It’s February, 24, 2014. That means only 8 weeks until Ohio’s spring turkey season opens! Now if you follow me on Twitter or read my past blogs, you’ll know turkey season is by far my favorite past time. There’s nothing better than hearing a gobbler sound off on a crisp, cool morning. But since I have 8 weeks before I head into the woods after some hard-headed gobblers, I need to do some preparing.
Here are just a few steps that I take when preparing for spring turkey season.
- Dust off those calls-I break out my calls in February. Sometimes I think my fiancée starts to get irritated by all the yelping, clucking & purring, but she understands this is a passion! One of the best tips I could give is to take your mouth calls with you on car rides and throw them in while you’re driving. You won’t irritate anyone and you’ll be able to fine tune your skills.
- Gear Inventory-Now’s the perfect time to go through all of your gear. I like to sit down and make a list of all the turkey hunting stuff I have and will need for the season. I take this time to go through and make sure my decoys are good to go, along with make sure I have enough shells to make it through the season.
- Pattern your gun-I always spend some time on the range before season. I like to know just how far my gun is effective at. Now I don’t spend a ridiculous amount of money on shells, so I know I’m confident to about 40 yards. Some like to know their guns are capable of shooting a turkey at 60 plus yards, but I’m not spending $40 for a box of shells. My $20 box will do just fine!
- Scout, scout, scout-About 4 weeks before season, I like to get out and walk the woods to see where the turkeys are hanging out. Because I generally hunt the same few properties each year, I have a pretty good idea. But the time I don’t scout will be the time the turkeys change their spring patterns. It’s also good to drive around in the evenings and listen to where the birds are roosting at night. I know the old saying of “Roosted Ain’t Roasted,” but I’d much rather know where he’s sleeping and try to kill him off the roost than to go in blind.
It’s here—the end of archery season. For many of us, that’s a bitter-sweet time. On one hand, you’re able to kick back and relax. Maybe spend some time with your family. On the other hand, that means you have a while before it’s time to climb back into that tree stand. There are a lot of different things you can do to keep you occupied. I’ve compiled the top 5 things I like to do until that magical time in September.
1. TURKEY HUNT: Turkey hunting is by far my biggest past time. Nothing gets me more jacked up than hearing a big ole gobbler sound off in the distance on a sunny morning. As soon as opening day comes in April, I’m in the woods as much as I can trying to fill my tags.
2. 3D SHOOTS: The spring & summer is a perfect time to tune your archery skills at your local club’s 3D shoots. I recently started shooting 3D, and I have to say, it’s a blast! It’s a great time to go fling some arrows, and it definitely helps improve your accuracy.
3. TRADE SHOWS: This time of the year is when I like to catch up on all of my local trade shows. I try to attend as many as possible to keep up on what’s going on in the hunting industry and see what new products will be coming out. In Ohio, I generally attend the Columbus Deer & Turkey Expo and the Cleveland Outdoor Adventure Show. In fact, CollegiateCamo will have a booth at the Monster Buck Classic in Kansas Jan. 24-26! Stop by and see us.
4. GEAR INVENTORY: It’s always a good practice to make sure all of your gear is in working order. I like to go through it all, clean it up, and put it away for next season. It definitely helps make everything last longer when it’s take care of.
5. FISHING: What’s more enjoyable than sitting on the lake or pond fishing? There’s not a whole lot more that can be as relaxing as casting a line and just chilling out for a few hours.
The BCS bowls were released Dec. 8, so now is when you should start planning on your party for your team’s big game. Below is a list of the games with dates & times.
- BCS National Championship: Florida State Seminoles vs. Auburn Tigers
- Orange Bowl: Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Clemson Tigers
- Sugar Bowl: Oklahoma Sooners vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
- Fiesta Bowl: UCF Knights vs. Baylor Bears
- Rose Bowl: Michigan State Spartans vs. Stanford Cardinal
Your team not in a BCS bowl game? No problem! CollegiateCamo has more than 40 schools available for official camouflage apparel, decal and gear.
Let me start that no hunter should ever expect to fill a tag. It is a privilege that we are able to hunt and being in the woods is part of the reason I love hunting so much. That being said I had high hopes going into my vacation. I had planned it out for almost a year and thought that since I killed my buck last year on November 2 that I would try a bracket that date and then leave some time for after that date in case rutting activity had not fully exploded.
My camera was revealing mature bucks were in the area but limited movement during the daytime. No matter I was still excited to be hunting feeling that that could change any day while I was on vacation. I was keep contact with fellow pro staffer Brad Tansey and we were comparing notes. Neither of us was really seeing the activity we were expecting.
