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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

Shot Placement for Short Blood Trails

We have seen desperate calls for the increasingly popular Blood Trailing Dog to retrieve our deer on the rise recently. No doubt well-trained blood dogs are a huge asset and have saved us from dire circumstances; circumstances sometimes out of our control. But the rising need for dogs begs we ask the question: Have we have lost the ability to trail a deer on our own? Or is it possible the blood trails are not what they should be due to poor shot placement? Honestly, both are likely culprits. With technology creeping into our lives more and more we seem to be losing our survival instinct, the ability to fend for ourselves. Mechanical broadheads is a prime example. We have been told over and over that a bigger cut is better.

“No way I’ll lose a deer if I shoot a certain head. I’m supposed to be able to watch ’em drop.”  Right?

Wrong! Shot placement is everything. Don’t get me wrong. I too shoot mechanical from time to time, and I’m in no way attacking them. There are some really unique “creations” on the market. But, our ability to pass those razor sharp blades at the tip of that carbon missile through the game we pursues vital organs is not just a necessity. It is our ethical responsibility.  I’ve heard one too many TV hunters claim they can make a bad shot and still retrieve their deer using the broadhead of the company that gives them free stuff. This behavior not only encourages a lack of practice and necessity to perform, it makes us impatient. Any experienced bow hunter knows “impatience” is the enemy of success in the deer woods. From your shot timing to your stand choice, patience plays a key role to your level of success. Being a bow hunter is the pinnacle of hunting challenges. It does’t make you better than other hunters, but it sure makes it you work harder! Attention to every detail, persistence and patience in every aspect of the pursuit of your quarry is imperative to success with a stick and string as your weapon. That is why our patience when a deer shows itself must improve.

There are many hunters putting down their guns completely or picking up a bow or crossbow to extend their hunting season. There are other hunters that simply have not had the experience of the contrasting short happy-ending blood trails and long, spotted, endless ones that lead to a knot in their stomach that is seemingly life-long. Proper shot placement can fix some of these issues. A bow is obviously not a gun. Your point of aim with an arrow instead of a bullet should not be treated as such.

When you’re gun hunting and a deer steps out the hunt is practically over. When you’re bow hunting and a deer steps out, the hunt has just begun.

You must wait for the perfect angle where you have a clear shot straight through the heart and or both lungs. Patience. A perfectly broadside shot is paramount. Give your game ample opportunity to present that to you. A clean pass through should always be your goal.

Your next most favorable shot is when the deer is quartering away. This will place the deer’s rear end closest to you and the head facing away. (See angles C & D) At this angle the entry path is even easier for your arrow as you can slip the arrow behind the rib cage. Notice how far back the entry points seem in the chart. You must also take into effect the exit which may or may not lead into and hopefully through the front shoulder blade. You must visualize the entire path of the arrow through the deer to insure that you most importantly hit the vitals, but a close second is miss the far shoulder blade which can stop the arrow from penetrating the opposite side. An exit hole shouldn’t be something you hope for. It should be something you wait until you can confidently produce.

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Aiming points for successful quartering to, and away shots.

 

 

The only other angle experienced bow hunters should attempt is quartering to. (Seen in the chart above on angles A & B) This shot is not for everyone and the only other angle we recommend. This angle presents itself when a deer is walking towards you, but at a slight angle. This shot requires the most skill and and has the most hurdles to overcome of the 3 shots we have mentioned. To get a pass-through here the arrow must miss the shoulder blade and penetrate a massive amount of muscle or “brisket”. The shot may also result in hitting the guts on the way out of the torso giving the arrow the false reading of a gut shot. Having guts on your arrow and on the trail can definitely hamper your tracking ability.

Remember, your aiming point will move from left to right depending on the position of the deer. Also know that we never recommend shooting a deer that is directly below you, walking straight at you, or bedded as the vitals are much more protected in these scenarios and probability of wounding and or losing your animal is greater.

img_2934

Incorrect aiming point for shots not broadside.

Being successful with a bow is no easy task. It takes time and patience, practice and persistence. The best thing you can do is practice different angled shots at home. Wait on a broadside shot if possible and only take shots you are confident in and have practiced.

