Our area is farm and ranch land and nearly every property is deerhunted. But the only bowhunters around here are on our lease. Somehow, Number 9 had traveled the area for his 8 years without an encounter with one of the many rifle hunters on the properties surrounding our lease. (The lease is 1,000 acres. Plus I have an additional 120 acres around my house.)
When I first saw the buck I called Number 9, because he was a nine point, he looked to be a 4 1/2 year old buck with a big rack, for our area.
I kept track of him during the year through sightings and with game cameras. Here is what it took to make this happen.
PORTABLE GROUND BLINDS: I used Double Bull ground blinds to move around. The Primos Dark Horse Double Bull blind is easy and quick to set up and I used them in a bunch of places to look for Number 9.
BLINDS IN OLD UNUSED BUILDING: My property has 4 out buildings that were for hay storage and farm equipment. I set up blinds in every one of them and used them to watch different areas around my propery.
SPYPOINT TRAIL CAMERAS: The Spypoint trail cameras are a real work horse. I used several different ones and they were all dependable and hard working. They take 3,000 or more pictures on one set of batteries. That means I could set them up and didn’t have to check them for pictures for weeks. They have On/Off switches so they are easy to turn on. You can adjust the range, so whether you’re watching an open area or thick woods you can adjust the distance accordingly. They are easy to set in place, they come with a strap with a buckle. Nice and simple.
BUCKEYE WIRELESS GAME CAMERA: This camera transmits its pictures to a unit that I had connected to a laptop. I’ve set it up as far as 500 yards away and it worked fine. The settings were made from the laptop so it was extremely easy to make changes. You set the delay from 1 second on up. I used it for over 10 years but 2 years ago it cratered, so the last two years the Spypoints handled the job.
FOOD PLOTS: Every year I planted Food Plots in the late spring. They were better some years than others, due to differences in rain fall. I made small plots in the woods and they always drew in deer. From watching the plots I learned something important that I’ve never heard about. Deer, particularly the bucks, come to a food plot more to see and be seen than for nutrition. They want the other bucks, as well as the does, to see them. And they come to test those bucks and determine where they are in the pecking order.
The game cameras watching my food plots were a key way that I made initial contact with Number 9, and other bucks of interest.
SCRAPE WATCHES: Many scrapes are short term. Others are hubs of rutting activity every year. And I kept track of scrape activity on both types from late September through March. Most of Number 9’s visits were during the night but the Spypoint let me know he was in the area.
MAGNUM SCENT DRIPPERS: I used Ultimate Scent Drippers on long run scrapes (From Wildlif Research Center). Number 9 was big on working scrapes and he visited 4 particular scrape sites every year. His routene was to hit them in September and October. In November he would be gone most of the month. Then in December he would slam the scrapes almost daily. But this year he was still on the scrapes near my main food plot. And that let me know where he was and when.
SPECIAL GOLDEN ESTRUS: In my experience this lure makes the Drippers happen. I get the 4 oounce bottles and pour a bottle in the dripper. They can last as long as 2 or 3 weeks. Bucks are drawn to this scent. One time I dropped the bottle when I was putting some on a Scent Wik and couldn’t find it in the dark. At daylight the buck I was looking for came to that bottle and smelled it and pushed it around. And for the first time he stayed a little longer and I got my shot.
GRUB’S BOOTS TREELINE 8.5 SP: My Grub’s Boots arrived after the season began and the first day I wore them was the day I got my shot opportunity on Number 9. I wore them in the rain for 3 days, and afterward. From the get go, these boots are the most comfortable I’ve ever worn. And, somehow, my feet did not sweat when I wore them. That’s amazing, it normally takes time to break in boots but the Grub’s felt broke in right away. Rubber or vinyl boots always make your feet sweat … and sweat. But not the Grub’s. And they are totally water proof too.
It’s all in the design and details. GRUBS® are tested twice in the manufacturing stage and are 100% waterproof keeping your feet warm, dry and protected even in harsh weather or messy working conditions. The secret – Grub’s exclusive self-insulating waterproof INSU-FOAM ULTRA™ construction. INSU-FOAM ULTRA™ is the highest concentration of CR Foam to SBR Foam ratio, which minimizes the possibilty of “leakers” and acts as a “neutral medium” between inside and outside temperatures. Naturally lightweight, buoyant, and very comfortable. The material keeps the foot and lower leg warm and protected in cold and wet conditions. Natural rubber overlays act as a protective skin for the upper bootie. The upper has a triple reinforced toe area and a quadruple reinforced heel area. The outside is made of high abrasion natural rubber. The rubber in the boots will stay flexible for years.
