New App Takes Scouting to Next Level

There are a ton of apps that put a simple map on your phone. There are also quite a few that attempt to simulate GPS functionality. Once we discovered OnX it drastically changed the way we scout, hunt, and use our phones in the woods. OnX is the only mapping solution that 100% turns your phone into a fully functioning GPS with more useful tools, layers, and options than you can shake a stick at. No service, no problem. New property, no problem! Download the free Hunt App trial on your app store and let OnX guide you to a successful hunting season! 

As hunters, we know the key to success is hours spent with boots in the dirt exploring hunting grounds. Sometimes that is just not possible. Work schedules, travel time, and budgets do not always allow for multiple preseason trips to a hunting area, especially when hunting out of state. This is when using mapping solutions such as onXmaps can be a saving grace by bringing your hunting landscapes to your fingertips using your cellphone, tablet, and computer.

onX has many different avenues to explore to access to a new era of GPS  You can access their entire collection of layered maps via their onX Hunt app or their website where you can access the onX Web Maps. Once you have downloaded the app and logged in with your onX Hunt Membership, you have access to many different mapping options.  They also offer GPS chips for Garmin devices. Using a variety of base maps, layers, and map tools, you have a variety of scouting and navigation tools at your fingertips

Basemaps are available in three different views. The Aerial Basemap provides actual photographs of the terrain taken by satellite making it easy to orient yourself and find roads, cities, and other major landmarks. The Topo Basemap provides the best way to view elevation changes and landscape contour. The third is a hybrid of both the Aerial and the Topo Basemaps. The Hybrid Basemap shows the topographical information over the satellite imagery to give you a clear understanding of your surroundings. 

To enhance your use of the Basemaps, onX Hunt provides well over four hundred layers of specific national and regional information.  The Private Land Parcels layer shows private land ownership, property boundaries, parcel divisions, tax addresses, and acreage. The Government Lands layer shows subsidized lands including local, state, and federal owned lands and GMUs.  These two layers alone can help know your hunting boundaries and acreage of hunting lands. You can also use the Private Land Parcels layer to possibly gain access to new hunting lands with permission.  The Trail Slope and Trail Mileage layers indicate steepness of every trail to the highest detail possible and mileage between trail junctions. Each state has a variety of layers available specifically designed for navigation of that particular state.

Other layers can help you determine the quality of area you are hunting. The USFS Timber Cuts layer provides areas of logging operations since 2002, acreage of the cut, name of the project, and the year it was completed. The Historic Wildfires layer uses a color-coded map  to represent how recent fires were and can give additional fire information such as fire name and acreage burned.  A new innovative layer is the Randy Newberg’s Roadless Areas Layer that uses a heat map coloration to show areas of terrain furthest away from the roads to allow hunters to “get away from it all”.  onX even offers a layer in partnership with the Boone & Crockett Club that appears as a color-coded heat map of high quality game animals.  A portion of the sales of this layer goes to support the mission of the Boone & Crockett Club. Just a few other layers offered include Points of Interest, Species Activity Data, and Weather. 

Once you’ve used the layers to explore the area, onX provides map tools to help you further. It provides you with longitude and latitude coordinates for the center of the map, scale bar, and current location marking. The Draw Lines Tool allows you to draw straight lines or a series of straight line and measure distance between them. The Draw Shapes Tool allows you to draw a shape of at least three points and the area inside of it will be displayed. This tool is especially helpful when planning out food plots. They also offer a variety of Waypoints you can drop on the map to help locate stands, cameras, animals, etc. The onX search tool allows you to search for map features, locations, and landowners to quickly locate items on the map.

Using all of the aforementioned features, you can navigate through your preseason scouting, planning, and land access, but once you are out in the field, onX goes a step further to help you even in the most remote locations. They have an option so save your maps to your phone to use when cell service is unavailable to load your maps. Using the Off-Grid Map feature allows you to save either a high resolution map with maximum detail, layer visibility, and zooming capabilities or a lower resolution map that allows for a larger area to be saved. They also provide a Tracker feature allows you to record a visual representation of your path as you travel. It records time, distance traveled, average speed, and elevation gain also for later reference.

While no digital scouting is a true replacement for time in the woods, having a game plan will be a true time-saver when you are in a crunch and need to knock out preseason work. You’ll save time and sweat by knowing right where to begin by pinpointing areas where deer are naturally funneled through. Get right to the spot you choose to put a trail camera and stand. Know exactly where and how large you want to set up your new bean crop food plot, and have the confidence that you won’t get turned around in the thick woods because you will have the navigation tools of onX right at your fingertips.

