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Firestone Tires Presents “The Roads We Share” Featuring Michael Waddell

Firestone Tires “The Roads We Share” with Michael Waddell

You know the story of Michael Waddell…or do you? The origins, the values, the stories, and the meaning behind an outdoorsman, all summed up in the area Michael calls home. Booger Bottom Georgia is more than just home, it’s the story of hunting foundations and traditions.

 

The story of Booger Bottom Georgia for Michael is not distant from the story of Harvey Firestone, founder of the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company. The spirit of Harvey is ingrained into the Firestone brand and remains alive today, as evidenced by the brand’s commitment to quality and rich traditions. Over the years, his family has passed down what it means to be an outdoorsman and hunter, and now Michael shares those traditions with his children—similar to how the Firestone brand was built on foundations set out by its founder, Harvey Firestone.
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Firestone: “The Roads We Share”

 

#1: TRADITION LEADS THE WAY with MICHAEL WADDELL

 


Outdoor Channel’s Michael Waddell grew up in an area of Georgia called Booger Bottom. Over the years, his family has passed down what it means to be an outdoorsman and hunter, and now Michael shares those traditions with his children—similar to how Firestone has been built on foundations set out by founder, Harvey Firestone.

 

#2: EXTRA MILES: Origins of Booger Bottom

 

 

Outdoor Channel star Michael Waddell has always called Booger Bottom, Georgia home. How did the area get that name? Michael reveals the history.

 

#3: EXTRA MILES: Tools of the Trade

 

 

Outdoor Channel’s Michael Waddell explains why Firestone tires are an important tool of the hunt, and why he counts on them to carry him to all his adventures.

 

#4: EXTRA MILES: New Tires

 


Outdoor Channel’s Michael Waddell shares his priorities = new tires, new wheels, and a new stereo system. #TruckStuff.

 

Want more content? Be sure to check out firestonetire.com, Firestone’s YouTube, as well as the Brotherhood Blog and Bone Collectors’ YouTube.

                                                                                        

 

best deer hunting

Best Deer Hunting Award | Bone Collector

Golden Moose Awards

Best Deer Hunting

Bone Collector

Michael, T-Bone, and Nick have established themselves as some of the few personalities that represent the modern hunting industry. From their easy-going personalities to their knowledge on hunting tactics for many species, the Bone Collector crew continues to entertain fans and hunters across the country. Year after year, The Bone Collector has received various awards that show just how widespread their influence reaches.

This year at the 2017 SHOT show the Bone Collector crew was honored to receive another Golden Moose Award. This year’s award was for “Best Deer Hunting”. The video below shows you the unbelievable hunt that won the award!

Insane 3 Yard Deer Kill! Best Deer Hunting | Bone Collector

If there has ever been a perfect spot n’ stalk situation, Nick Mundt has found it! Here’s the hunt that resulted in Bone Collector winning the Golden Moose Award for Best Deer Hunting at the 2017 Outdoor Sportsman Awards hosted by the Outdoor Channel!

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deer hunting

Nine Deer Hunting Goals You Should Consider for 2017

How to Develop Deer Hunting Goals

 

New Year’s resolutions are well under way across the country. At least that’s the idea, right? As we reflect on the prior year, it’s only natural to want to improve something for 2017. Whether it’s our health and fitness or something as specific as deer hunting, there’s always something we could do better. While the term “resolution” seems to always flop before we even see the light of February, goals tend to live on longer. For that reason, this article will discuss a few deer hunting goals you might consider for the New Year ahead of us.

 

Now you’re probably thinking how obsessed someone would have to be to actually set deer hunting goals. Isn’t the goal of hunting simply to kill a deer for one reason or another? Not necessarily. Sure, we all want to put some more venison in the freezer or hang a trophy buck on our wall. But there are many other reasons to hunt or ways to push ourselves harder in 2017 besides that. If you’re a passionate deer hunter who thinks about it throughout the year, goal-setting is a great way to achieve way more than you ever have before.

 

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Setting SMART Goals

To have any hope of really achieving these nine deer hunting goals, it should be what’s called a SMART goal. This is an acronym to help you get the most bang for your goal-setting buck. If your idea hits all of the following points, it is likely a good one to pursue. If it doesn’t, try to refine it a little until it hits the mark. This isn’t just a procedure on paper either. It’s a way to keep yourself accountable to your goals. If done correctly, they can actually help you achieve them too.

 

  • Specific – include as much detail you need to make it happen.
  • Measurable – develop a way to measure your progress to keep you on target.
  • Action-oriented – it should include some clear action to take.
  • Realistic – don’t expect miracles to happen just because you write them down.
  • Time-based – you can choose the 2017 hunting season or longer for bigger items.

 

Nine Deer Hunting Goals for 2017

We’ve compiled a list of nine different hunting goals you should consider adding to your own list. While they all have a slightly different focus, they challenge you to grow as a hunter through learning new hunting skills or sharpening old ones. Additionally, these goals are fairly general in nature to make a point. But you can use them as a springboard to create SMART goals from these topic areas. Think about more specific details, how you’re going to measure their success, whether there is a clear action you can take, how realistic it is for your area, and how long you’ll have to complete them.

 

  1.  Become a Shed Hunting Master

With shed hunting season rapidly approaching us, this is the time to make plans for it. While it’s not strictly a hunting-related activity on the surface, there’s a lot to be learned from it. For example, you can find out which bucks made it through the hunting season and much of the winter by studying their antlers. This is really useful to inform other deer hunting goals, especially if you’re after a certain buck. During this time of year, you can also wander wherever you want to look for shed antlers, which might allow you a glimpse into a secret whitetail hotspot you hadn’t noticed before. Study the terrain where you find a shed antler and follow their trails to see why they chose that particular spot. With seasonal differences, they might not be in the same area next fall. But knowing that in itself is useful for whitetail hunting too.

