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.
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.
After 5 years, the Producers of the Award-Winning Heartland Bowhunter present Heartland Waterfowl! HB Executive Producers Michael Hunsucker and Shawn Luchtel have teamed with passionate Midwest waterfowl hunters Ronnie Philips and Logan Burditt; who have pieced a quality team that have enthralled themselves with the HB concept. This successful concept will offer a waterfowl show unlike any other in the industry. Like HB, Team HW tells a compelling story through creative filming and honest experiences while incorporating and promoting the true ethics of waterfowl hunting and endorsing the sport to women, children and those less fortunate. As Heartland Bowhunter has strived to be one of the most watched outdoor television programs available, it is of the same mindset that Heartland Waterfowl incorporate professional production guidelines and expectations to motivate this team to be the very best in the industry!
“I’m honored and humbled to be working with the very best in the industry of outdoor television. Heartland Bowhunter TV has set a whole new standard to the word “quality”. With my experience in entertainment, marketing and promotions with my passion for waterfowl hunting, I’ve been able to establish an amazing working relationship with the HB Team. My Heartland Waterfowl TV partner and co-host, Logan Burditt, has a tremendous amount of waterfowl hunting experience. He also fits in our concept extremely well with his knowledge and understanding of what it takes to live up to the HB standard. Heartland Waterfowl will be aggressively traveling the country this fall to capture the most compelling story lines and creative footage, as the show is projected to air in July 2013.”
~ Ronnie Phillips
Be sure to check out the trailer at http://www.heartlandwaterfowl.com/
The Colorado State University Rams Shotgun Team is hosting their annual Memorial Shoot on Saturday, April 28th 2012. This is an event to remember two girls who changed many lives for the better and to cherish new friends made through the team. The shoot is open to everyone who would like to join us at the Kiowa Creek Sporting gun club. It will include a full round of Sporting Clays and a Flurry for new and experienced shooters alike.
To give you a little background, Abi Rice and Heather Nielsen left us pre-maturely in 2003 and 2005, but they did leave a legacy of fun and friends with the CSU Shooting Team. It was never important to be the winner, but instead to have fun and make sure everyone around you was having fun. While these two young ladies will be greatly missed, we take their lessons to us dearly to heart. Always tell your family that you love them and your friends are the family you choose. The team has continued to be like a big family – from leaning on each other for times of need and sharing accomplishments, to laughing and crying, fighting like siblings, and helping with classes. These two remarkable young women have found a way of bringing strangers together and growing acquaintances into lasting friendships.
Every year we remember them in our own special way, with a day of shooting while in the presence of great friends, family, and fellow shooters. The money raised helps the Colorado State University Shotgun Sports Team to continue on making wonderful memories and to compete with other colleges in shotgun sports. Come join us for fun and shooting!
If you would like to sign up for a day full of fun, here are the details:
Kiowa Creek Sporting
46700 E. County Road 30
Bennett, CO 80102
Registration & Entry Fees:
Individual = $60.00
4 person teams = $200.00
Flurry After Lunch
CSU Shotgun Sports
Madeline Robinson by April 20th
Last week I attended the 44th Annual ACUI National Clay Target Championship in San Antonio, Texas at the National Shooting Complex. This shoot gathered almost 50 institutions with 510 competitors in total, a new record for this competition. It was this year that I realized… it’s about so much more than the actual competition.
This is a competition where outdoor enthusiasts congregate with the common interest of shooting clay targets. Even within that main group, it gathers trap shooters, skeet shooters and sporting clays shooters; everybody usually has their specialty within the shotgunning world. While on the field or course, shooters are doing everything humanly possible to bring a respectable score to the board to represent their school. Off the field, new friendships are being created and established friendships are being rekindled; there is not a distance possible to extinguish these relationships.
One particular day, I was on the sporting clays range giving moral support to “my team”, Colorado State University (CSU), and we were following the new University of Texas (UT) squad. A little over halfway through the course one of the UT shooters (who used to shoot for CSU) had a gun malfunction which was causing the top barrel in his gun not to fire. Naturally, I wandered his way to ensure that the situation was under control and to calm him after this frustrating incident. We discussed his options and he decided to use his backup gun for the rest of the course.
