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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

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.

Tips & Tricks

DEER SCENTS How To

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In the world of deer attractants urine is a extremely popular because of its time tested effectiveness.

To get the most out of a deer scent this season you need to know exactly when the best time to use it is.  Otherwise your results could lead to a disastrous crossbow hunt. Keep these tips in mind before dripping, dragging, or spraying any attractant during your crossbow hunt.

Non-Estrous Doe Urine

Bottom Line: This type of scent doesn’t represent a challenge to a buck and doesn’t suggest a doe is in heat either. This could put a buck on edge at the wrong time and at the very least heighten his senses, putting him in alert mode. It’s a safe play and could draw in a curious animal.

Time: Non-Estrous doe urine works best during early season.

Tip: use a drag line to lay down a trail 20-30 yards in front of your stand.

Estrous Doe Urine

Bottom Line: This will make a buck think there is a nearby doe in heat but can also cause confusion and heighten alertness when used in early season.

Time: Most effective during the ruts chasing phase and breeding phases. This is also a useful attractant that can be used during the second rut which occurs later in the season.

Tip: During the chase phase of the rut use a drag line combined with both doe bleats and buck grunts to imitate deer activity. Dominate bucks in the area won’t be able to resist the urge to find out what’s going one.

Buck Urine

Bottom Line: For other bucks this scent is going to trigger curiosity in the early season and later will act as a challenging scent during the rut.

Time: Buck urine can be effective in early season but really shines during the pre-rut and rut. Be careful using the dominate buck urine as it could cause less dominate males to avoid the area in early season, and especially in late season when they are worn down and avoiding confrontation.

Tip: If you setup a buck decoy place buck urine upwind from a trophies suspected bedding area to draw him out.

Keep in mind that the use of real deer attractants maybe restricted do to the potential spread of disease. Consult your local crossbow hunting regulations and don’t be afraid to use synthetic attractants as they can be just as effective.

Tips & Tricks

Wild Game Sanctuary

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Local game need a place to hide and thrive.

With hunting land becoming that much more expensive and hard to come by it’s difficult for many hunters to resist the urge not to claim every inch. However, one of the largest elements of hunting and least discussed is preservation. Not just of the animals but of their habitat as well.

An easy step toward keeping a healthy wild game population on your hunting property is to maintain a small conservation area. By setting aside a portion of your hunting territory as game sanctuary you give the local population a place of shelter where they feel safe. There are two schools of thought as to how effective this method is.

  1. You a basically aiding and abetting wild game by offering them a place to easily escape to. This then makes it more difficult to hunt, as them will simply staff in this safe zone.
  2. The second school of thought completely agrees that they will run to the safe zone when pressured.but also believes because they have a place on your property to escape to, they are more likely to stay on your property.

Large wild game, or even small for that matter can cover an incredible amount of ground when pressured. If they don’t feel safe and are pressured everywhere around them they will simply relocate, putting them out of range for good. If however you setup a game sanctuary on your land you offer them a false sense of security and they will more likely stay local. This is to your advantage because at some point in time they will undoubtedly step outside of this sanctuary and back into your designated hunting area.

This concept is even more relevant when crossbow or bow hunting because range is such a limitation. A poor shot or even a sudden movement maybe enough to spook an animal. If that animal is already stressed out that maybe the last time you ever see it if it doesn’t have a nearby refuge.

So next time you’re thinking about tromping through and setting up a stand in every square mile of your bush consider setting aside a small portion to keep your local trophies in range.

Tips & Tricks

Treestand Setup Kit

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Treestand Setup Kit

This summer or when your heading into the woods to setup for stand don’t to double check your kit to make sure isn’t without these essentials.

  • Day Pack – use a tough, roomy model with plenty of pockets, plus shoulder straps for greater comfort.
  • Steps – wrap enough steps for one setup (about 12 steps for me) in strips of cloth to keep from clinking and clanking.
  • Rope –  always have several 25-30 foot sections of rope handy for pulling up a stand, a backpack, and of course your crossbow
  • Safety Harness – keep one in your hunting pack and another in my stand hanging kit so I am never without protection.
  • Pruning Shears – I like a bypass style that can easily lop off a finger0thick limb.
  • Folding Saw – zipping through larger branches is easy with a quality model made for this purpose.
  • Compass – nothing fancy needed here: just a simple, sturdy unit to determine proper wind direction and get your out of that thick brush if you get turned around.
  • Trail Markers – trail marking tacks that glow in a flashlight beam are perfect for marking entry trails to morning tree-stand setups.
  • Pole Saw – essential for any long term set that needs to be thoroughly brushed out.
  • GPS – mark stand locations, deer sign and other hotspots while out in the woods will help you refine your strategy.
  • Rangefinder – to mark out and tag distances.for your shooting lanes

Tips & Tricks

Hot Weather Hunting Tips

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Hot Weather Hunting Tips

Every early season many a hunter walk away their stand sweaty and empty handed. Abnormally high temperatures affect animal behavior and significantly change their daily patterns. For hunters who spent months scouting for a hunt in a specific location, this can be a frustrating scenario.

That being said you can still achieve big time hunting success if you keep these tips in mind.

  • Shade – If you hunt hilly or mountainous terrain focus your efforts on shaded north facing slopes. Alternatively, if you’re hunting flat terrain try to concentrate on areas where a dense canopy of mature trees provides plenty of shade.
  • Water – Wooded creeks and rivers are significantly cooler than surrounding uplands. They also provide wild game with the extra drinking water they typically need in hot weather. The same is true of lake, pond and swamp edges which often feature dense shaded bedding cover nearby. Try to use the sound of moving water to mask your entry/exit into your stand.
  • Timing – Every hunter knows dawn and dusk are the best times of day but pay attention to swings in the weather. A windy day or slight temperature drop could make a big difference and provide an excellent hunting opportunity that would of otherwise not exist.
  • Setup – In hot weather wild game such as deer become sluggish, moving less frequently and covering less ground when they do move. This makes setting up tight to bedding areas a must.