 

Sarah’s Equipment List

Bow- Mathews Halon 6

Stand- Muddy Outfitter

Camo- Sitka Elevated II, and Subalpine

Essentials- Thermacell, Vortex binos, OnX Hunt App

 

Sarah Akers- LABH Contibutor (Schriever)

Deer Movement Lull = Fake News

Every year there is an initial change in a deer’s behavior that throws some hunters for a loop. You’ve most likely heard the term “October lull” used to force the blame on the deer. Multiple gps tracking studies have shown that there is no such thing as an October lull. Deer don’t move less right before the rut. In fact studies show they actually increase their movement during this time in both daylight and after nightfall. What has changed is they have adjusted their patterns from the previous months and for some reason we refuse to make that move with them. Let me explain. Over the summer months you probably enjoyed daily photos of bucks eating in your food plot, regularly using the same trails, and entering and exiting fields in the same location. Once the velvet comes off, POOF! They disappear. That’s because the hardening of their antlers by the higher levels of testosterone building in their bodies can technically be considered the first phase of the rut that triggers a plethora of changes in a buck’s body. A few examples of other changes taking place:

  • Bucks that have been friendly and huddled together over then summer will start to lose interest in each other’s presence and begin searching for the doe groups they’ll soon be chasing.
  • Their food sources are changing. There are undoubtedly dozens of feeders staring to fire off within the boundaries of your lease and acorns of certain types will begin falling soon. The deer know that!
  • There is more activity in and around their core, home area. Hunters are taking to the woods to set stands, clear lanes and plant fall food plots. The deer take notice of that. While the doe groups may not mind the old mature bucks sure do.

So how do I adapt you ask? Easy, move your cameras! Get them off the food plots, feeders, and mineral sites and near acorn trees. Get them on trails leading from known bedding areas to hard wood bottoms that will soon be full of their absolute favorite snack, acorns. Get them to an area you haven’t been this summer or where no one else goes. Seclusion is a big wary buck’s best friend and it will be yours too if you are careful about going in and out.

Something that is also an option with recent advancements in technology is taking an Ozone generator to the woods with you while you’re checking cameras. If you are searching for big bucks you will agree that every drop of scent you leave in the woods matters. Ozonics has developed a back pack that carries the HR-300 and allows it to eliminate your “scent tracks” while you’re checking cameras. A cutting edge tool to ensure you’re leaving no trace of your presence.

The Ozonics Kinetic Pack allows you to get in and out completely undetected.

Another helpful tool that will save you time and gas is the recent price drop in cellular trail cameras like the Spypoint Link -Evo. I put mine in the middle of a sanctuary area in May and have been able to hold bucks in that area ever since due to not having to venture in disturbing them checking that area. Both game changers for those that like to have the latest and greatest.

Using cellular cameras keeps you out of the woods!

So before you blame the deer for the October lull, or in parts of southern Louisiana the “September Lull” change your tactics up. Cover your scent and noise tracks while you’re preparing for the season and move those cameras. Where did you find them last year at this time? That would be a good place to start!

 

Give Ground Blinds a Try

After falling 20′ while setting up a stand last summer my hunting strategies have changed, to say the least. While I used to thrive hunting from a lock on, ladder stand or climber, now I find myself being satisfied on the ground. Shocker, I know! While I am no stranger to ground hunting I used to do so without the constraints of a blind so I could move around, be aggressive, and find my own cover. However with limited mobility those days are long gone. So this year I already have 3 ground blinds set up. Yes, they are already out there and in position waiting on a last minute brush in. Why so early you ask? Here’s why:

This doe has been coming to a protein feeder just out of frame for the last 6 months. Every day, every night, no issues. But something changed that has her on high alert; my ground blind. I placed it 35 yards in the woods nearly 24 hours before these photos from my Spypoint Link- Evo were taken and guess what she’s staring directly at? You got it. She refused to eat from the feeder that day and didn’t come back until nightfall. Deer are extremely observant, especially the older ones. They are highly aware of changes, even the subtle ones. If someone snuck in your house and moved your couch, your tv, and your recliner in the middle of the night would you notice? You bet you would. That’s why when it comes to ground blinds the earlier you get them out the better. Most importantly make sure to take your time brushing them in. The less obvious the intrusion, and longer  it’s there the more used to it they will be by deer season. The last thing you want to get into on opening day is a staring contest.

Another major strategy change while hunting from the ground is the increased importance of scent control. You had better take it up a notch or just plan on enjoying the day watching young immature deer and squirrels. One thing I won’t go in a ground blind without in my Ozonics. When it comes to scent control I don’t take any shortcuts. If you are after the dominant buck on your property you can’t afford to either. Having a careless entry and exit path, or being lazy with your scent control is the easiest way to ensure you’ll have a nice quiet uneventful day in the woods.

Being eye level with your target buck is an adrenaline rush on the next level.  It takes extra care, caution and preparation. What’s he worth to you?  It’s an addiction all over again like you first experienced when bow hunting all together. Give it a try this fall.