 

 

– Justin Lanclos, LABH Founder

 

Buck For The Recordbooks Taken with Trad Bow

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Yeah… That’s what I said too when I got the text and first laid eyes on the brute taken by LABH Contributor Harmon Carson, of Northwest LA. He sent me trail cam photos of this buck he calls “Jacob” back in the summer months. I’ll be honest, I thought to myself, “That buck didn’t get big by being stupid.” I was probably right. But I underestimated the prowess, and persistence of the “Bayou Bowhunter”. This man is relentless. Just back from a grueling Colorado mule deer hunt where he scored on a gorgeous velvet buck, he comes home and continues the onslaught of his local hog herd, and then brings home the #1 buck on his hit list. After showing me a video and asking about a questionable hit he decided to let the buck lay overnight. A restless miserable night brought forth an even more grueling day that would require over 5 hours of tracking with 2 different dogs; only to find the buck still alive. Harmon had to dispatch the deer with one final arm lifting, God praising shot that put Jacob to rest and began the journey that comes along with shooting a truly MASSIVE Pope & Young Buck in a state that is not necessarily known for bucks of this caliber.

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Harmon hunts with a 54# Hoyt Buffalo Recurve and full length Black Eagle Deep Impact arrows tipped with Simmons Tiger Shark Broadheads. He exclusively uses HCB Strings, out of Monroe, LA.
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The Carson buck unofficially scores 173 7/8″gross. The bases were both 5 2/8″ inches circumferences. It boasted an inside spread of 17 4/8″ and main beams measuring 25″ and 24 4/8″. Maybe most impressive was the right G3 measuring 13 4/8″.

“This was my second chance at this particular buck. I actually shot him last year! It was pretty dark and my arrow deflected off of a limb and ended up sticking him in the back right leg last December. I trailed him for 2 days thinking I had gut shot him. I was disgusted at the thought of wounding an animal, or even worse killing one and not being able to find it. Much to my relief, 3 days later, I got a picture of him checking a scrape. I successfully relocated him in March of this year; watching him shed his velvet on September 4. He disappeared after that and reappeared last Friday”, recalled Carson.

“I set up hunting over acorns on the edge of a swamp. I sat near where a couple of trails come together that he had consistently used during the summer months. I had only been in the stand 30 minutes or so when the action started. A little 5 point walked out of the thicket directly towards me. I recognized him immediately as one of the bucks I had pictures of with “Jacob.” I heard a long deep grunt as I began messing with my camera trying to clean off disk space. I looked up and there he was. Head down, stomping with authority towards the over-cup acorns. I was focused on Jacob at this point and completely forgot about the 5 point. Sure enough, the little guy busted me. After a few minutes of the head bob routine from the young buck he calmed down and commenced eating. Jacob worked his way into 26 yards. He stepped behind a cypress tree allowing me to draw. When he eventually came out from the tree I only had a small window before he walked behind more brush. I rushed the shot. I hit further back than I wanted.  Once I got down and found obvious liver blood I backed out. I came back 3 hours later to begin the search. After 100 yards of trailing we stumbled upon a bed full of blood. I knew then I had to back out for the night and come back with a dog. It took 2 dogs infact. Finally rhe bark I’d been praying for. I started running.” The rest is history!

Harmon asked to leave you with one last word:

“Details make the masterpiece. When you pay attention to the details, the masterpiece will paint itself! When you’re gun hunting, details don’t matter as much. That’s why I’m a Traditional Bowhunter.”

1 year difference in shed to harvested antler.

After deductions from the unofficial gross score this buck will be firmly placed high within the all-time LA Archery Record book.

 

– Justin Lanclos LABH

If you or someone you know has a great kill story or a topic suggestion email us at info@louisianabowhunter.com

Potential Deadly Fall Changes Perspective of LABH Founder

Saturday morning July 16, 2016, was going to be my last trip to the lease this summer to do any type of “disturbance” work. I like to give the land at least 8 weeks to settle down after making any major changes or soaking the forest floor with my sweat. I already had my opening day stand hung, lanes cut, 1 dozen + cameras spread over 1,100 acres, mineral and protein sites established, and entrance and exits routes marked with night eyes. All that needed to happen Saturday was to check my newly placed Spypoint Force 11-D cameras and get some quality pictures from Bayou Whitetail Management Group’s “Buck Munch” I put out the week before. The last thing on my to-do list was to hang a non-south wind stand, but that plan went south quickly.

