If you’ve been following my turkey hunting stories, you’ll know I’ve had a tough go of it the past few seasons. I’ve put more time in the woods than I ever have, and it hasn’t panned out in my favor.
Well, it’s continuing this year, too. Ohio’s turkey season opened April 20th, and you can bet I was out there an hour before daylight waiting on a gobbler to sound off. I was nestled on the edge of a corn field that I know the turkeys have been using as a food source and strut zone.
As first light approached, a gobbler sounded off directly behind me on the bank of the creek! I almost fell out of my seat in the blind he was that close. A few minutes went by, and he continued to gobble his head off.
I made a few soft clucks & yelps on my mouth call just to let him know I was in the area. As soon as flydown happened, he flew down into the exact opposite direction! I was devastated, but at least I was hunting.
Fast forward to the first Saturday of season. I had my buddy Jeff with me, and we decided to sneak into where the gobbler flew down to Monday in hopes to catch him heading off for the day.
As luck would have it, he gobbled a little deeper in the woods, but only maybe 100 yards away. I did the usual clucks, yelps and purrs. Boy did this gobbler love the sound of my mouth call. He gobbled at everything.
We heard him fly down and make his way toward us. He got to about 60-70 yards in full strut and put the brakes on. He strutted back and forth for probably 10 minutes. I could not get this gobbler to come any closer. About the time I was starting to wonder what I needed to do to bring this turkey into range, a couple of hens walked toward the longbeard and took him away from us.
Turkeys 2 Brad 0.
I’ve been hunting this specific property pretty religiously since it’s close to my house and somewhat close to work. However, I think it’s time to change things up. I’m headed to a different property to get on some other turkeys.
Last season, I made the mistake of getting hung up on what I think is the same gobbler as the one who’s giving me fits this year. Because of that, I almost didn’t kill a turkey.
This season, I’m going to TRY and be a little smarter. Try is the key word….
Hopefully the next time I sit down to write, I’ll have pictures to show of success. Here’s to hoping!
There is a time each year when the snow disappears, the grass begins to green up, and the dogwoods begin blooming. To a hunter this means one thing, turkey season is coming. This is the time to pick out your vacation days and plan the trips that are going to make the spring unforgettable. For me, it mean putting lots of miles on my old rusty truck trying to be the first one of my buddies to see the first Tom strutting or hear that first gobble. This spring turned out to be a little different in that department. I didn’t have much time to scout and when I did turkey sightings were rare. I didn’t even hear my first gobble until a week before the Indiana opener. To say I was a little bit worried was an understatement.
Phone calls were made and plans were put in place for opening day. I planned to run a camera for a buddy of mine. When I arrived at his house on that morning I was greeted with a steady rain, not the ideal turkey hunting conditions. Nevertheless we took off across a pasture carrying decoys and camera gear and settled into our blind right before daylight. My friend had decided that he was going to try and take a bird with his crossbow while I filmed. I did though bring along my trusty old 870 just in case the opportunity for a double presented itself. As daylight broke gobbles were few and far between. About an hour into the hunt I looked to our left out of the blind window and there stood two longbeards within 30 yards. Isn’t it amazing how they appear out of nowhere sometimes? The shuffle was on. As you can imagine, it is pretty tough to get a camera turned on, aimed, and focused when two longbeards are staring at you 30 yards away. Somehow I managed to get them in focus just as they turned to walk away. I heard the safety of the crossbow click off and the arrow was on its way. To our dismay we watched that arrow fly right over the bird’s back.
We were surprised when the longbeards jumped at the shot and then stood looking around wondering what in the heck just happened. The second shuffle was on. Instead of trying to stealthily focus a camera, I was reaching for my shotgun in an attempt to get the safety off and the gun aimed as quickly as possible. I pointed the barrel out of the blind window, lined up the sights and pulled the trigger. This time there were no misses. I find it pretty ironic that I went into this opening day wondering where I was going to find a Tom for myself, and end up tagged out by eight o’clock. I guess this is part of the beauty of turkey hunting, you really never know. Oh, and yes, I bought my buddy’s lunch.
The goal of The Well Armed Woman, from owner Carrie Lightfoot, is “to equip, educate and empower you as a woman gun owner.” That is extremely important, especially to us at CollegiateCamo. With more and more woman becoming interested in firearms, The Well Armed Woman provides a fantastic way for women to get the knowledge they desire, along with the empowerment they deserve.
In addition to educating women about gun ownership, the Well Armed Woman conducts firearms training classes. The group has two different classes, The Well Armed Woman Certification Course (Non NRA) and The Well Armed Woman/National Rifle Association Instructor Course.
The certification courses provides extensive training on gun ownership, excelling and overcoming common obstacles and much more.
At $50 annually for a standard membership, The Well Armed Woman is definitely worth your money. Benefits include:
- 10% discount on ALL purchases made on The Well Armed Woman website ALL year on regularly priced items.
- A The Well Armed Woman Shooting Chapter Hat
- The Well Armed Woman Shooting Chapter Member Card
- Savings and discounts to chapter members at national and local ranges/stores and resources (these will vary with each chapter and with the local opportunities)
This month, we completed a custom decal order for The Well Armed Woman. If you or someone you know is looking to have custom decals created and printed, look no further. We do custom quotes on all orders, and we will quote you a great price on your project.
We at CollegiateCamo are proud to be a part of such an amazing and empowering organization like The Well Armed Woman. If you’re a woman who’s interested in learning more about gun ownership, or you’re willing to help others learn, then we think The Well Armed Woman is the place to do it.
The CollegiateCamo family
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.