 

 

Justin Lanclos- LABH Editor/ Founder

info@louisianabowhunter.com

Calm Your Storm- Preparing for Buck Fever

Bow hunters go to extreme measures to ensure a successful season. We run trail cameras for months to keep a close inventory on our herd even naming some of the more dominant bucks and iconic does. We plot their movements day and night categorizing trail camera pictures into galleries featuring the same bucks or any deer using the same pattern of movement. We prepare soil for months in advance to grow nourishing plots of forbs and grasses. We work out, lift weights, run, pack heavy objects around the neighborhood, shoot thousands of times in the back yard all to prepare for that one moment. The moment a Pope and Young buck walks within range and stops broadside is what all this preparation is for. But then it stops abruptly. The preparation that is… we usually don’t prepare for the moment of truth. The deer is there, and ready to be shot; our blood pressure through the roof. You draw your bow and hold it. Inadvertently your stand, shoulder,elbow or any other arthritic prone joint pops, squeaks, cracks, or knocks. Or better yet, you suddenly feel the shifting breeze on the back of your neck. Your dream buck is now staring you down! Now what? Have you prepared for this moment? Probably not. Your first instinct is probably, “Oh crap. I’ve got to shoot now!” Which is not the answer you’re looking for. Here’s a few tips to ensure you don’t do everything else right only to fail at the absolute most important moment of your endeavor.

Practice Holding

One thing most hunters do before the season is shoot their bows. That is a given. Some shoot a lot. But most are focused on where the arrow hits. This year I want you to focus on holding your bow at full draw. Bow manufacturers already know how important this is. The proof is in the 70%-90% available let offs available in today’s bows. At the beginning of August, at the latest, begin your new shooting regiment.  Late in the summer evenings is best to simulate to the actual time you’ll be making your early season shot. Not to mention the heat index will hopefully be below 100 at this point. Shoot 6 arrows and make sure your group is good. Now the fun part! 7th-12th arrow I want you to begin lengthening your hold time. Start at 10 seconds. Your 8th arrow go to 20 seconds. Keep adding 10 seconds to your hold time until you cant hold it anymore. Don’t worry about where you’re hitting at first. Just make sure that you can hold your bow at full draw and continue to stare down a solitary spot on your target- through the shaking, jerking, and grunting.

Make Yourself Nervous

An old school way to give yourself simulated buck fever is to do some sort of physical exercise immediately prior to shooting. All this accomplishes is to make you weak and breathe heavy. Kind of like buck fever but not really. You get buck fever because the moment you’ve been waiting for has finally presented itself and you don’t want to mess it up. I can remember times where I’ve been screaming in my head as I begin to draw, “Don’t screw this up. Don’t screw this up!” Buck fever is the acknowledgement that YOU are the only thing that stands between going home empty handed and going home feeling like a million bucks! To adequately prepare yourself for this situation set yourself up to lose something important. Sounds scary doesn’t it! An arrow is important isn’t it? So what if you shoot at the center of a dumbbell? If you miss, your arrow is toast. I have an aluminum buck that will make you shake like a leaf. Not only does it let out a loud, “GONG”, if you miss the vitals, but it will obliterate any arrow burying the field tip deep into the shaft. A few other ideas are shooting into the holes of bricks, drilling out a hole in plywood, or anything else that can damage an arrow or just leave you feeling like a dope. Trust me. The more arrows you break , the more nervous you will get shooting into your chosen targets. It has worked wonders.

My dreaded “Iron Buck”

Visible battle scars

 

Have a Countdown

Make a mental checklist of vital form procedures to go through before you release that arrow. Mine is:

3. Anchor– Knuckles behind jaw, nose tip on string.

2. Identify– Check peep and sight housing alignment, check the bubble in your level, check for proper grip.

1. Make a Hole- Pick the tiniest spot to make a hole in. Don’t just get your pin on brown. I’m guilty. Early on in my bow hunting daysI would think, “Ok. Pin is on the lungs… somewhere”, and release. This will 9 times out of 10 result in a longer than necessary blood trail, a total miss, or worst of all a wounded unrecoverable animal. Pick the hair, the crease, or the wrinkle in the skin and bury that carbon missile!

A.I.M. before you shoot. Hopefully using these practice tips and remembering this simple saying will keep you a little more calm in the heat of the moment this fall. Feel free to share any other useful tactics you do to Calm Your Storm.