I left the house around 7:30 that morning with my 9 year old son, Carter. I make it a point to always have someone with me while hanging stands. We loaded the truck with my four wheeler, a couple of chainsaws, a bag full of Buck Munch, and everything I need to hang a stand such as my safety harness, bow hanger, seat cushion, and my Hooyman saw to cut limbs just out of reach.

First rule of camera checking: Always pose.

I was very optimistic after the first few stops that morning. I found multiple new deer on camera and saw the drastic increase in day time pictures I was hoping for by using Buck Munch. All the important cameras were checked by 11:30am and it was time to head to the truck to drop everything off and pick up the lane cutting supplies and re-hydrate.

Doe and fawn eating Buck Munch

When we reached the stand location I gave my son his first important task. “Cut all the vines, remove all limbs and twigs and make sure there’s nothing on the path other than leaves and pine needles”. As he opened up the trail I climbed tree sticks to my stand I left on a previous trip just to get it off the ground. It was a mid sized water oak large enough for me to barely touch my fingers as I reached around it. I planned to hang my lock-on just over 20′ off the ground which sloped down to a creek that is major corridor for the deer in my area. The stand was attached below the first fork in the tree to help break up my silhouette and also give me room to hang my pack and bow.

I was straddling the fork of the tree and feeling very secure. I folded up the bottom of the lock on to remove slack in the strap, cinched the strap tight and pushed the foot rest back down tightly to bury its claws into the tree. I maintained a good grip on the tree being conscious that I was not yet tied off.  I wiggled and dug the stand into the bark to get a real good bite and made sure it wasn’t going to move. After securing it firmly to the tree and sat for a second and let the sweat role down my face and looked down at my son, “You’re doing a good job Bubba,” I remember calling out to him.

I stood up and raised the seat to make room for for my body as I twisted to leave only my right foot on the stand while placing my left foot over onto the ladder to begin my decent. As I shifted the majority of my weight from my stand to the ladder the limb that was expected to hold me for a mere 2-3 seconds broke. I scrambled to try and grab the ladder but missed, slicing my hand open in the process. As I began to fall I kicked at the tree to clear myself from the ladder hoping to avoid any additional injuries. I remember thinking “This is it” and trying to tell Carter that I love him. Then it was over.

The next recollection was the feeling of the massive impact of the earth hitting my legs. My body buckled and the impact ended with my face taking the final blow. Carter was at my side screaming. I was disoriented and confused. I was hurting and numb. I was more scared than ever before, but I needed to calm down my son.

“Calm down buddy. Let Daddy figure out what is wrong with him then we can figure out what to do,” I spoke slowly and in shortened breath. I felt all over my face and head. There was a little blood coming from my eye, but not my ears mouth or nose. I wiggled my fingers and moved my arms. I rubbed my ribs, chest and pressed on my abdomen and hips. Seems to be ok. I tried wiggling my toes. No wiggles. I tried moving my right leg, nothing. Then my left, nothing. I was worried that I had broken my back but knew that I could be rescued from that. “Ok bud, its just my legs. Daddy is gonna live so don’t be scared. I need you to be strong and I need you to go get the four wheeler”. It was about 200 yards through the woods and I was hoping he could drive it in and begin loading everything onto it while I called for help. While this discussion took place I began to feel my legs tingle. I had movement in both sets of toes! I began to move my right leg with limited success and decided that if I could take it slow I would attempt to get myself up on the four wheeler and drive myself to the truck with Carter’s help. I called my wife and told her I had fallen and that I was ok. It’s just my legs and I would update her once I was at the truck.