 

  1. Study Your Deer Herd

You don’t have to be a biologist to conduct or benefit from some simple wildlife surveys. In fact, the more you know about the deer in your area, the better equipped you will be from a hunting perspective. Similar to shed hunting, winter is a great time to run a trail camera survey on your property so you can see which deer made it through another season. All you need are a few trail cameras (one per 100 acres), some Big & J® attractant (if legal), and a little of your time. Spend about a week getting deer used to the bait, and then hang your Bushnell® trail cameras to collect data for 2 weeks or so. Scrolling through all the trail camera pictures will take a while, but we there are worse ways to spend your time.

 

  1. Planning a Hunting Trip

We typically think of these kinds of hunting trips as a “someday trip” – they will eventually happen, just not this year. The danger with this thinking is that we don’t get any younger and none of us is guaranteed another hunting season. More to the point, we often let “someday” turn into never. Whether we let laziness creep in or decide that there are many good reasons to not spend our hard-earned money on a trip like this, we often let them slip away. Not this year. Take time now to brainstorm a hunting trip you’ve never been on. Whether it’s an elk hunt across the country or a safari hunt across the world, make it happen this year.

 

  1. Get Access to More Hunting Properties

Most of us aren’t blessed with hundreds or thousands of acres of private land to hunt on. In fact, many of us depend on public land hunting each year. This year, one of your deer hunting goals should be pushing yourself outside the old familiar comfort zone and hunting somewhere new. Contact your state wildlife agency to find additional public hunting land within a few hours of you. Or maybe this is the year you finally ask a landowner if you can hunt on their property. Many farms readily accept hunting requests, simply because deer damage their crops. But to get their approval, you need to be ultra-respectful and should probably offer to help with something else in return. If you do get access, make sure you always deliver on what you say you’ll do. Having access to multiple properties, especially a mix of private and public land, is a great way to stay one step ahead of Mother Nature next fall. If the conditions aren’t right for a certain property, they might be perfect on another one. If you’re hunting a mature buck, it’s also a good way to hedge your bets by casting a wider net, if you will. Finally, hunting on a new property will teach you things that hunting on the same old property can’t. You’ll realize you don’t know everything, and there are still skills to learn.

 

  1. Improve Your Property

If you are a landowner, we realize you’ll still primarily hunt your own property before driving hours to the next spot. One of the best deer hunting goals you can do to push yourself and make it a more effective hunting property is to plant food plots or do some deer habitat improvement work this spring, summer, or fall. Luckily, this is the best time to plan all of those things from the comfort of your couch. Pull up an aerial map of your property and identify a few areas you’d like to target for planting food plots or some oak and apple trees. Once you figure out how big the area is, you can calculate how much equipment and supplies you will need.

 

 

  1. Try a New Weapon

Maybe you’ve always hunted with a rifle and that’s been your chosen hunting weapon. This year, why not try something new? Hoyt® bows are a high-quality brand you can trust to get you from the beautiful early season bow hunting conditions right through the bitter cold late season. Thompson Center® muzzleloaders will help you with the late season hunting over your new food plot. Different weapons will allow you to extend your hunting season through much of the fall instead of only having a few weeks to fill your tag. And in some cases, you can also get multiple deer with those weapons.

 

 

 

 

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  1. Be a More Strategic Hunter

We get it. It’s easy to fall into the same hunting routine. You get up in the morning and go to the same tree stand each day, following the same pattern. Within a matter of days, deer will have your activities and location patterned and you’ll likely face some boring sits in the woods. This year, make a goal of becoming more strategic about what you do to keep the deer guessing. Hang a few different Hawk® tree stands around your property (or on several properties) to switch things around. If the wind isn’t good for a particular hang-on stand, you can always use a different location where it’s in your favor. Having multiple options means you get to wait for the perfect conditions for a particular stand without feeling like you’re missing out on hunting. Not to mention, this also provides you with a much-needed scenery change once in a while.

 

  1. Hunt Harder

Along with being more strategic, sometimes you just need to work harder to get it done. Whether that means sitting in the tree stand longer throughout the day or hunting more days than the prior season, the more you’re in the woods (to a point), the better chance you have of seeing and killing a nice deer. Work harder to find new hunting spots and be willing to trudge through a swamp to get to the perfect tree stand (if the conditions are right). If you’re on public land, the effort is almost always worth it just to separate yourself from others.

 

  1. Kill a Mature Buck

You knew it had to make the list. If we’re honest with ourselves, most of us do want to put a high-scoring buck on the wall. Unfortunately, some properties and geographies are simply missing the right components to really create and hold a 180-inch whitetail. But most of us would be happy enough to take a mature buck too. If you put the other deer hunting goals above to good use, finding and killing a mature buck somewhere should be within your reach.

 

Get Busy!

Best of Bone Collector Season 8 – 2016 in Review

 

While we listed out nine ways to become a better hunter, don’t let this list stop you from trying new things. Really think about what went well in 2016 and what you would like to accomplish in 2017. Chances are there are plenty of other deer hunting goals you’d like to finish this year. Go crush them and make 2017 the year of becoming a better hunter!

bow sight

NEW: Bone Collector Bow Sights Coming Soon!

Bone Collector Bow Sights Coming Soon!