Best opportunity was on Nov. 2 at about the end of shooting light I had a mature 8-point come by and stops at my stand 20 yards. I contemplated shooting him for 10 minutes and decided to let him pass being I had a whole week of hunting left. Looking back maybe I should have released that arrow.
I continued to talk with Brad during the week that I still wasn’t seeing the rutting activity that everyone else was experiencing. Checking forums and seeing pictures coming across social media of big bucks being taken had me wondering if I was in the wrong spot on the property, or was the doe to buck ratio out of control on the property I hunt? I was running every imaginable possibility through my mind.
I ended my vacation on Nov. 11 without filling my buck tag as of yet. Still have a lot of season left.
Let me just start with the fact that I’m having mixed emotions this year about the rut. I’ve hunted more this year since moving closer to home with my fiancée. With anticipation of November coming up, I decided to take two vacation day Nov. 7-8 to hunt the Ohio rut. Here lies the problem. The rut wasn’t in. I’ve been seeing things all over Facebook & Twitter about how bucks are chasing does and the rut was in full swing. Not in my neck of the woods.
I kept in close contact with fellow Pro Staffer Chris Travers via text to see how his Ohio rut was panning out because he took some vacation time as well. He had some activity, but nothing that truly indicated the rut was full-blown. I tried to read up and form a general opinion about all of the rut guides and professionals giving their advice for rut hunters across the country. My opinion is that the rut happens at different times for different areas. I know that might sound like something that’s common sense, but if you really think about it, different deer do different things at different times. Common sense, right? Well with all of the rut guides and tips out there, it’s easy for hunters just getting started to believe the rut is going to be the same few days in Iowa as it is in Northeast Ohio.
Some may disagree, but that’s my honest opinion. From now on, I’m going to stop putting so much emphasis on what the guides say and more on what my deer are actually doing. As I write this blog on Nov. 13, I would say the rut is probably picking up in my neck of the woods. I started seeing some scrapes and rubs toward the end of last week when I had to go back to work. Go figure!
Whether the rut was in or it wasn’t, I still had a blast. I wouldn’t trade being in the woods for anything. You can bet I’ll be out there again Hoyt in hand ready to release an arrow.
Well November has arrived and here in Ohio it has blown in with a force. First morning in the stand and I felt like I was riding the Tilt-a-Whirl at the local carnival. Afternoon and evening sitting turn into all day affairs. Warmer clothes, lunch in the tree and keeping your friends updated at work on what’s going on in the woods.
Over the past year I have developed a friendship with fellow pro-staffer Brad Tansey and it has allowed us to push each other to be better hunters and people. This is what hunting is about to me – enjoying what nature as to offer and the friendships that are built from hunting. I hope in a few years I will be able to pass the passion I have for hunting and the lessons I have learned onto my children.
Team Realtree says it best – “Family Friends and the Outdoors.”
Happy and Safe Hunting!
As the ol’ saying goes “oh the places you’ll go” I have never felt this statement to be more true until this year at K-State. As a part of the 5th Class of Wildlife and Outdoor Management program I have gotten some amazing opportunities in the past month. I have met with Larry Potterfield of Midway USA to see how he and his hardworking staff strive to be the number one business in America. In addition I got to attend a Q & A session with James “Dr. Deer” Kroll. And let me tell you they don’t call him “Dr. Deer” for nothing. More recently however we students got to go to Raton New Mexico to spend a week at the NRA Whittington Center to learn about firearms and firearm maintenance, as well as shooting range design and maintenance.
It was an incredible experience. On the first day we spent the day touring all the multiple ranges that they have to offer, which is basically everything. They have everything from skeet to five stands for shotguns, various pistol ranges, and even a 1000m range to accommodate the long range shooters. We talked about how each range was designed back when the center was established and what they would change if they could go back and redo it all. We also talked about the various shooting events that are held on each ranges like 3 gun nationals, and FCSA long range competitions.
In the next few days we had to opportunity to learn and be certified in handgun and rifle safety and operations. Once that was completed the shooting began. We are a cohort of 48 students on this trip but that didn’t mean we weren’t able to let off some rounds. I can honestly say I have never shot so many pistol and rifle rounds in one day! The highlight of this day however came when we got to see a massive bull elk harvested by one of the guests of the Whittington Center. Yes, I said bull elk. The Whittington Center is unique in that in can accommodate all types of shooters but also hunters. Because of the topography and location of the ranch they are able to host trophy bull elk, mule deer, and pronghorn hunts!
