We’ve been working hard these past few months coming up with an ALL-NEW waterfowl decal design! As you know, waterfowl hunters are some of the proudest hunters out there, and we wanted you to be PROUD to represent your favorite college teams.
A way of life
For us, waterfowl hunting isn’t something that’s done every now and then, or when it’s “convenient.” It is our life.
Just ask Pro Staffer Brady Burks. Brady is someone who’s completely dedicated to the sport of waterfowl hunting. Now, he’s even taking a camera with him on his adventures, so he can share it with the world.
— Brady R Burks (@bburks66) February 27, 2015
Whether it’s waterfowl hunting, or another hobby. We encourage you to find it. Do it to the best of your ability and NEVER apologize for you God given right to hunt.
With hunting season dwindling down, now’s the time to replenish all of our outdoor needs. Stores are constantly throwing low prices at us consumers, and it’s often hard to walk away from a good deal!
Well, at CollegiateCamo, we have a large variety of items to help you get geared up & support your favorite school. From the Alabama Crimson Tide to Virginia Tech Hokies, we’ve got you covered. If you’re anything like me, you certainly love heading to your local sporting goods store or banquet & seeing what’s on sale. (It even sometimes pays to take that special someone with you to0 (hint, hint).
I, myself, need to get a custom antler decal made up from a buck I killed several years ago that way I can have always have him while I’m riding around town.
One thing I told myself in this season was that I wanted to give back to a conservation group that I highly respected. While this wasn’t “The Decision” by LeBron James, it was one that I wanted to spend a lot of time researching.
I decided to join the National Wild Turkey Federation mainly because turkey hunting has always been my No. 1 passion! From what I have observed so far, the NWTF is highly respected among outdoorsmen and women, and that’s something I really wanted to be a part of.
I have tickets to a banquet Feb. 28, and I’m pretty excited to see what’s in store. Maybe, I’ll even have some CollegiateCamo stuff to hand out too!
If you haven’t yet, I urge you to take a look at the various conservation groups out there. Do some research and join one. They really don’t cost an arm & a leg. They definitely go to a good cause.
My time between now and April 20 is going to be spent preparing for turkey season here in Ohio. In fact, I actually pulled out my Zink Calls mouth call last week and did a little bit of yelping! My wife wasn’t too happy since I decided to do it while she was finishing up some work on the computer, but I was happy nonetheless.
If you get a chance, check out all of the various products CollegiateCamo has to offer. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Since today is Dec. 31 & the last day of 2014, I thought I would compile what I felt were the top 5 outdoor articles from various publications in 2014. They range from nation-wide distributed magazines to blogs.
These stories all have one thing in common, though. They are a great representation of the outdoors and what it stands for.
Check out the articles below. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Have a Happy New Year!
1. Field & Stream: Welcome to Deer Camp- Rick Bass wrote an exceptional piece on what deer camp is all about. I did something similar in November. It really resonated with me because there’s just something about deer camp traditions. They really never do go away. It’s always a group of friends & family that get together and have one heck of a time.
2. WiredToHunt: The 7 Greatest Dangers of Trail Cameras- Mark Kenyon of WiredToHunt.com has really written some great articles this year. I resonated with this article because trail cameras are some of the most useful tools a modern day hunter can use. On the flip side, they can be deadly in the sense of hunting religiously by what the camera(s) are showing or not showing.
3. Realtree.com: 4-Step Deer Butchering: The Path to Amazing Venison- Will Brantley did a great job writing about the path to making great venison. He really showed from start to finish the entire process (and let me tell you it sure is a process). I consider myself a connoisseur of venison, and this article definitely helped me out this year.
4. Realtree.com: 10 Mistakes Adults Make When Hunting with Kids- Stephanie Mallory hit the nail on the head with this article about hunting with kids. While I have no kids of my own yet, I can certainly relate to this article. When it comes to kids and the outdoors, the bottom line is to have fun. If it’s not fun, they won’t do it. That’s something I will make sure I do when I have my own kids.
5. WiredToHunt.com: 4 Tips On What To Do When The Rut Is NOT Rocking- Again, Mark Kenyon has a great article that I was able to get some use out of. The rut for me this year really wasn’t rocking, and I needed something to keep me going. Mark’s tips helped me out because it showed that I wasn’t the only person who was experiencing this. While I know deer harvest numbers across the country were down, it was still hard for me. This article made it a little more bearable each day.