 

 

 

Justin Lanclos- LABH Editor/ Founder

info@louisianabowhunter.com

 

No Tag No Problem Over the Counter Dream Hunts

If you have spent any amount of time on social media in the past few weeks you have undoubtedly noticed the hoards of ecstatic or enraged “Out of State” hunters who were awarded or yet again denied that illusive western tag or an Iowa or Kansas archery whitetail tag. As for myself this is the first year I didn’t apply for a Non resident tag. Kansas used to be my destination of choice as I enjoyed success there and witnessed more rutting activity than ever before. But after being denied 2 years in a row I have given Kansas the perpetual “deuces”.  Why pay anywhere from hundreds of dollars just to apply for an out of state opportunity that will have to be refunded on their time table if you’re not drawn? Sure Kansas, and Iowa hunts are what dreams are made of but there are a number of states that offer us non resident hunters OTC tags (over the counter). Just walk into Wal-Mart, buy your tag, and hit the closest public land or outfitter ready to slock! (I had to pay Tim Wells a royalty to say that… so worth it!) So do not fret or fear or cry any longer over missing the bus on an out of state lottery drawing. Here is a list of the top 3 Over the Counter states in the country for hunting whitetails on a budget!

3.Arkansas 

PC| North American Whitetail

Our neighbor to North has many similarities to Louisiana. But its the striking differences that set it apart. While south Arkansas is an already popular destination for many living in the I-20 corridor, central and northern Arkansas is a different story. Let me tell you why you should keep heading North!

South Arkansas is close. Its land feels and looks familiar and with the antler restriction in place it feels goods to hunt somewhere where at least the yearlings are being passed. Deer density is slightly higher in the southern counties than most parishes in Louisiana and the bucks are arguably bigger for one reason or another. But what I consider the crown jewel of Arkansas lays quietly in the Northwest corner counties bordering Oklahoma and Missouri. There are state parks and Game Management Areas that litter this section of the Ozarks just waiting on anxious bow hunters. Having hunted this area many times before, I have seen more deer in one day here, than in any other state I’ve hunted. “America’s Best Kept Secret” is what I consider Washington and Benton Counties to be. Whether it be the nostalgic sunrises in the scenic mountains or the snow covered hill tops in late winter, NW Arkansas is a destination hunt you won’t soon regret.

Non Resident Hunting License – $225

2.Oklahoma

PC| Facebook OK Bowhunters

If you have ever hunted Kansas you already know why Oklahoma is #2 on this list! There are a hand full of public, Walk-In properties just across the southern boarder from Kansas. Driving north on I-35 gives you plenty of reason to stop and hunt before venturing across the boarder. If the deer lining the shoulder of the turnpike wasn’t enough to make you pull over, a quick glance online at the amount of hunters joining together in the state to let young bucks walk lets you know the best is yet to come for the Okie State. Oklahoma features upland prairie in the West and panhandle which also offers Pronghorn hunting, a nice bonus hunt. While the Southern features a Texas feel of brush country and rolling hills with lots of sandy soil and mesquite trees. Eastern Oklahoma is thick hard woods and pines covering the Ozark foothills and Northern Oklahoma is a plateau of big buck heaven with agriculture galore and narrow hardwood creek bottoms running though rolling hills. This great state has a little something for everyone!

NR Deer Archery- $280

1.Kentucky

PC| Snipe Creek Hunting

Ah, Kentucky. The reigning Pope and Young king! If you’re a fan of monster velvet bucks then Kentucky is for you. With a season opening the first weekend of September your chances of snagging a velvet buck here are as good as your shot placement. With gun hunting only allowed a short period after peak rutting activity begins in the central and western parts of the state you are sure to have plenty of time to hunt the buck of a lifetime until mid November without the bucks going nocturnal from hunting pressure. Kentucky features a mixture of mountain ridges, and farmland spread in the valleys between them and is some of the most beautiful land I’ve been fortunate enough to hunt. Kentucky also boasts a massive amount of public land available to camp, and walk right in to your next dream hunt. Kentucky is also a great place to get your feet wet at rattling and calling in big bucks during the pre breeding season.

NR Hunting – $140 + NR Deer Permit $120

 

To be on the safe side always be aware of game laws in your destination state AND the states you are driving through. If you do kill a deer out of state it is now Louisiana law that you must cape the deer and have it quartered in an ice chest. The skull plate must also be removed and cleaned.

Honorable Mention States:

Illinois While it used to be the undisputed champ of monster bucks Illinois has suffered considerably from over hunting, disease, and well its just a really long drive! Illinois also has some of the most strict game and gun laws in the country. That alone kept it out of our top 3.

Texas It’s close, convenient, and pretty easy to kill. But if you’re like most bow hunters I know, you may not enjoy this trip as much. South and West Texas are the hunting hot spots but mostly because of the hundreds of high fence ranches and easy picking down the sandero watching deer eat from the corn feeder. Texas is a hunters dream if your young, bloodthirsty, or using a gun. It’s a little less appealing for bow hunters unless you find a quality free range,bow specific outfitter or secret public land hideaway.