Coming soon, the all new line of Bone Collector Bow Sights, built by Dead Ringer, designed by The Brotherhood!

The Bone Collectors, Michael, Nick, and T-Bone, collectively have hours, days, weeks, months, and years’ worth of bow hunting and archery experience. Collectively they hold a vast amount of experience…valuable experience, as to what works, what doesn’t, what is all hype, and what truly is a game changer for the industry.

What can all this knowledge lead to? A brand new line of Bone Collector bow sights. Dead Ringer, understanding the opportunity to hone in on the knowledge, approached the Bone Collectors to help design their all new line of bow sights. The product of this is a well-designed, feature driven, and die hard bow hunter based bow sight!

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Travis Turner, a.k.a T-Bone, an ASA and APA certified professional archer, 1991 ASA 3-D World Champion, and 4-time Georgia State Champion, said this about the new bow sight:

“From my years of tournament archery background, to all of our years of bleeding bow hunting, we are thrilled to work with Dead Ringer on the designs of their new line of bow sights. From solid and simple, to advanced and technical, they have you covered with the features you need to be VERY DEPENDABLE AND SUCCESSFUL on every single archery and bow hunting adventure” –T-Bone
The New Bone Collector bow sight line is coming soon, follow both the Bone Collectors and Dead Ringer to stay updated on the reveal!

 

 

Still Hunting

10 Still Hunting Tips for Deer Hunting Winter Bucks

Winter Deer Hunting | The Art of Still Hunting Bucks

 

The tree stand is by far the method of choice for deer hunting. But late season whitetail hunting requires you to leave the stand and take the hunt to the bucks and make something happen. This time of year, it is often your only chance. Tired, pressured bucks are confined to small pockets of cover near food to minimize their exposure. Sitting in stand winter deer hunting may have you there for days before you even see a deer. Leave the stand and go searching for that buck with still hunting.

 

Still hunting deer is not complex. Two rules apply. The first is at the very core of the still hunting definition.

 

Still Hunting is moving slowly while winter deer hunting, sticking to the shadows and concentrating on keeping footfall sound nonexistent. It also means minimizing the chances deer will pick you out and maximizes the chances you will slip in undetected and within range of unsuspecting deer. Still hunting also gives you the edge if you do it right. Detecting even the slightest movement like an ear flicker or tail move is possible before a deer spots you. This type of deer hunting is a mental game. You can only hunt slow, taking one step and looking, for so long. An option to keep your head in it is to pick up the pace when in areas of little deer sign. Do not, however, become complacent because the moment you let your guard down is when you will move too fast, too suddenly and spook your chances away.

 

The second rule of still hunting deer is to move into the wind. Going slow is meaningless if your scent is blowing right into a deer’s nose. Use the wind and ScentLok® clothing to remain undetectable in the case of variable winds or changing wind directions. Still hunting perpendicular to the wind direction is also a good option as it provides an approach route to bedded deer. Mastering these two rules makes for a good still hunter, but a great still hunter takes it to another level.

 

Pick the Right Day for Deer Hunting in Winter

 

Late season whitetail hunting is tough due to the winter weather conditions, though, bad conditions like rain and snow offer the best still hunting days. Poor weather is to your advantage. Windy conditions allow you to stay concealed, reducing a deer’s ability to smell you and disguising your steps in the woods. In addition, wet weather makes it easy to sneak around. Deer hunting in snowy weather muffles sticks breaking under your feet and in addition gives you deer sign to follow while still hunting for deer. It can be hard after a long deer hunting season, but less than ideal weather is the right day to plan a still hunt for late season bucks.

 

 

Planning a Day Long Still Hunt for Late Season Deer

Still hunting is a type of deer hunting that becomes an art for those that take it seriously. It takes some forethought to be done right and to be successful at it. Many hunters think they are still hunting when they are slowly walking in and out of their tree stand locations, but it is much more than that. Late season deer hunting with this tactic takes a whole day to do it right.

 

With late season bucks, food sources are going to be the key. Plan a still hunt that parallels feeding areas in the early morning. Deer will likely be actively feeding at first light so plan to be hunting at sun up. Once you have worked timber edges, creek bottoms and terrain features near these feeding locations, still hunt your way towards bedding areas as it gets later in the morning.

 

Often bucks in winter will stick close to food sources near bedding areas. Use you Bushnell® binoculars with every step to glass for bedded bucks that have yet to rise and feed. Ideally, you want to work higher ground to give you the vantage onto potential bedded bucks. Sneak along ridgelines or use other terrain features to stay hidden as you approach areas where bucks may be bedded. Keep the wind in your face and take extra time observing to try to spot deer before they spot you. Do not be afraid to get aggressive while winter whitetail hunting and hunt through thick cover. Sure you may spook a few deer but it could also get you close enough to squeeze off a shot with your T/C muzzleloader.

 

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After you have still hunted a few bedding locations, work your way back to travel corridors leading to afternoon feeding areas. Staging zones are good still hunting areas, and good late season deer hunting areas in general, as the sun goes down. Bucks will linger in these spots before traveling out to an open oak flat or a cut field to feed. It makes for a perfect late season muzzleloader hunting spot to sit and end the day still hunting.

 

10 Still Hunting Tips

 

These 10 still hunting tips for deer hunting winter bucks will help you master the art of still hunting as you try one last shot at harvesting a buck this season.