That’s it! These are 5 of some of the best written articles I’ve come across this year. I’m sure 2015 will be filled with a lot more that help hunters just like me each and every day.
Did I miss an article that resonated with you? Share it in the comments!
Deer camp is an annual tradition I’ve been a part of since I can hardly remember. Mark Kenyon over at Wired to Hunt shared his great memories of deer camp and why it’s so important to him. I thought I would do something similar.
No, deer camp isn’t the same as what I’m usually doing during Ohio’s archery season. It’s really about comradery between friends & family that’s existed for years. Sure, killing a deer is important, but deer camp is about much more than that. We enjoy a fire, shooting the bull and talking about pretty much anything and everything. Nothing is really off limits during deer camp.
What we don’t do is worry so much about making sure we kill the biggest buck on farm. I can honestly say that during gun season, I’m more worried about just spending time with family and friends. If I happen to kill a deer, that’s great. If not, I’ll live.
You see, each year, I sit down and make up my annual checklist for what to bring to deer camp. It usually consists of the essentials (hunting equipment, clothes, toothbrush, cookies, and “beverages”). That really marks the start for me since I have it already written out. Ohio’s season opens Dec. 1, and I’ve had the list made out for about three days now. It helps me start to get into the “deer camp mentality” while prepping my list.
After packing up the truck and heading to deer camp, the fun begins. We laugh, reminisce and talk about what our plans are for opening day. They usually consist of sitting for the first few hours, then moving around a little bit. After lunch, we form a game plan for the evening sit. Not to brag, but usually by the evening sit, we’ve got a few deer hanging already!
The unfortunate part this year is, I only have one vacation day to spare. Everyone else is taking the first three days off, while I can only take the first day off. Obviously I have the weekend, but I’ll certainly miss being out there for Tuesday and Wednesday.
While I know my time this season is limited, I’m going to make the best of it. I’ll still have plenty of fun just that day being with family and friends. If I happen to get an opportunity, I’m going to make the best of it. If not, I’ll still have plenty of memories for years to come.
Ahh, sweet November is finally upon us. If you’re a die-hard bowhunter like I am, you know what that means. The whitetail rut is coming quickly! This year, I’ve seen a ton of deer, and they’re doing exactly what deer should be doing right now, which is starting the pre-rut.
Last rewind a little bit to the beginning of October. I was hunting a few different bucks, none of which wanted to show their faces during legal shooting time. In fact, the one time I went in to this specific property to hunt my hit-list bucks, I had a shooter show his face a mere 1 1/2 hours after I left. Go figure!
Despite the more-than-usual deer movement, I haven’t been seeing a lot of bigger bucks. That all changed Oct. 24. I got out of work a little early, so I headed into a stand that I hadn’t hunted all season. I got settled in, and hung up my Hoyt bow. A couple hours passed, and it was about 5:45 p.m., which meant I had a little over a hour left of legal shooting light. I decided to stand up and be on the alert for any and all deer activity. There is a ditch that was about 100 yards behind me, and I caught movement alongside of the ditch. It looked like a doe, and I saw a small buck right behind her.
About 20 minutes went by as they kept milling around. About this time, a fawn came running in front of me with a 4 point right behind her. The bucks were definitely starting to feel it. The 2 bucks I had been seeing eventually crossed paths, and I thought the fight was on! The bigger of the 2 bucks pinned his ears back and stiffened up. I thought he was going to kick the smaller buck’s butt!
After the 2 little guys moved on, I again caught movement just behind me. This time, it was a decent 8 point. I had him broadside at 35 yards and decided to hold off. As he walked away, I got a better look at him. I had made a mistake. He would have been my biggest buck with a bow.
I made my mind up if that deer came back in I was going to kill him. The closest he ever came was 40 yards behind brush. His life was spared on Oct. 24.
Fast forward to Oct. 30. I again got out of work early and crawled into a stand I hadn’t been in all year. About 6:15 p.m., I had a shooter 8 point come in to 25 yards. I took my shot and…….long story short, no buck. I completely missed at 25 yards, a chip shot.
I’m not positive, but I think the deer I missed was the deer I passed up the previous Friday. If he gives me a third opportunity, I’m going to make it count!
It’s a long season, and misses happen. I’ll be back out there, Hoyt in hand, ready for the next one.
Well, it’s almost the big day! That’s right, Ohio’s bow season opens exactly 12 days from today. I couldn’t be more excited! Oh, wait. That’s not the big day I’m supposed to be talking about.. The first big day is my wedding day. My fiancee and I are getting married on Sept. 20.