Nebraska A state overlooked often probably because of its distance from Louisiana. But it shouldn’t be. If you don’t mind driving all day you can have an experience very close to Kansas or Iowa. Both limited draw states.

Missouri The only reason the “show me state” didn’t make the list is the flood of “Orange Army” during the lenient gun season that dominates the woods before during and after the peak of the rut. Also the fact that you must drive past Arkansas to get there is troubling. If you have to go through Arkansas you might as well stop and hunt there!

 

 

Justin Lanclos/ info@louisianabowhunter.com

Dream Deer Season Ends with a Giant

Kyler Moppert is not just my business partner. He is one of my best friends. Getting the text yesterday evening that he had “shot a monster” ignited an excitement that I was going to be able to write a story about someone I know personally. Someone I can attest to how hard he hunts, how much he scouts, how long he sits and how much he loves bow hunting!

I asked Kyler’s wife Elise two questions this morning. Two questions that I already knew the answers to, but I wanted you to hear it from someone that sleeps next to this man every night. I first asked her to describe Kyler’s relationship with deer hunting:

“He’s passionate, he’s dedicated. He’s pretty much obsessed.”

She chuckled. Secondly I asked, out of the last 90 days how many times has Kyler been in the woods? With zero hesitation she laughed and said:

“Is 91 an acceptable answer?”

Kyler is a native of Baton Rouge and is what some would consider new to bow hunting. But by doing his homework and spending countless hours in the woods he has surpassed some seasoned hunters who have had less success with decades of experience under their belt. He won’t brag about what he accomplished this year, but 3 bucks and 3 does is a pretty amazing feat with a bow. Especially when you consider this trophy public land 10 point and a nice 8 in the mix.

Kyler and his buddy Garrett Ramsay made a trip to Tunica Hills WMA this weekend for one last hoorah. They both hunted hard all weekend.

“Garrett had some pretty nice bucks on trail camera in this area. A big 7 point, the buck I shot and a nice 8 that I let walk early in the weekend. Saturday morning I mistakenly set up within 80 yards of another hunter. After the sun came up I climbed down and moved 200-300 yards away to a different ridge top where I found tons of sign. I ended up seeing 4 does that morning before I climbed down for a break and a few slices of pizza.”

“I did a little more scouting mid day and found a great spot.” A west wind would be worst case scenario for this spot but the sign was too good. He had to give it a shot.

“I found a tree with a big fork in it. I got busted earlier by getting in a tree that showed my outline too easily. That was not going to happen again.”

“Hunting Saturday evening and Sunday morning produced multiple deer sightings but not the buck I wanted to spend my last tag on. He was gonna have to be big to be worth dragging him out of this place. We had already made a pact before the hunt not to shoot a doe. The terrain in there is a nightmare.”

Sunday evening, what was to be Kyler’s last hunt of the season, he braved the West wind and got in the go-to spot around 3:15 pm. Around 4:30 pm a flock of 7 turkeys walked in making tons of noise. At 5:15 pm Moppert described how he watched them roost eye level with him just a few yards away.

“We were hunting really close to the river. Shortly after the turkeys went to roost I text Garrett as a tugboat passed commenting on the diesel smell that was inevitably covering up my scent.”

“At 6 pm I could see the rack. I saw him at 40 yards and immediately knew, ‘That is the kind of rack people make logos out of; heavy wide and symmetrical.'”

“He was slowly making his way towards me but as I shifted my foot on the stand the back of my boot caught the support cable and made a twang! The buck froze and looked dead at me for what seemed like forever. He took one step and looked at me again. He turned to his right to walk down the hillside.”

Kyler drew his Prime Impact and anchored for the shot.  “I had my 25 yard pin behind his shoulder. I released and watched my arrow pass through and stick in the dirt on the other side.”

The Gold Tip velocity and Wasp Drone did their job. “He turned to run the way he came in and went down hill. I immediately text Garrett, ‘I just shot a monster.'”

Unsure of exactly where he hit he walked over to the arrow to inspect the blood. He found light airy blood and a missing vane, a great sign of a lung shot. Wanting to give the deer time to expire and not risk pushing him he backed out and waited on his hunting partner to arrive.

“I sat on the bank of the Mississippi River waiting on Garrett and watched the sunset. It was pure bliss. It was if that sunset was made just for me. It was so peaceful.”

Garrett arrived and they began to track. Here’s what happened next:

The buck ran 90 yards along a steep embankment and collapsed. The public land bruiser weighed 158 pounds field dressed and boasted at nearly 21″ inside spread. That made for a long half mile drag to the 4 wheeler but an even longer trail of memories that will definitely last a lifetime. Congrats my friend. You earned it!