 

  1. If there is snow, use it to your benefit. Still hunt on fresh deer tracks not in hopes of tailing a buck but that those tracks take you to core areas where deer are bedding and feeding. Also, learn to judge deer tracks. Mature bucks leave a noticeably larger track that is more rounded in the front. Choose to chase these first.
  2. Successfully still hunting deer takes all your attention, leaving little time to be concerned about following a particular path. Allow and expect yourself to get lost winter whitetail hunting. Mark your Chevy with your GPS and put all your effort into the hunt.
  3. Bad weather is desired when planning a still hunt. Rain and snow help to hide your scent and movements while sneaking through the woods. Windy days, not particularly desired when stand hunting, are also good late season deer hunting days to conceal your presence. Poor weather seems to increase deer activity extensively as well.
  4. Carry your rifle, muzzleloader or perhaps even you bow in a shoot ready position. Shots when still hunting deer are quick and any delay, such as having to pull your slung weapon off your shoulder will be the difference in getting a shot or not.
  5. Still hunt in cover. It is hard to stay concealed while still hunting an open field. Plus, still hunting in cover keeps you concealed from deer when you are not moving. Stopping and looking next to a tree keeps you out of sight from any deer and also gives you a quick shooting rest if needed. Realtree AP® Snow Camo blends perfectly against a snowy forest for extra concealment.
  6. Reduce any quick movements. Deer are always on the lookout for any sudden movements. For instance, pulling up your binoculars fast after you stop to glass an area can easily give you away. Bring them up slowly and keep any other movements to a minimum.
  7. Strive for perfection when still hunting deer but understand it is not achievable. Walking on air is not possible so you will certainly make noise at some point. It is ok. When you do, however, spend an extra few minutes remaining still. Let the noise fade away and any deer nearby will think nothing of it. A good winter deer hunting tip is to carry a few deer calls and blow a grunt if you are making noise. A buck may think it is another buck and not a predator.
  8. Hunt light and leave the cold weather clothing and large pack at the house. Since you will be moving, even though it will be slow, you will stay warm enough to dress light. Insulated clothing only makes you sweat and increases the chances you will get cold. Since there is no need for extra clothes while still hunting, a large hunting pack is not necessary either. Carry only a few essential items (knife, tags, extra shells, small survival kit, etc.) in what you are wearing. If you have to bring more, consider a small shoulder pack or fanny pack instead of a bulky backpack.
  9. Prepare for tough shots. Deer hunting in winter via the still hunting tactic makes for some tough shots. Most likely the shots you get will be freehand and best case scenario there will be a tree to rest on. Shots at deer come fast and there is no time to kneel or get out your shooting stick for a solid rest. Practice these shots in the offseason to prepare for still hunting.
  10. The last still hunting tip is to stay alert. Moving as slow as it takes to still hunt successfully can produce some pretty amazing experiences in the woods. In your next step, you may be only yards from a bedded buck or even have a deer walk right into your path. Staying alert late season deer hunting puts you in the driver’s seat to be able to sneak right into a buck’s backyard.

 

Why You Should Still Hunt for Late Season Bucks

After months of pressure, big bucks are slow to return to “normal” patterns. Spending time isolated in one spot in hopes of a buck coming to you is almost wasted time in winter. Of course hunting out of stand where you have high confidence of a buck walking past from diligent scouting throughout the year is something to not pass up. Yet, this is a rare occurrence for most people deer hunting in winter. Still hunting is the next best tactic. Use that same scouting to seek out bucks that would otherwise disappear until next year.

 

Still hunting deer takes a certain kind of hunter. It is mental toughness matched with day long stamina but has huge rewards when it is done with precision. This artful deer hunting approach is one more effective tactic to add and deploy with your winter whitetail hunting strategies.

 

Late Season Deer Hunting

Late Season Deer Hunting | How To Handle The Warm Weather

Late Season Deer Hunting During Warm Weather

It is astonishing to think about just how much the weather can impact our hunting experience.  It really doesn’t matter what game species you are after; squirrels, rabbits, waterfowl, or white-tailed deer. Any and all wildlife species tend to behave in a certain way depending upon weather patterns.  This why as hunters, we key in on specific weather patterns, such as cold fronts and high-pressure systems, as indicators of potential wildlife activity. This especially holds true for late season deer hunting! In other words, if you are chasing a mature buck all season long and you notice the weatherman suggests there is a significant cold front moving through, you might want to drop everything and bust your butt to the woods!
 

Late Season Deer Hunting | Nick’s Iowa Muzzleloader Kill
 

Late Season Deer Hunting Basics

As hunters we tend to develop our own hunting strategy based on the time of year, and what the deer behavior should be during that time.  If it is the early season and deer are still on their early season pattern, you will likely be hunting early season food sources. This also means keying in on those food sources during the cooler parts of the day (morning and evening) when the deer are most active.  Likewise, if it is sweet November and the rut is in full swing, you will likely be keeping an eye on any potential cold front that might be making its way into the area, because anytime a strong cold front lines up during the rut it just might be time to let the Hoyt eat.

So just like other times of the year, late season deer hunting is known for several factors, which can honestly make it one of the best times to be in a tree or a Redneck Blind.  For many deer hunters pondering the thought of late season deer hunting, the first thing that comes to mind is, of course, cold temperatures and the possibility of wintertime precipitation.  The second thing that probably comes to mind in the sight of big groups of deer feeding in a large cut corn field or turnip plot.  The third thing that likely comes to mind is the sound and sight of a loud crack and cloud of smoke that erupts out of the business end of your Thompson Center Muzzleloader. You have to admit, just thinking about late season deer hunting can certainly paint a vivid picture in your mind!