Now I will tell you I love her more than anything. But with that love has to come with some compromise. I know all you hardcore guys out there are saying there’s no way you’d be getting hitched this close to hunting season. (Secretly, I asked the wedding be the 20th instead of the 27th for the right reasons!) But to tell you the truth, it hasn’t been that bad. I’ve really had it easy with all of this wedding planning. Brittany has been on top of it all, while I’m able to help out and also get ready for bow season.
It really all comes down to planning & more planning. It’s sometimes difficult to plan your days and weeks out, but it really does come in handy. For example, planning all of your wedding preparations for the mornings so you’re able to get into the woods & prep for season in the afternoons or vice versa. It doesn’t hurt to help to have someone who definitely understands your hunting way of life.
So as I write this, we’re putting the finishing touches on preparations, so it’s really hard to find a good topic to write about. So, I’ll continue to ramble on about the next two weeks of my life.
After getting married on Saturday, we’re heading to Nashville, Tennessee for our honeymoon. We went to Nashville a few years ago, and loved it. We’ll be there through Sept. 25, returning just in time for archery season!
I’ll have Friday to get all packed up and head to deer camp for the weekend. I figured what better way to break into our marriage than a nice honeymoon followed by a weekend without me at home.
Hopefully I’ll be writing my next entry about how well our wedding went, and hopefully holding a picture of a big buck!
In the meantime, share your hunting memories and pictures with us on our social media pages:
We all know the outdoor world we know and love is constantly under attack. Whether it’s from politicians who want nothing more than to regulate us, or to groups who think they’re protecting animals by protesting us outdoorsmen and women, we’ve always got a fight on our hands.
What’s nice about the outdoors is there’s always people who are willing to stand up against those and protect our rights. I’ve compiled a few of my favorite groups that protect our hunting and outdoor heritage.
1. National Rife Association (NRA)-Well, what can you say? The NRA is America’s longest standing civil rights organization, constantly fighting to protect our Second Amendment rights. I can’t say enough good things about the NRA. With an outstanding reputation and following, the NRA is always on our side when it comes to our rights. Do yourself a favor and consider joining the cause with the NRA.
2. Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA)-The Quality Deer Management Association mission is “to ensure the future of white-tailed deer, wildlife habitat and our hunting heritage.” And it truly does just that. Since 1988, the QDMA has increased awareness across the country while compiling some of the best programs known. Programs such as herd management, herd monitoring and hunter management. Some of the tips and awareness QDMA brings to hunters will certainly ensure a healthy white-tail herd for years to come.
3. National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF)-The National Wild Turkey Federation is the leader in protecting the conservation of the wild turkey and our hunting heritage. Founded in 1973, the NWTF has helped restore a sustainable wild turkey population across the United States. With a local chapter in all 50 states, the NWTF has helped grow the population from 30,000 to more than 7 million across the United States, Mexico and Canada.
4. Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF)-The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has made its history on protecting and ensuring the future of Rocky Mountain elk and our hunting heritage. Founded in 1984 by four hunters in Montana, the RMEF now has more than 500 chapters across the United States. With each member, 90% of the dues go toward accomplishing the organization’s mission, while 6% goes to administrative costs and the remaining 4% goes to future fundraising.
These groups are the epitome of what our rights as citizens mean. You have the NRA constantly fighting to ensure we always have our right to bear arms, then you have groups like the NWTF, RMEF and QDMA working toward a common goal of ensuring we have a thriving population of whitetail deer, wild turkeys and elk for our future generations to enjoy. I think it’s great to see ourselves as sportsmen and women bond together for a common goal, and these groups certainly represent just that.
There are not too many things that can get a hunters blood pumping more than hearing a turkey gobble in the predawn morning. That thundering sound coming from the treetops is what drives us to get up well before sunrise and climb the hills and hollers in search of a longbeard. Here in Indiana the turkeys start gobbling good in March and we have almost a month and a half to wait until we can get after em. In the weeks leading up to the 2014 spring season my morning were spent on field edges and along country roads scouting and listening for roost spots and strut zones. The week before the season I had located multiple birds and did my best to pattern their movements. The only thing left to do was to secure some vacation time and tune up my calls in the hope that I would have a big longbeard in the decoys opening morning.