Simply put, my Grub’s Boots are the best I’ve ever used.
ThermaCELL: They make two amazing products for hunting. During the scouting months and early season I used the ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellant device to repel mosquitoes and other flying insects. Turn on the ThermaCELL unit and it clears any flying insects away for 15′ by 15′. During the cold spells I kept my feet warm with the ThermaCELL Heated Insoles which have adjustable heat via a small wireless controller. Both ThermaCELL products work great.
PATAGONIA Men’s Torrentshell Jacket: I wore this rain/foul weather jacket for 3 days straight, all day long. If you have any other kind of rain gear I’d bet you it’s not nearly as rainproof, breathable and comfortable as the Patagonia Torrentshell. Patagonia says this rain Jacket is for seriously wet weather. And they are not kidding. It has an H2No® Performance Standard 2.5-layer nylon waterproof/breathable shell. It’s durable, lightweight and versatile. The key to this 2.5-layer nylon jacket is its waterproof/breathable barrier. It’s compact and stuffs into one of two zippered handwarmer pockets (with a carabiner clip-in loop). The hood rolls down, stows away and has a laminated visor to keep the rain out of your face, which is greatly apprecitate when it rains hard. The center zipper has minimal welt exterior and interior storm flaps and the ventilating arm pit zips have storm flaps and DWR-treated zippers. It has a microfleece-lined neck, hook-and-loop cuff closures and a drawcord hem. Again, it is the best I’ve ever used.
SILICONE WATER GUARD: When I realized that the rain was here to stay I got out my ATSKO Silicone Water Guard spray bottle and sprayed my hunting pants with it. This product is both waterproof and breathable. My pants stayed dry walking around in the rain and I was comfortable because of the fit of the pants as well as the breathable factor.
ALPEN BINOCULARS: I used the Alpen Wings #599 Binoculars. They are small and light weight. With them I can find what I’m looking for quickly and the game is big when looking through the lenses. They are easy to hand hold. They are good in low light in the morning and at the end of the day. Adjusting the Focus is quick and easy. They are a flat color that doesn’t shine in daylight. And they are waterproof and fogproof which is a must have.
My 2013 Empire from Bear Archery bow has a Shadow finish that’s perfect for ground blind hunts. The Empire is one of the smoothest bows I’ve ever shot. It is very quiet as well. It has impressive speed and hitting power.
ARROWS: I used the new Maxima RED carbon arrows from Carbon Express. Maxima® RED™ is a breakthrough in controlling Dynamic Spine. The new, hi-tech carbon design has stiffer ends to contain the arrow’s flex to the “RED ZONE”™, the section of the arrow shaft engineered to contain Dynamic Spine. This makes broadhead shoot more consistently. I fletched these arrows with bright yellow 2″ Omni Vanes and Goat Tuff glue. Both are top quality products made by Goat Tuff Products.
RELEASE AID: I used the Fletch Hook from Jim Fltecher Archery. This is a great release. It’s a loop only release with very smooth performance. The forward trigger helps gain back lost draw length from using a loop. The hook is specifically designed to release the loop cleanly resulting in a consistant, smooth shot every time. The trigger is adjustable from heavy to hair trigger.
The Grim Reaper Whitetail Special is a 3 blade expandable that has a wide 2-inch cutting width and a cut on contact tip. Any broadhead is only as good as where the shooter puts the arrow. In this case he was at more of an angle than I realized so I got a one lung hit and he went further than usual. Actually, he went 320 yards. He went along the edge of a cow pasture and entered a finger of woods and expired in a trail in 25 yards. So he went down on the run. This is a tough broadhead, tried and proven on bear, deer and wild turkeys.
The Empire’s arrow rest is a Trophy Ridge Revolution. It incorporates the two new technologies that changed recent archery, it is both a Full Containment rest and a Drop Away rest. It shoots QUIET … and accurate.
The bowsight is a Trophy Ridge Cypher 3. It’s made from a Ballistix CoPolymer and is as strong as aluminum but 25% lighter. It Tool-less Windage and Elevation Adjustments. It’s easy to adjust and tune.
I used my favorite peepsight, the Whisper Peep with tubing.
The Beacon bowquiver from Trophy Ridge has a unique feature I really appreciate. The quiver’s hood has 3 powerful green LED lights encased in the top. So this quiver has been a flashlight on the way to many a stand as well as a subtle green light inside my ground blinds.