No matter if you are muzzleloader hunting, archery hunting, or packing your centerfire rifle, the late season provides deer hunters with an automatic upper hand, an ace in the hole if you will.

Do you happen to know exactly what that is?

The Bitter Cold

It is only fitting that the one major factor that we as a hunter cannot control (i.e. the weather) is the number one reason why whitetail hunters tend to drop their #1 hit-list buck. The cold temperature that accompanies the late season is the engine that drives most of the deer movement occurring in December and January.  No matter how extreme the weather conditions may be, a white-tailed deer’s drive to survive will have them out in search of food.  This fact alone provides deer hunters with an unbelievable advantage when it comes locating and patterning whitetails during the late season.

Late season deer hunting should be something that every deer hunter should have on their calendar each and every year. It is all too often regarded as a bleak and lifeless last chance opportunity at killing a buck, when in fact, it is perhaps the best.  Again, the primary driver of late season productivity is typically the one factor that we as hunters cannot control…weather.  As much as all of us would love to have control over the weather, the unfortunate truth is that we do not.  So what happens when your best laid late season deer hunting plans become demolished by a sudden late season warm spell?

Keep Cool When It Warms Up

Wintertime weather patterns can be somewhat variable just by default, however, occasionally we can see “outside factors” come into play. These can have a drastic effect on the late season weather patterns.  A great example of this would be last winter when El Nino was large and in charge.  Now, El Nino events (depending on the strength and severity) can be variable themselves.  Last year’s El Nino was one where instead of a rather cool/cold winter with some warm spells we saw a rather warm winter with an occasional cold spell.  To say the late-season of 2015 was a challenge was an understatement.

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Luckily for us, the winter of 2016 is shaping up to be a little bit more like the winter we would expect to see, with cold temperatures dipping down into the lower latitudes from time to time, bringing with it some wintertime precipitation.  So, things are looking good so far!  That being said, if there is one thing that you can be sure of, it is that at some point during the late season there will likely be a warm spell that can often shift deer movement and behavior into a different gear.

The word “warm up” is really a relative term.  There doesn’t have to be a significant change in temperature to fall into the category of a “warm up”.  Now, going from 5 degrees to 10 degrees is technically classified as a warm up, however, it is likely, not significant enough to really change the behavior of the deer you are chasing.  Go from 20 degrees to 40 degrees, and you are starting to get to a threshold where you could expect to see a change in the patterns and behavior of the deer you are hunting.  If you find an upcoming week that suggests this situation, you want to bet on a definite change in the amount of deer feeding during daylight. This may be a gradual decrease in activity or an abrupt change in usage.  Typically the level change is relatively to the contrast in temperatures.  If you see a 10 degree difference, the change will likely be minimal, but the higher you go up the gradient the more distinct the change can be.

The reason for the change is simple, with warmer temperatures white-tailed Whitetails have to feed during the day when extremely cold temperatures are present. The hours they normally feed (during the night) are simply too cold, meaning they have to feed a bit in daylight when temps are still warm.  However, with warm temperatures whitetails can feed during the night, meaning a safer option rather than hit the trail in search of forage during daylight.  As a result, the movement seems to decrease.  If you find yourself in this situation, just remember to keep your cool!  Just because their patterns have momentarily changed, doesn’t mean that all is lost.  Desperate times can call for desperate measures, however going in after him could potentially bump him off for the rest of the season. Patience, in this case, is the best tactic. Waiting and being patient for colder temperatures to return keeps him on the property and keeps your chance at him in high odds.

Does Warm Weather Mean a Late Season Lull?

Believe it or not, deer behavior during a winter time warm period pays a striking resemblance to the days of the October lull… but not always.  During the October lull, deer movement is often minimal.  This usually is the result of white-tails transitioning from one green food sources to other mast crops like white oak acorns.  This also tends to be about the time that the deer social dynamics are changing as well.  All of these factors result in what appears to be a reduced level of movement.  In some aspects, that is exactly what the lull period is, a period of reduced movement but with that being said, deer are still moving but they are staying confined to a much smaller area.

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The same can be said for deer movement during a winter warm period.  Typically, the lack of drive to feed will keep white-tails in an “energy saving” mode.  This will have them spending most of their time bedded in thick thermal cover in an attempt to conserve body heat and energy…not to mention to simply stay away from hunting pressure.  They will still need to feed on a regular basis but rather than seeking out high energy foods (like corn) they will tend to key in on native browse that is easily accessible and close to the bedding areas.

The Exception: Warm Doesn’t Always Mean Lull

There are some instances where extended frigid temperatures could cause a temporary “warm fronts” to mean more deer movement. Long awaited rays of sunshine on south slopes could stir something deep inside mature bucks and get them back on their feet. When temperatures drop into well below freezing for long periods of time, then suddenly break to warm, it acts just as a cold front does in October. A sudden increase in deer movement can be seen on warm days following long periods of cold. But if they stick around, deer movement will decrease!

Warm…Cold…Does it Really Matter?

Whatever the case may be…warm or cold…always remember that a little bit of rest from the hunting pressure isn’t a bad thing.  On the other hand, if you are looking at a warming trend lasting four to five days or longer, then it is a likely time to shift into a different gear in terms of your hunting strategy. Conversely, the same can be said for a prolonged cold streak with a sudden warm front.

Also remember perhaps the biggest tip of this whole blog…your Bushnell trail cameras are still the most important tool you can use. Whether it is using the cameras on time-lapse mode to watch a food source, or (if legal) placing them over a pile of Big & J Deadly Dust, intel on a buck’s whereabouts and pattern is critical. Be sure you are up to date on the latest trail camera tips for the late season, and any information can help you determine when and where to hunt, regardless of the weather.