 

 

What Have We Become? A Reflection on the State of the Outdoorsman

Have you ever heard someone say the phrase, “They don’t make ’em like they used to?”, or “Back in the good ole’ days…”. What about, “Things just aren’t the way they used to be.” Of course you have. These idioms can be reflected on a number of particularities in our lives. The deviation in generational cultures range anywhere from the quality and care in which products are made, how companies treat their employees, how we view our families and friends, to the inflated view our ourselves. Sure things change. Change is a good thing though… right? In most cases it is. And in the case of the outdoor industry it must be.

The Birth of a Giant

The outdoor industry, particularly the archery side, as a whole has transformed itself into a multi-billion dollar industry. But this change didn’t happen overnight. It started in the early 1900’s with the mass production of archery equipment by the now world renowned Bear Archery Co. Another drastic leap happened in the 1980’s with the introduction of cutting edge camouflage systems from the makers of Realtree, Mossy Oak, and TreeBark. Then came the Saturday outdoor shows on TNN. Who can forget watching Bill Jordan and David Blanton alongside famous MLB and NASCAR celebrities shooting bigger bucks than we ever knew existed? Hot on its tail was the Monster Buck VHS tapes. From those videos the likes of Michael Waddell, T-Bone, and other now household names were introduced to the world and so on and so on.

Fast Forward to 2016. Social Media has completely changed the way we perceive ourselves and each other; particularly when it comes to hunting. It has been undeviating in giving every human in the world a metaphorical microphone and a podium. While social media supplies us with so many great opportunities to share and keep in touch it has also fanned the flame of human nature to self indulge; and that wasn’t on accident. Facebook and the like feed off of our need for “Me.” To make matters worse a growing number of outdoor companies are hopping on the narcissist train by “employing” field and pro staffers who have never once used their products. A 15% discount off a product you’ve never used gets you a title, and a reason to start an “athlete” Facebook page or claim you’re the new “owner” of a company. The companies that are exploiting the selfish by completely destroying the once proud title of Pro Staff are as much of the problem as the hunters who have nothing good to say about anyone but themselves.

Not all Pro Staff’s are Bad

I personally am on a few of them. I take pride in the companies I represent and do what I can to hold up my end of the deal. I recently signed on with OnXMaps. That staff lead by Edward Gramza is what a pro staff should be like; carefully picked team members who are familiar with and use the product, involved in personalizing the product based on real life and live data from the field, and participates in marketing, media, and sales. True experts on what they’re representing. I saw a post on Instagram just today that a company I have never heard of proudly displayed a picture of a “field staffer” with their first buck. I’m not saying everyone has to be a  PRO. In fact the “pro” in pro staff means “promotion”, NOT professional. But what is a person doing representing and attempting to sell a piece of equipment that has never succeeded at doing what the product is intended for? And what value does a company find in someone like this?

Not all Self Starters Are Bad

Team Hardcore Hunters. Team Backstrap Hilly Billy. Team Dead Eye Duck Hunters. Yeah there are some really dumb ones out there. (I swear I picked those names at random. My apologies if you’re offended) But it seems like everyone feels the need to be on a team, or own their own brand, or be on a staff or film and narrate every little thing they do. It’s pretty annoying at times. But a lot of these guys and gals are just enjoying what they love to do to the Nth degree. That is perfectly fine and pretty American if you ask me. I can’t help but question my own motives for starting Louisiana Bowhunter when writing something like this. But it keeps us in check. It keeps me humble and focused on making a difference and giving back. It’s not about me, or anyone else on the team. It’s about promoting ethical bowhunting and encouraging others to be proactive with the relationships we make and the decisions that we execute in the woods that will affect our deer herd and our children for generations to come.

Change Can Happen… Again

With negativity and hate around every corner why not be the difference maker? If you really wanna stand out stop doing what everyone else is already getting pretty good at. Encourage! Do you remember how it was when we were little? No cell phone pictures, no big buck contests, no prostaffs to add to our non existent social media profiles. Hunters gathered around the campfire to joke and laugh and pick, and brag. We didn’t gather in chat rooms or forums to bash and hate, and condemn each others hunting practices. No one cared how you killed your buck, or how many inches it was. They just slapped you on the back and said “Its about time you found one dumb enough to walk by you.”

PC: Gem Ceaser

It’s time we get off our high horses, and promote comradery instead of promoting ourselves.

It’s time we began building each other up, and encouraging each other and being real with ourselves and our fellow hunters. It’s time we started hunting because we love to hunt. Not because we love to take pictures of ourselves and post them on Facebook. It’s time we got back to the basics. Hunt the way you want as long as its legal, ethical, and leads to a positive change for your local herd.  Volunteer to help your local WLF instead of constantly critiquing the decisions they make. Have positive conversations with hunters who do things differently by asking questions and trying to understand why.

Hunt for YOU. Not for anyone else. Take pride in building other hunters up, not yourself. Either build up the image of the sport and the people that participate in it, or take up tennis.