After completing the course his father took his gun to a local gunsmith to take a closer look at it. Then I got a phone call from the shooter saying his gun couldn’t be repaired in time to shoot the rest of the competition. Understanding his frustration, I offered to look and see if there was something I could do to help. We met up and realized we didn’t have the necessary tools to do the job… Other fellow shooters saw our distress and came to our rescue. Competitors from three different institutions generously let us borrow their tools so we could get a closer look.
The boy’s father brought over the new firing pins that he had recently purchased… now came a new hurdle… After ho-humming a while, more fellow shooters came over to offer help. When all was said and done I wouldn’t be surprised if we had 25 generous helpers compiling our knowledge to help a fellow gun enthusiast to be able to shoot the rest of the competition. These students belonged to schools such as Kansas State University, Southeastern Illinois College, Lindenwood University, UT, CSU and I’m sure several others. Finally, it was complete and the problem was resolved.
When all was said and done, a few shooters and I hung back awhile and discussed how unique the shooting industry is. This is probably one of few to none competitions where rivals and competitors came together to help someone from another team to fix their equipment so they could continue the contest. Through this, new friendships were born and many more were
Students from schools all across the country are gathering this week at the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio, Texas for the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) National Clay Target Championship. This event will start with registration and practice on March 27, 2012 and will come to an end on April 1, 2012. Throughout the academic year, teams have been prepping their new recruits and seasoned veterans for the chance to be named National Champions. The unique aspect to this sport is that it is both a team and individual competition.
Shotgunners receive the opportunity to compete in the following disciplines; American Skeet, American Trap, International Wobble Trap, International Skeet, 5-Stand, and Sporting Clays. Recent release of details reveals that there will be 57 colleges, universities, or institutions expected to participate. This brings a whooping total of 520 individual athletes registered, resulting in a 15 percent increase over 2011. Those shooters also contributed to an increase in targets thrown from previous years.
This ACUI championship has been held for 44 years. The National Shooting Complex has been the selected range for the past 25 years. ACUI is a nonprofit educational organization that was founded in 1914 with the mission to bring together college union and student activities professionals from hundreds of schools in seven countries. Its members work with countless unique schools that vary from urban to rural campuses, two-year and four-year institutions, and large and small schools. Through students and administrator’s efforts, they have been able to build a sense of campus community. ACUI enhance their mission and outreach through education, support, and the delivery of services.
This year we have several Pro-Staffers who will be competing at this championship and their efforts will be tracked throughout the competition. Good luck to Ryan and Tanner, bust those clays guys!
Good luck to all and safe travels!
For more information please visit http://www.acui.org/claytargets/
Ideas for the Worn Out Waterfowler
As the long 2011-12 season comes to an end, the majority of us waterfowlers that spent a large amount of time in the field or water are usually tired, beat down, and the last thing you want to do is pick up a call or pull up a pair of waders. But as we all know, we will get the fever soon and will be looking forward and preparing for next season. Proper maintenance and storage of all of your equipment will result in less of a headache when it comes time to pull it back out. Here are a few tips that will help us out for the next season.
Pull all of your equipment out, being as it is probably nice and damp or smells terrible from a long season. Wash your bibs or jackets, hang them up and store them away in whatever closet doesn’t get you griped out over. Clean up your waders and check for holes by filling them up with water and patching if need be; then hang them upside down and let them completely dry out for a few days in a safe place before storage.
Go through your decoys, whether you Texas Rig them or have them in a bag. Clean them up and untangle everything and string them up or hang them along with your waders in a high place like your garage, shop or barn; that way you can keep the rodents off of them. I also like to go through my blind bag and get rid of all the trash and loose shells and reorganize everything.
The most important thing to me is taking care of your calls. This is crucial to the longevity and the quality of sound you’ll get out of them next season or for an upcoming contest. Take them off the lanyard, open them up and pull the reed and cork out if you’re comfortable with that. I usually use Q-tips to clean everything out and make sure it’s all good and dry. Check the quality of the reed in the call and make sure there are no tears or warps. Additionally, if you’re able and the call has cork, replace the cork inside of the call as well. Make sure everything is good and dry and once you’re sure of that, put your call back together and put them away.
Also, as waterfowlers, we never are very good with keeping our guns clean. As long as they shoot we are content. At the end of every season I like to give it a good cleaning, oil it up and properly store it until the next season.
These are just a few things I like to do at the end of a long hunting season. Now pull the clubs out and hit the golf course, or pull out the fishing gear, grease up the reels, replace line, organize the tackle box and hit the lake!