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As late season deer hunting progresses into its final weeks and days in many states pay attention to the weather! If you happen to notice the temperatures beginning to climb, remember that all is not lost.  Keep your cool, let your trial cameras to the work for you, try and notice patterns, and remember back to your October deer hunting tactics. With patients and the right knowledge, you can still find yourself eye level with a big ole’ late season buck this winter!

Hunting call-shy turkeys | Bone Collector

Turkey Hunting | Challenges and Techniques for Hunting Call-Shy Gobblers

The Best Turkey Hunting Calls and Tips Throughout the Season

Whether you primarily hunt heavily pressured public lands or you’re doing some late season turkey hunting, you’ve no doubt encountered a few call-shy gobblers at some point. Sometimes they don’t respond to calling at all, and sometimes they just hang up outside of gun or bow range. It’s unbelievably frustrating to see them strutting in circles and not be able to take a shot at them. But you’re bound to run into the situation eventually. Why is hunting call-shy turkeys so difficult?

Lone Star Thunder Chickens | Bone Collector Season 4, Episode 18 
(Video) – Michael is invited to hunt both Texas and Louisiana for springtime turkey hunting. Michael and Mason Waddell are hunting some hard headed, stubborn birds, it takes a lot to be successful in these situations. 

As we mentioned, wild turkeys get pretty wary towards the end of the season. After they’ve been called to and shot at by hunters in every field opening, woodlot, and food plot, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they would get a little tight-beaked and distrustful. But there are other natural reasons why gobblers get call-shy throughout the spring months. It could be that a subordinate bird had his feathery butt handed to him by a mature tom a couple times, and he’s nervous for another confrontation. Or perhaps the peak breeding period is over, which means there’s no urgent reason to respond to calls. Maybe the bird you’re trying to hunt just has a weird personality and is naturally a very quiet and solitary creature. Who knows? Luckily, there are several techniques you can use to hunt call-shy turkeys more effectively this spring. 

Strategies for Hunting Call-Shy Turkeys

One of the best ways to get after a quiet and nervous gobbler is to use a deer hunting tactic. Simply sit still and wait for the bird to come to you. That’s obviously much easier said than done, but it’s not hard in theory. Spend some time getting to know your hunting property and the birds that live on it by doing some pre-season turkey scouting. Use trail cameras to gather critical details while you can’t physically be out in the woods watching and observing in-person. Learn where the birds primarily roost and where they feed, and set up in between those two areas. Try to find a place that’s closer to the feeding area than to the roosting trees, so that you can sneak in and get set up without a reasonable fear of spooking the turkeys. Driving your Bad Boy Ambush iS side-by-side to your hunting location, and switching to the electric drivetrain to sneak even closer is a proven tactic time and time again. Also, if there is a natural bottleneck or funnel location between these two areas, that is exactly where you need to be. Use vegetation and topography to your advantage by sneaking behind such structure to within striking distance.

Strategies for Hunting Call-Shy Turkeys | Bone Collector

If you’re hunting call-shy turkeys, it only makes sense that you should keep your calling to a minimum, right? Well, yes and no. There are situations when you should hold your tongue, so to speak, and times when it still makes sense to get loud and aggressive. The biggest thing to remember is to keep your turkey calling as realistic as you can for the time period you’re turkey hunting. Use wild turkeys you observe during scouting efforts as the reference point for how much you should be calling. If hens are very vocal and toms are gobbling right back to them, it would still be to your benefit to make some noise. But if it’s been days since you heard any turkey vocalization in the woods, you should probably follow their lead.

When the turkeys have gone silent, it either indicates it is too early in the season, too late, or gobblers are content following hens. In these situations, it’s best to replicate the natural patterns. If you start hammering your best turkey box call, you’ll definitely stand out and wise gobblers may avoid your location. Instead, call sparingly even if a gobbler responds. Once he knows you’re there, let him sweat it out by giving him the silent treatment. Using this approach is brilliant because you can attract subordinate toms that won’t be as fearful to inspect a silent hen, as well as dominant gobblers who think they may be losing an opportunity at a hen.

On the other hand, if the birds are still making a racket, calling aggressively may be the golden ticket. Grab a stick to scratch the leaves two to three times. Use your baseball cap to sound like wing beats. Pull out one of the best turkey calls on the market, the Knight and Hale 3-in-1 switchblade box call to throw several sounds their way. If you’re feeling extra aggressive, try mouth calling turkeys at the same time with a Loud Mouth series diaphragm call, which simulates at least two different hens. Using a box call and mouth call is a sweet-sounding combination that may be exactly the persuasion that an old gobbler needs to hear. When you’re calling, try to put some emotion into your efforts. Study and listen to natural wild turkey call sounds to hear the small inflections and try to replicate them. If you can get a mature tom to gobble back at you, make your calls sound excited by calling back faster and using a higher pitch. That should get a call-shy gobbler interested and convinced that you’re a real hen.

Switchblade 3-in-1 Turkey Box Call | Bone Collector

Even if you convince a tom to answer and he enters the field you’re sitting on, there’s no guarantee that he won’t just hang up out of range and drive you insane for an hour. You’re hunting call-shy turkeys, remember? One way to stack the odds in your favor is to use ultra-realistic turkey decoys like the Hard Core Widow Maker. To add even more realism, tie some clear fishing line to each end of the decoy so you can manually spin it in the direction you wish and in response to an in-sight gobbler. When he sees a hen on the other end of the field calling to him and moving in response, he’ll be much more likely to commit.