 

Micro Hunting: Success in the Small Things

I’ve never been able to sit still for very long. At least, not until I started bow hunting. Training yourself to move your eyes before your head is not easy. Keeping your movements close to your body is not easy. Timing your draw without being detected is not easy. But then again, if bow hunting were easy then everyone would do it. It’s about the challenge and close proximity more than the weapon. You can have 10 acres or 1,500 acres.  As a bow hunter, most can only hunt a 50 yard radius at once which can be both frustrating and rewarding at the same time. I call this “Micro Hunting” and refer to the property I hunt as an “Arena”. Who will win this round? The deer are in the lead.

A lot of my rifle hunting friends tell me about how many deer they see when they go. “I saw 18 does and 4 spikes before 9 am”. I’m happy for them, but that does nothing for me. I would be foolish to compare the number of deer they see to what I see. I can’t see further than 50 yards in my woods.  I would rather see an old doe at 22 yards that is actively looking for me, than 22 deer at 200yds in a clearing. Currently I see deer one in every four hunts and am successful one in every ten hunts. With stats like that you have to learn to appreciate the small things about each hunt. Did I get busted? No? Small victory.

Does this resonate with you? If so, you get it. You know how much consideration and self-awareness is behind every single move you make. Scent control, which path you took to your stand, and which stand the conditions allowed you to hunt are all an important part of the hunt. Yes, killing a deer is the ultimate victory, but I’ve left the woods many times feeling accomplished without ever drawing back my bow. When you hunt where the deer are, you must remain undetected. That may sound obvious, but when you hunt the same parcel of land repeatedly it is an art to not push the deer into the nocturnal abyss. Being non-disruptive is paramount and should be your ultimate goal. If you want to kill your target buck outside of the rut then your best chance is to not alert him of your presence. Find sign, be mobile, hunt correct winds and cut as little brush as possible. Often times doing less is the best thing you can do to boost your chances. If you ever get the feeling that you are pressuring your area, then leave it for a week or two to allow the area to normalize.

Micro Hunting is not about to the size of your property. It is about you and your decisions. It is about possessing a heightened sense of self-awareness. I do not believe in chance or fate. I believe in positioning. Good things have the opportunity to happen every day, but you have to position yourself to be able to take advantage of them. Anyone can kill a big buck once and get lucky, but can you do it over and over again?

If you are new to bow hunting, new to deer hunting in general, or are a convert from the land of rifles and box stands, I am excited for you. I hope you get busted. I hope you get blown at. I hope you get the white flag waved at you. But most importantly I hope you get hooked. Because success without failure is boring. If failure is not a motivator for you, then bow hunting may not be your sport for very long. It’s a humbling experience, really, because you never actually get good at it. You just get less bad. No matter what you do you still smell like a human and you are still hunting the deer’s living room and they are better at this game than you. But, I learn to play the game a little better each year.

 

 

Kyler Moppert- LABH Brand Manager

 

 

Bow Hunting 10 Commandments “Thus Sayeth Fred Bear”

There is a hunting resource around every corner these days. No shortage of sentiment from self proclaimed experts and thousands of deviating ways of accomplishing the same objective. But something we can all agree on is that no one other that the late Fred Bear deserves the title “The Father of Modern Bow Hunting”. Watch his videos from half a century ago and it becomes apparent just how far ahead of his time he was. From shooting a running Bengal tiger while perched atop a palm tree or standing face to face with a Kodiak bear at 20 yards, Fred Bear has done it all. These are his most noteworthy hunting tips with a little discourse to help implement it to your particular situation.

 

1. Don’t step on anything you can step over.

  • Being a bow hunter is about paying attention to details. That sentiment resonates throughout these guidelines. Whether it be a log, a puddle, branches or dry leaves, if it is going to make noise when you touch it, don’t.

2. Don’t look for deer, look for movement (and remember, it’s what they’re looking for, too).

  • Experienced hunters have trained their eyes to look for things such as the flicker of a tail, the crossing of moving legs through a thicket, or the turning of an ear. Focusing on movement instead of trying to catch an entire silhouette will increase your sightings and help you see them before they see you.

3. Always approach downwind. In the cool of the day, move uphill; in the heat of the day, move downhill.

  • Thermals, and the difference in ground and air temperature in certain parts of the day play a major role in air currents and ultimately the direction your scent travels. While it’s not a huge deal in most of Louisiana it surely can make or break a hunt in a more hilly terrain.

4. The best camouflage pattern is called, “Sit down and be quiet!” Your grandpa hunted deer in a red plaid coat. Think about that for a second.

  • Mossy Oak, First Lite, Sitka, Realtree. It doesn’t really matter what you have on. If you can sit still, you will be fine!

