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Tips & Tricks

Make a Game Trail

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Make a Game Trail & Improve Your Odds

Whether you’re setting up a mineral lick, trail camera our picking a hunt site, we use game trails as one of the primary factors for picking that location. Once located we hunker down, setup our stand, camera or lick and hope we can intercept an animal coming down that trail. This rarely goes perfectly as planned as wild game often use multiple trails in an area or branch on and off a trail.

So how do we get them to go where we need them to go?

You make a trail, that’s how. Of course you still want to locate a well traveled trail in your area in to ensure there will be traffic. However, once that is done you can take steps to increase your odds the animal will head in your direction.

  • Remove fallen limbs or debris that could encourage them to abandon parts the trail.
  • Locate and block other know trails with some type of obstacle that will deter game from those paths.
  • Use elevation to your advantage and create a new trail which is easier to travel.
  • Plant brush or trees that will grow, eventually forcing them in another direction.
  • Create uneven surfaces that will discourage ungulates (hoofed animals) from traveling over them.
  • In thick brush trim out a new path (be sure to leave some cover)

Wild game is never predictable but given the option most animals will more often than not take the path of least resistance. So use your landscape to your advantage to create the irresistible trophy trail.

TechnologyTips & Tricks

Trail Camera Testing

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Trail cameras are the primary scouting tool for the modern hunter, capturing footage of the wild game in your area that you can use to give you the edge.

There are dozens of trail camera brands and models to choose from.  Each one has varying capabilities and setting that you can configure. While some are easier to setup and use than others, you want to make sure the model you’re using is setup to take the best images/video possible.  There’s nothing worse than spending all that money and timing setting up a trail camera, only to find out later that it wasn’t properly configured. So to ensure you don’t miss capturing that elusive trophy, spend 20 minutes and test your setting.

This is a quick test that will guarantee your flash range; focal point, image clarity and trigger speed are dialed in and ready to capture the perfect shot.

  1. Program your camera as you would before taking it into the field (use default settings, gives you a solid starting point)
  2. Now mount it 4-6 feet high on a tree, telephone pole or tripod. Try to do this in an relatively open area.
  3. Stand next to the camera and measure 10 feet directly in front of the lens.
  4. Place a stake or easily visible object at this spot.
  5. Measure out another off another 10 feet and repeat until you have a straight line of stakes/objects every 10 feet, for 50 feet.
  6. Turn on your trail camera and let it arm itself.
  7. Go behind the camera and loop around, outside the camera field of view but in line with the 10 foot marker.
  8. Now walk past the camera at the first 10 foot marker (make sure your camera has time to capture your image)
  9. Then allow it to rearm and repeat this step for each of the stakes/objects.

This test will provide you if visual evidence of your cameras following capabilities:

  • Maximum Detection Range in Distance (the farthest stake at which the camera can detect you),
  • Maximum Detection Width (how far into the field of view you had to walk)
  • Image Clarity (will tell you the ideal focal distance)

If you’re also interested in testing your  Trigger Speed you can reuse this setup and try running by your camera at the various distances. If running isn’t your thing you can drive by on an ATV, or have a family pet do the running.  This test allows you to determine whether you are happy with your current systems trigger speed or whether you believe it’s time for an upgrade.

Tips & Tricks

Morning Hunt Tips

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A number of hunters skip them but morning hunts offer a unique and advantageous hunting opportunity if approached correctly.

Here are some crossbow hunting tips that will help you to capitalize during those early morning hunts.

  1. Early Bird – Get to your hunting area early so you can take your time and sneak in quietly.  It’s always better to be in your stand a hour early than an hour late.
  2. Stealth Mode Turn off your truck/car radio before your park, dim your high beams, close doors quietly, and try to limit or reduce conversation to a whisper.
  3. Organization – Spend the day before getting all your gear ready to go. Nothing worse than scrambling to organize your gear in the morning,  only to realize once you’ve reached your stand that you forget something.
  4. Clear A Path – Try to clear a path to your crossbow stand that isn’t going to be too noisy (easier said than done, especially on a brisk fall morning with a forest floor covered in crunchy leafs).  You’ll never be a completely silent but moving slow or and mixing up your walking cadence should keep your game unsuspecting.
  5. Natures Noise – If there is a creek or river, you can walk nearby and use it to mask your noise.
  6. Scents Sense – You are never going to be 100% scent free but you can eliminate the majority of your body odor by having a shower (use unscented body wash/shampoo). Don’t forget to give your teeth a good brush, as your breath is one of the biggest sources of human scent.
  7. Big Gulps? – If you want to maximize your morning sit don’t drink too much of anything in the morning. Don’t dehydrate yourself but limit intake and stay away from caffeine.
  8. Breadcrumbs – Have your trail well marked so you don’t have to make unnecessary noise trying to find your way.
  9. Lights Down– Try to avoid shining your flash light directly into the brush and instead shine it at the ground, using the ambient light to guide you.
  10. Spooked Situation – If you recognize that you have spooked the animal wait and listen to for them to stop. Once they do, use a call and you may be able to fool them into thinking you were another deer.

Tips & Tricks

Turkey Setup Tactics

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Your hunting setup is all about preference but if you want to succeed you need to know which one is inline with your strenghts.

When crossbow hunting for turkeys your setup is going to vary greatly based on personal preference. If you know where a flock of turkeys prefers to spend time and have the ability to setup a blind without them seeing you, then this is a great option. Some people consider turkeys more forgiving than deer in a quick set up scenario as they don’t appear to be as aggravated by a new blind in their territory.