If these approaches and the best turkey calls you can muster also fail, you may need to resort to some unconventional turkey hunting tactics. And when we say unconventional, we mean the type of things that if you told a buddy, they would look at you and wait for the punchline. First, scheduling your field time during a light rain shower can be a great method for hunting call-shy turkeys. Why on earth would you consider doing that? Turkeys seem to prefer open fields during and immediately after rain events, where they can preen their feathers. You’ll be waiting for them when they arrive, while very few other hunters will even think about leaving home. If a turkey still hangs up out of range, you may need to get mobile. Most turkey hunters would laugh at this thought. But belly crawling behind a turkey decoy toward a gobbler is sometimes surprisingly effective. They don’t expect it because nobody really does it. That’s your ace in the hole.

As you can see, hunting call-shy turkeys has its challenges and it can be a maddening experience. But it can also be an extremely worthwhile one. If you’re able to out-fox a wary, mature gobbler during such challenging conditions, you can pat yourself on the back and know that you accomplished what very few others can do. Plus it’s just fun to tell your buddies that doubted you about the longbeard in the back of your Chevy Silverado.

After Deer Hunting Season Ends | Bone Collector

Steps You Can Take to Become a Better Hunter

What to Do After Deer Hunting Season Ends

It’s finally that time of year again when deer hunters across the nation leave the woods and fields, start weeping, and sadly retreat to their couches; especially if they weren’t lucky enough to fill their bow tag. What time of the year are we talking about? The end of deer hunting seasons, of course. Sure, it might mean more time for football and catching up on projects around the house, but that doesn’t mean we’re happy to see it go.

If this description fits you, you’re in luck. Just because it’s the end of deer season doesn’t mean you have to stop being a hunter and learning about your prey. There’s lots you can still do to celebrate your favorite obsession, even if you’re not perched high in a tree stand with your bow in hand. Let’s take a look at a few things you can (and should) be doing.

First, take time right after your deer hunting season ends to do some post-season scouting. Most people might not think of doing this after the season, because it wouldn’t improve their chance at getting a deer this year. But they’re truly missing out and could be hurting their chances of doing so next year. Simply lace up the boots and walk around your hunting property, following deer trails wherever they lead. You’ll often find new food sources, bedding areas, or great stand locations that you can use next season. Take good notes and pictures so you can develop a solid hunting plan next summer and fall. You’ll learn a tremendous amount about deer activity and be that much more likely to fill your tag next year.

Next, take advantage of your newly-found free time by cleaning and organizing your hunting gear. There’s no better time to do this because it’s all already spread out in your living room or garage anyway. And unless you’re a fan of throwing money away, clean gear will last a lot longer than gear covered in mud and blood. After cleaning each item, assess your hunting gear organizational system. If it consists of throwing it all in a pile in the closet, you need to rethink your approach. Buy some cheap holiday totes from the store and organize your gear by deer hunting season or species. Larger items like your Scentlok Early, Mid, and Late Season Systems or G5 Outdoor Bow Accessories should go in first. Clearly label each plastic box so you don’t have to go digging through the pile next fall. Include smaller items, like your Knight & Hale Da’ Bone Deer Grunt Call call, in smaller boxes so they don’t get lost within the larger tote.

Deer Hunting Call | Bone CollectorFollowing that organizational tip, now is a good time to organize and store all those Bushnell Trail Camera pictures you got throughout the last year. If you’re like most hunters, just keep downloading the pictures to the computer during the season as you most likely don’t have time to organize them at that point. But after the season closes, you’ve got all sorts of time to delete the garbage pictures and save any of the keepers. Set up folders on the computer to organize the pictures by location and by weeks. This might seem a little obsessive, but it sure makes going back to them the next year easier. You can quickly see when the deer activity peaked and how bucks changed their patterns at each hunting location, which could be your secret weapon next year.

When deer hunting season’s over, don’t just hang up the Hoyt Bow either. You’ll get rusty and your form will slip over the winter without practice. Now is a great time to join a local archery league or club. They often get together to shoot throughout the winter months, which helps pass the time between seasons. Having some peer pressure to keep shooting well will push you further as an archer and may even slightly simulate the adrenaline rush you get in a tree stand. If you don’t have access to an official league, simply get a buddy to join in on the effort and meet every week or biweekly to shoot some practice arrows. There are plenty of archery games you can try out too to keep the challenges fun.

As you can see, there are plenty of things you can do to stay active and continue your deer hunting passion throughout the year. Don’t just surrender to the couch, however tempting it may be.

The Rut | Bone Collector

Deer Hunting | Phases of The Rut

The True Rut and Every Phase and Aspect It Entails

Without question it alone is every deer hunter’s chance, young or old, bow or gun, traditional or compound, committed or not, when the “rut” is in full swing anyone is likely to have a big buck in their sites!

But the term “rut” is perhaps the loosest and at times most incorrect term used in association with deer hunting.

What It Is and How It Starts

Contrary to McDonald’s morning coffee deer hunting tales and beliefs, the rut is initialized by the photoperiod not moon, weather, or temperatures. Whitetails, especially northern whitetails, have a narrow breeding cycle to improve fawn health and recruitment. Basically if you get bred in November you will drop your fawn in spring with plenty of food. To stay consistent and time it perfectly whitetails need clocks or the closest thing to it which is day length. The intense breeding and lockdown phase is considered by hunters and biologists alike as the rut. But there is several aspects and stages within and attached to the term.