Trail cameras have really made scouting and maintaining your local deer herds much more manageable. What I’ve found is I’m able to effectively pattern deer and position myself in the best possible spots in any given situation. But it definitely took a lot of trial and error on my part. Below I’m going to share the top 5 tips I can think of for using trail cameras effectively.
1. Never discount quality deer sign- It was hard for me at first to differentiate between a spot that was already producing a lot of deer movement, and one I hoped would produce a lot of deer movement. I would place my cameras and mineral sites around spots that I wanted to be a honey hole. Well, long story short, it didn’t work out for me. This year, I took the approach of going to where the deer already are. I don’t have any proof yet, but I’m hopeful I’ll have better results because of it.
2. Don’t check the cameras too much- This can be one of the most difficult things a deer hunter encounters. Sure, we all get antsy when it comes to seeing if a big buck walked across the trail my camera is on, but we’ve got to learn how often to check our cameras! I try to leave the cameras for about 1-2 weeks before checking them. At first, I was checking it almost every other day. Needless to say, I learned from my mistakes when I would only have a handful of pictures.
3. Position the camera facing north or south- This was one that definitely caught me by surprise. I know it seems like common sense, but an east or west facing camera will have pictures blown out by the sun. This was one I learned quickly when I had hundreds of pictures that were not recognizable because the sun was blocking my view!
4. Try and find places off the beaten path- Unfortunately, we have to always worry about thieves. It’s a shame, but it is a reality. The first trail camera I purchased was set up off of a frequented 4-wheeler path, and it got stolen within the first week. I learned my lesson, though, because I decided to go off of the main trail and find somewhere that others probably would be going. Since then, I have had pretty good luck with my cameras. I hope that luck continues this fall (fingers crossed)!
5. Give the deer reason to stop in front of the camera- By all means, a well-placed mineral site or food plot will do wonders. I like to get out in the early season and freshen up my mineral sites. It helps the deer grow, and it gives them a reason to pose for the camera! One thing I did when I was first using cameras was to just set it up on a trail. I got some pictures, but they were usually blurry and didn’t capture the whole deer. Now, trail cameras have come a long way, but why maker it any harder on ourselves?
To say Ohio’s turkey season was difficult would be an understatement. I hunted more this spring than I’ve been able to the past 6 years, and it was definitely the hardest.
I was waking up almost every morning before work and heading into the turkey woods. I would have turkeys gobbling on the roost every morning in the same spot. The problem was they were across the property line. I know what you’re thinking “Why don’t you just go ask the landowner for permission?” Well, I did. He doesn’t allow hunting, so I guess I was stuck.
The last week of season I finally gave up on that piece of property simply because I had hunted it the majority of the season, and it certainly wasn’t panning out in my favor.
My dad and I ended up heading to a piece we had a lot of success last year the Saturday before season closed. In fact, we doubled on two gobblers! Well, history didn’t repeat itself. We got 100% skunked. Not even a courtesy gobble.
We had to pack up and head over to my grandma’s to help her clean her garage for a yard sale we were having for the following weekend. Now she’s always having turkeys gobbling in her woods near her log home, so I thought it might be a good idea to take my gear just in case one gets lonely while we were packing.
We’d been there probably an hour when I was putting some shovels on the trailer when I heard a gobble! It was deep in the woods behind her house, but a gobble nonetheless. I quickly told my dad that I was headed to try and fill a tag, so he would be on his own.
I hit my slate call and the gobbler cut me off. I crept about 200 yards into the woods and sat down. A couple soft yelps with my mouth call and I could tell he was closing the distance. After about 5 minutes or so, I saw a red head bobbing through the green timber about 75 yards away. The turkey got to within what I thought to be about 55 yards and hung up. I of course didn’t bring a decoy because I honestly didn’t plan on this panning out.
The gobbler just wouldn’t commit any closer. With the season ending the next day, I decided to give it a shot. I clicked my safety off, took aim with my Mossberg 535 and BOOM! Down goes the gobbler! I was amazed I was able to kill him at that distance.
As I walked toward the dead gobbler, it ended up being about a 56 yard shot. The longest I’ve ever killed a turkey at by about 20 yards.
While it was only a jake, I was certainly glad I didn’t have to throw that $24 tag into the trash. And he sure ate good by the way!
My grandfather, who passed away last year, always told us stories of all the turkeys he heard behind his house, but we never heard them when we came over.
I’ll be honest, I think my grandpa was guiding my shot that day. I’m glad I was able to kill a turkey for him because I know without a doubt he was watching right there with me.