos and hope some successful tales! Stick with us!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Ethical Hunting: Be Able to Say No!

Each and every day we are faced with decision making opportunities where we must decide whether we will do the right thing. Of course, many of the decision opportunities are rather subjective when it comes to what exactly is right and wrong. When it comes to hunting, however, there should be no question.

Growing up, with respects to hunting, I have always been taught that if there is any question at all about the lethality of a shot or shot placement, the shot should never be taken. Dad has instilled these values into both Cody and I so that if there is ever any question at all about a shot, we don't even think about taking it. Of course, this does not mean we wait for a 100% broadside shot, it means we persistently practice to ensure that we are confident in making either a heart shot or lung shot every time we pull the trigger or release. Of course, this also includes taking and making good shots when they present themselves. We all know how severely immoral and unpractical it can be to shoot a deer facing towards or aw
ay from you! To get to this point of confidence it not only involves target practice, it also involves constant refreshers of deer anatomy to ensure we know the exact location of the heart and lungs. Remember, 2 inches can be the difference between an instant passing and 2 hours of suffering.

Some may think that this post isn't directly related to hunting, however, in the opinions of Cody and I it is. We both are bigger proponents of ethical hunting than we are of QDM, Mossy Oak or anything else in the hunting world today.

When watching hunting shows, it may seem ridiculous that after every time these guys have their guns or bows in a car, plane or bus for a trip of more than a couple hours they re-site it in. However, all it takes is one pot hole or one minute of turbulence and a sight can be thrown of my several inches. Now, an inch can be the difference between excitement and dismay, just imagine what several inches can do!

With only several weeks until hunting we both felt we should take an oppurtunity to remind everyone about the ethical side of hunting. God has graced us with the oppurtunity to be able to pursue and harvest his majestic whitetail. We both feel it is of the essence that we show our utmost gratitude for this blessing through ethical hunting; simply, show the deer the same respect it shows us. So, sight in your guns, check your scopes and always remember, if there is any doubt in your mind about shot ethicality, the answer is always NO!

The Dark Knight

Like Cody said with his last post, usually every year hunters meet up with a buck that they can't get out of their mind. With Cody, this year that be Lefty as he has already told you he'll be doing everything he can to create a setup to take that marvelous buck. On the other hand, sometimes hunters meet a once in a lifetime buck that keeps their interest not only for one season but year round! Well, like Margaret's famous Socrates from the "Tree-Lounge" video, Cody, Dad and I have found that buck.

Last year Cody and I each had an "opportunity" to take this 3.5 year old 130 class buck, however, neither of us were presented with the perfect shot. We're both firm believers in taking a shot that we know we'll be immediately lethal and neither of was granted this shot. Cody's opportunity came one morning during early muzzle loading, the problem was that the buck was in thick cover and would never come into range. My opportunity came during rifle, and with Cody videoing, the buck
was too interested in chasing does that he never slowed down long enough to present an ethical shot. In both instances we threw everything we had at him. From grunts to bleats to rattling, nothing worked on this smart ol' guy. Then we made our mistake.

Instead of giving this guy time and avoiding the areas in which we had seen him, we ventured into his domain hoping to catch him by sup rise. Big mistake! He quickly turned nocturnal (hence the name!) and we never saw him again except on trail camera pictures at night. This negative for last year quickly turned into a plus for the upcoming season. By him turning nocturnal, plus the general intelligence of this deer we feel strongly that he is still running around on the property. Now, take a 130 class 3.5 year old and give him a year, what do you have? A buck of a lifetime that may score close to 150!

With such an old, smart buck we have to be very smart in attempting to harvest this guy. Quite the opposite of Lefty, with The Dark Knight we will do everything we can to AVOID his areas. Instead we're going to try and let him make the mistake by hunting his possible travel corridors and other areas where 9 out of 10 times we won't see him in hopes of seeing him that one crucial time. With a buck of this magnitude running around, we'd easily sit "unsuccesfully" for weeks in hopes of even catching a glimpse of him, much less getting a shot oppurtunity!

Well, as you can tell Cody and I are both biting at the bit for hunting season to arrive. Once again its times for all of hard work in the woods to hopefully pay off. But hey, shot or no shot, deer or no deer, hunting to us is much more than the shot, its a passion for God, wildlife and the outdoors! We'd like to thank all of you for reading the blog, it'll really get busy here in the coming weeks with all of the hunting stories! Don't forget to post your comments, see Cody's post on how to post these if ya have trouble figuring it out!