Pre-Rut

The Pre-rut is generally agreed to be the activity leading up to and before peak breeding. This is a long phase generally starting once summer patterns stop, velvet is shed, bachelor group’s break, and bucks switch their core home range. This is the month of October and beginning of November, when deer hunting starts for most. Acorns are raining in the forest giving much needed loads of carbohydrates. Bucks will make the most scrapes and rubs during this time, all in anticipation for peak breeding. Some but not many (usually not exceeding 10%) of does will come into estrus during this period. During this period bucks will begin testing and establishing dominance by sparring, although these are not as intense as what occurs during the peak. As this phase ends buck home ranges once again start to change. Testosterone levels near the peak. Causing unruly and restless bucks to expand their home range.

Deer Hunting | Bone Collector

Seeking and Chasing

These two periods are often misinterpreted as peak breeding and as the same time period. Usually occurring in early November just before peak breeding bucks will begin frantic searching of the first hot doe. They will check all areas of their home range scent checking any and all does encountered not yet chasing them. The chase phase ensues slightly within and after the seek phase. Does are just about to come into estrous leading bucks to chase any encountered. This often leads to chains of bucks following just one doe that’s about to come into heat. This also brings very intense fighting. This is when big bucks get killed. This usually occurs during the second week of November for northern states and is happening or about to end when gun season arrives. This is why it is most often confused as the “rut” or peak breeding among deer hunting fanatics. This phase ends as the does begin to come into estrous, and peak breeding occurs, also known as the lockdown phase.

The Peak

This is the rut. Photoperiods have buck testosterone levels at the max, doe’s biological clocks have turned on the ultimately irresistible and potential deadly estrous. When this happens peak breeding occurs. Instead of frantically running and dodging bucks during the previous phases a doe will accept a buck and the pair will be on lockdown for a number of days. Most does have been shown to be in for 24-72 hours. During this time a buck will not move off the doe and will breed her several times. The does will usually not move resulting in daytime activity appearing to suddenly stop. In terms of deer hunting this means very unsuccessful hunts directly after what seemed to be peak activity, unless they find themselves inside a core area, quality bedding area, or a sanctuary.

Post rut

When the majority of does are out, bucks immediately switch back to survival mode. For many hunters the long wait of gun season and the rut is over. Adventurous bucks once thought dead or gone return to their home ranges desperately seeking thermal cover and late season food sources. Once again bucks become pattern able on these sources of food such as leftover acorns, fall food plots, cut or standing corn, and standing beans. Hunters often miss this opportunity to harvest a buck on the last week of the season. Peak breeding is extremely hard on bucks especially when there are a number of does over bucks (high doe favored sex ratio). This can be disastrous on bucks and even the local herd and should always be fended off with practices in habitat management and herd management.

 

The Second Rut

Often called the second rut, late or un-bred does (often associated with areas of doe favored sex ratios) come into estrous reactivating a buck’s reproductive alarm clock. This again excites hunters as daytime activity picks up and breeding is seen. This occurs during late November and December.

An extended second rut or third rut to some is usually misunderstood or completely missed by hunters. This breeding occurs during December and even later in January, however the does being bred are not late…they are fawns. If early born or very healthy fawns reach a threshold of weight before or around January then they are able to breed. This weight is somewhere between 60-70 pounds according to whitetail biologists. Hunters usually see great success with this type of breeding as only 6 month old fawns, virtually clueless to hunters and hunter scents, are frantically chased through the area. While these fawns might not make as a successful parent in a tragic first year, the lessons learned will improve reproductive success in later years.

Understanding what the rut actually is and what it’s caused by instead of believing in folklore over McGriddles and coffee can be beneficial for you as a hunter. Every phase presents a different situation and scenario for you to capitalize on. This knowledge makes a week or two of luck of harvest into months of reliable activity and chances to score big. The rut is only a small portion of what you should ultimately be looking forward to as deer hunting season nears.

Deer Hunting Tips | Bone Collector

Deer Hunting Tips | Minimal Disturbance Entries and Exits to Deer Hunting Stand

Getting in and out of your deer hunting stand undetected using minimal disturbance routes

It may be summer but 90% of you Bone Collector fans know exactly where you’ll be opening morning once deer season comes around. You know every specific deer hunting detail down to the time you will set the alarm to which stand you will be sitting in. What you don’t know is where the deer will be when you’re walking to that stand and out of it. Getting in and out of your stand undetected can be key to deer hunting success. But work in the off season installing minimal disturbance routes can get you there unseen and unheard.

Walking to your stand in the morning or night after a hunt in the dark is hard enough, trying to be quiet while doing it…impossible. Busting the deer out of the food plot you are hunting, or the oak flat can be detrimental to harvesting that mature buck. This year install some minimal disturbance routes for entries and exits to your favorite stand locations All it take is a chainsaw, weed eater, leaf blower, and a little planning.

Ameristep Blinds | Bone Collector

First, select the best route in relation to wind, bedding areas, thermals, and where you think the deer will be during that time of day. Second, select a path weaving around or through objects like creeks, trees, and thick brush. If needed take a chainsaw to knock down any saplings that need it. Then take the weed eater to clean up any small brush, dead grass, and weeds. Finally take a leaf blower, clearing out everything from leaves to sticks, leaving a dirt strip 2-3 feet wide. If you’re stuck in the open as such in big Ag country, try using plot screens like Egyptian wheat to block the deer’s visual of your route.

This year you won’t be busting deer after deer walking to your stand. This deer hunting tip can get you in and out of your stand using minimal disturbance routes.