5. Take only the gear to the field that allows you to hunt longer, harder, and smarter.

  • There’s nothing more frustrating than having to leave the stand early because you’re cold, or thirsty, or hungry. Either train your body to do without these things for a few hours longer or make sure to bring them with you. Easy solution. (Your cell phone dying is not a good excuse to go back to the truck) #c’monman

6. A rainstorm isn’t a reason to quit the hunt, it’s a reason to stay.

  • Weather changes can be some of the most rewarding times to hunt; especially if there is a major pressure change involved. Just make sure you dress accordingly to stick it out.

7. Camouflage your appearance, your sound and your scent.

  • You are the apex predator. Own that fact. Unfortunately we have been out of the woods for a long long time and have lost a lot of those instincts. The more “ninja like” you become in your stalking and hunting the more successful you will be. Treat your quarry as if they are hunting you also. That will change the way you do everything from stand approach, scent control, and sound control.

8. Be sure of your shot. Nothing is more expensive than regret.

  • We spend so much time waiting on the opportunity at a clean kill. As hard as it is, don’t rush it by a minute or two. Don’t try to thread the needle and squeeze that arrow between 2 branches or take an angle shot you haven’t practiced. It is inevitable that after hunting long enough you will lose or wound a deer. If at any point that situation becomes anything other than gut-wrenching you need to check your moral compass and decide if you are hunting for the right reasons.

9. Hunt where the deer actually are, not where you’d imagine them to be.

  • I know I’m guilty of hunting a spot because it’s “pretty”. If you’re hunting mature bucks don’t just look for deer sign. Look for big buck sign!

10. Next year’s hunt begins the minute this season’s hunt ends.

  • Some of your best scouting comes in the late winter when everything is dead or close to it. Trails are easy to see, browse has become limited and rubs and scrapes stick out like a sore thumb. Next year’s hunts should always be in the back of your mind, even now.

The Deer Disappearing Act

By the time December rolls around the rut is pretty much over for most of Southwest, Central, and Northwest Louisiana. One of my fellow lease members said just yesterday, “I haven’t seen a deer in the last 7 hunts!” Does it seem like the deer just disappear after the initial rut is over? It sure does on our 2600 acres of pine plantation, clear cuts, and hardwood creek bottoms in central Beauregard Parish. I’ve contemplated pulling out mementos from my past successful hunts or sacred family heirlooms to conjure up the hunting god’s good graces to grant me some late season luck. Instead I’ve gone with the traditional, less inspirational approach: Research and Facts. There are a few factors that play into this disappearing act that happens year after year.

Pressure

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out when hunters have hit the woods. And it’s no secret that deer are very in tune with their surroundings, especially when we start invading their space. A casual walk through the woods will show you obvious traces of human presence: cut limbs, tire tracks, corn sacks, thermacell bottles the list goes on. Mature bucks are well aware of the locations we venture to and frequent. They have since moved! Most public lands and leases have had the sounds of ATV’s, victory yells and gun shots ringing out for over 2 months now. The deer are indeed “in hiding.” It’s a task you’ve been burdened with as a bow hunter to remove your comfy climber or lock-on and go deeper. Away from the noise and stench.

Exhaustion

Ever tried to get the attention of a girl you liked for weeks or even months? She was the only thing you thought about. You missed meals, lost sleep, ran her all around town trying to impress her and keep her entertained. Remember how tired you were once it settled down? Multiply that times 100 and that is what whitetail bucks are feeling right now.  They have skipped many meals, and have literally been running non stop for 2 weeks straight. The boys are tired! Really tired! Right now their focus is on regaining strength; mostly by resting in the thickest cover they can find and locating easy-access, highly nutritious meals.

Change in Food Source

With recent rains and limited frosts the acorns are beginning to sour and green browse may indeed have freshened up even more. But don’t fret! A hard freeze is on the way. The point is, their food sources have changed, which means their travel routes have changed; not to mention they have their sense about them again and are thinking about ever present danger once more.

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So how do you change you luck? You set up an ambush. Get between the thickest cover you can find and and the closest food source. It may be a late season, secluded food plot they haven’t started hitting yet, or the edge of a clear cut that has sprouted a plethora of native forage through the summer and fall months. Whichever you choose only hit it when the wind is in your favor. Try and catch them returning to bed in the mornings, and on the way to food in the evening. This strategy may require you to perch in areas you aren’t accustomed to. It may call for you to sit in close-quarter areas with no more than a 10 yard shot or to even break out the ghillie suit and give it a go from the ground. Don’t be afraid. Doing something different may be just the game changer you need to surprise that wary buck that has successfully avoided you so far. Attempting to spot a buck out for a mid day snack isn’t a bad idea either. Just remember, cover and safe and easy access to food is key. Get the right wind and make your successful late-season ambush!