And speaking of elk on the final day of our trip to New Mexico we took a trip up the mountains to tour Ted Turner’s Vermejo Park Ranch. It is one of the world’s premium hunting, fishing, and tourism resorts. We were led on a tour through the departments and all the various aspects of the park that make it world class. We listened to the parks Range Manager, talked about their natural gas wells on the park, and even had the opportunity to get up close in personal with one of the bison herds that roam the ranch. (The Bison being only 1 of 6 pure bison herds left in the country)
It was a week full of experiences I will never forget. Not to mention the wealth of knowledge that was passed down to us from people like Wayne Armacost, and Robbie Roberts from the Whittington Center, and Mark Kossler and staff of Vermejo Park Ranch. I cannot thank these guys enough for taking time out of their busy schedules to accommodate the 5th class of Wildlife and Outdoor Enterprise Management Students here at K-State!
For those of you reading this don’t forget to share your recent trips or hunting adventures with CollegiateCamo on Facebook and Twitter! Be safe as the hunting season starts to really pick up here in the next few weeks! Happy Hunting!
Ohio’s bow season opens the last Saturday in September every year. It ends February 2nd. That definitely makes for one long season. I love hunting just as much as anyone else, but a season that’s around five months long can take a toll on even the most dedicated hunter. I’ve found that pacing myself through the season helps me stay dedicated and positive each and every day.
Here’s a list of the ways I’m able to make it through the long archery season.
Don’t overhunt too early: It’s easy to overhunt a particular stand or blind. I try to change it up almost daily. There are a couple of different reasons for that. No. 1 is I don’t want too much human scent to be in a particular stand. I killed a doe about 2 weeks ago in a stand that I hadn’t hunted all season. I haven’t been back in there yet. My plan would be to head in this weekend and try to see what kind of buck activity is going on. A second reason the type of deer visiting past stands. If I’m doe hunting, I’m obviously going to head to a spot where I’m seeing and getting a lot of trail camera photos of does. If I’m after a shooter buck, I’m going to head where I have trail camera photos of him and try not to be tempted by a big ole backstrap queen.
Hunt smarter, not harder: This was really hard for me when I was younger. I felt like if I wasn’t in the deer stand as much as I possibly could be that I wasn’t a dedicated hunter. I’ve learned to try and hunter smarter and use wind & weather patterns to maximize the potential I have for seeing and killing deer. I try my best to hunt stands only on good winds even if that means waiting a day until it’s 100% perfect. When I was hunting in stands no matter the conditions, I didn’t have a whole lot of success. I spent more time in a tree twiddling my thumbs than actually looking at deer.
Don’t lose sight on what hunting really is: This is probably the most important tip I could give to someone. Hunting is a passion of mine that I would consider fun and relaxing. If it ever goes away from one of those two, I’ll quit hunting. Let me tell you a short story about a time when I stopped having fun. I was a part of hunting TV show that aired on the Pursuit Channel. At first, I thought it was great to film my hunts and be on TV. After a while, I realized it was becoming more and more like a day job, something I never wanted hunting to have to feel like. So, I stopped filming for the TV show. Despite having the opportunity to be on TV, hunting was becoming a chore, and I would rather just hunt and share that passion with family & friends. I haven’t regretted not filming my hunts anymore because I can truly say I’m happier and more excited about hunting season knowing the pressure of having a video camera is off of me.
These were three tips I’ve learned that help me make it through that long, amazing time we hunters call archery season. Do you have any tips that help you make it through bow season? Share them with me on Twitter @BradTansey.
The greatest time of the year is upon us. Not only does our sanity return with the kickoff of college football, hunting seasons open across the country and allow us to go into the field once again. No matter how your fall hunting begins, opening day is something we look forward to like little kids on Christmas morning. I start the fall off in the squirrel woods, but patiently waiting for September first and the dove opener. I started dove hunting with my uncle when I was 15, in the sunflower fields around Lexington, Ky. I looked forward to this trip every year and always dreamed about having a dove field of my own. This spring I found myself fortunate enough to finally have the land and equipment to plant a field for doves.
Now I am neither a farmer nor do I have a lot of extra cash laying around but I used what was available to me and got the job done. I decided to plant sunflowers because I have had good luck hunting over them in the past and the doves absolutely can’t resist them. Instead of planting one big field I decided to break it up into two smaller fields about one acre in size so I could alternate hunting pressure. Around May first, I started by preparing the seedbed by plowing and tilling the plots. I then broadcasted the seed and fertilizer according to the recommended seeding rates, and rolled the seed into the soil with a yard roller and an ATV.
About two weeks after planting, and thanks to plenty of rain, my crop was growing like crazy. The rain kept on coming and it turned out to be a perfect growing season. On August 15th I cut about half of the fields and awaited the opener. Now even though I love to shoot doves September first in Indiana also happens to be the opening day of early goose season. After an early morning goose hunt I set up my mojo in one of my plots and went to work on my dove limit. This was definitely the most satisfying limit of my dove hunting career after all of the hard work it took to make it happen.