The new plan was for Carter to get the four-wheeler to me so I could get on. He had some difficulty finding it at first so I pulled it up on my GPS using the onXmap chip and it took him directly to it. I could hear him yell “I’m coming Daddy” when he was there and started it. I assumed he would take the trail that we had already cleaned and cut to come back in to get me. NOPE. He did exactly what I told him to do. He followed the GPS. If you don’t know how GPS’s guide you they do the most direct route. He came plowing and bulldozing through the woods like a Mac truck driven by Donald Trump. At one point he got himself stuck in some fairly thick undergrowth. I hollered to turn on 4 wheel drive and plow them down! He did just that. He was so proud once he pulled up next to me and I was proud of him too.

I tried pulling myself up on the 4 wheeler. That the first time I felt the full brunt of the injury to my knee. I screamed and immediately told Carter we need more help. My knee had just seemed tight while trying to push on it, but the second I put weight on it was as if a bomb went off inside it. I called my lease president who lives just up the road to come help. Carter picked my head up and let it rest on his leg as we both laid there and talked, waiting. He had everything loaded on the bike and retrieved my other trail camera for me to help pass the time.

Once help got me on the four wheeler we made it back to my truck and they loaded me into the truck. By this time I was well aware of how serious the knee injury was. A great friend and his family met us at the lease gate and drove me 35 miles to the hospital. We prayed, and just talked on the way there. I was glad to be alive and did not care that my hunting season was probably over. I was just glad to be alive and out of the woods.

Pre-Op Femoral Break

Post-Op Fermoral Break

Post-Op Femoral Break

After 3 days in the hospital, knee surgery, a broken femur, receiving a soft tissue transplant to reconstruct my knee, contusions on my lungs and head, hand lacerations and a severely sprained ankle I have a lot to think about, reflect upon, and especially be thankful for. The first is taking safety to the next level. I already had multiple safety measures in place. I always have someone with me when I’m doing elevated or power tool work, and  I always where my harness when I’m sitting in my stand. The problem was I wasn’t sitting, and most harnesses aren’t designed to set up stands with. They are designed to attach once you’re in the tree and stationary. The other option is a life line. Again not designed for stand set up. Designed for the ascent and descent of the ladder. I was sent one option last night that is currently available that I plan to check out, but I really want to work with someone to make safety easy and accessible. Preferably, something you can hook up at the bottom of the tree and be connected to until you’re back on the ground.

The thing that has crossed my mind more than anything else is my life and the role my family and friends play in it. I have been absolutely flooded with phone calls, texts, Facebook messages and visitors over the past few days. I honestly had no idea so many people cared about me. You can’t imagine how the offers to mow my grass, thoughts and prayers you’ve sent, and hugs and handshakes have meant. This life-changing event put my true friends into perspective for me. For those of you that dropped everything to help, and still consider yourself on call, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I have also received tons of sentiments hoping I’m better for hunting season or hoping I don’t miss hunting season. But honestly, now that I’m thinking clearly I could care less about hunting season this year. I’m thankful to be alive. I was at a point in life where many things were colliding and needed reorganizing and re-prioritizing. Now I’ve got time and the perspective to be able to do just that.

Walking away from this accident will always be the thing I’m most grateful for. But walking away will be in vain if I don’t change anything. I beg everyone to wear a harness when in a tree; ladder, lock on, climber it doesn’t matter. Find something that works for you or hopefully I will be able to find or design something better and is more convenient and safe for hanging stands. I’m also going to focus my time on organizations such as my own, Louisiana Bowhunter, and others I’m passionate about such as QDMA to enlighten and encourage not only the use of tree harnesses but ethical hunting practices, and respect towards our fellow outdoorsmen and women.  Please share my story with every hunter you know. I thought I was safe. I was experienced. Unless you have every scenario covered there’s still room for an accident to happen. Be safe and be thorough. Your family needs you and you need them. Make sure they know that!

#LABHSTRONG

-Justin Lanclos

 

UPDATE: Sept. 30

10 Weeks post surgery I am still not able to put weight on my leg. After recent additional tests it has also been found that my hip was damaged in the fall as well and will require additional surgeries to repair ligament damage. I am continuing Physical Therapy and simply having to give my knee more time to heal.