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.
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.
Hunters in 21 states and several Canadian provinces have been warned about chronic wasting disease (CWD) and asked to help protect the deer population. CWD, first recognized in mule deer in Colorado in 1967, is one of a group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. Passed from deer to deer and also from infected soil to deer, CWD causes the brain cells to degenerate. The result is weight loss, tremors, and stumbling. There is no cure and once infected, the animals die in one or two months.
Although CWD is not spread to humans, once established in an area, it is impossible to stop. That means a great economic loss to deer hunters and wildlife watchers, who spend many thousands of dollars in the threatened states.
CWD currently threatens states from Colorado and Wyoming to New York and from North Dakota to New Mexico. The white-tailed deer in Missouri is especially threatened, and the state’s Department of Conservation (MDC) has sent out a call to its more than 20,000 deer hunters to help to identify and limit the spread of the deadly disease. Deer hunting is important economically to Missouri, which takes in about $1 billion annually, including the businesses that survive on deer hunting, such as meat processors, restaurants, and hotels.
MDC has tested some 38,000 free-ranging white-tailed deer in the state since 2001. The disease was first found in Missouri in 2010. Since then, efforts have been intensified to inform deer hunters and others so that the disease can be stopped from spreading. Hunters can aid by not taking any whole deer carcasses or parts of the animal that contain the spinal cord, eyes, brain, or lymph nodes out of zoned areas. Parts of the deer that are safe to transport without spreading the disease are those that do not contain any parts of the spine or head, hides with no excess tissue, antlers, or meat that is cut and wrapped or boned out. Hunters are also encouraged to leave any carcasses in the area or bury them, take the harvested animal to a licensed commercial processor, or use a licensed taxidermist for taxidermy work.
Although there has been no evidence of CWD spreading to humans, deer hunters in Missouri and other states are asked to use common sense if they are handling any animals that may have been exposed to the disease. Number one common sense rule is: Don’t handle any animal that appears to be sick or is acting in an abnormal way.
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.
Written by CollegiateCamo Pro-Staffer Chris Travers
It’s mid-June and all I can think about is deer season. How am I going to make it until October? There is plenty to do between now and then, but I am going crazy thinking about whitetails.
So how will I pass the time this summer till bow season starts? It will start with setting the cameras out over the next two weeks to start getting a deer inventory for the season. I will have 2 properties here in Ohio and one in West Virginia. With two new properties I will need to see what is out there and see what has made it through for the 2013 season
Then the new catalogs will be coming out from the various retailers with all of the newest gear and clothing so that will also help pass the time along with catching up with new and old episodes of Solo Hunters, The Short Season, Bone Collector, along with the new volumes of Realtree Monster Bucks.
Then it will be time to start looking at stand placements and clearing shooting lanes and finding entrance and exit routes to and from my stand placements, and, of course, shooting the Prime Defy to make sure I am ready for opening day.
All of this will fill the itch for the summer while spending time with friends and family. Hopefully these activities can fill the time till October. Hoping everyone has a great summer and best of luck this fall.
Follow Chris Travers on Twitter @cmtrav
Hunting the late season can sometimes be tricky. The weather is downright unpredictable where I live in Northeast Ohio, so it’s hard to really pattern the deer. We had a good snowstorm before Christmas, and the temps dropped into the low 20s. A bowhunter’s dream, right? Well, it would have been dream conditions if I would have actually killed a deer!
Now, onto the good part. The good thing is, when there’s a lot of snow on the ground, the deer have to find food! My best advice is to hunt over some sort of food source. Whether it’s a cut corn field or a lush food plot, the deer have to keep their energy up in the cold temperatures. I’ve found more deer in the late season than any other part of deer season. I’m no biologist, but I’d say it’s common sense that deer are much more susceptible to being spotted when they have to move every few hours.
I went down to my buddy Jason Cue’s place for Ohio’s muzzleloader season Jan. 9-10. He had a few great bucks patterned, and they were coming into the food plot like clockwork every morning and evening. A sure thing, right? Wrong again. We hunted all day and only saw a few does and a small 4 point. The temperature rose to around 45 degrees that weekend, and I think that was the major factor. It wasn’t cold enough to keep the deer on their feet most of the day. I think this goes to show you how much the weather actually plays into what animals tend to do. I’m not saying I won’t go hunt because it’s raining or not cold enough because there’s always that chance that Mr. Buck is going to make a fatal mistake.
Written by Pro-Staffer Brad Tansey
Well, I’m writing this blog a little sooner than I’d like to. I went to check my trail camera Tuesday to find that it was stolen. I had it cable locked with a pad lock to boot. I guess the saying of a lock only keeps an honest man out rang true in my case. For someone to steal another man’s equipment is beyond me. People that do this shouldn’t be allowed to even step foot in the great outdoors. It’s people like that who give hunting a bad name in general!
I’ve seen my fair share of cameras in the woods. Not once has it ever come across my mind to steal it. That is someone’s hard-earned money. Last year, I noticed a fairly expensive camera near a stand I had. When I passed it, I thought in my mind “Hey that is a really good spot. I hope it doesn’t get stolen.” I hope that man had more luck with his camera than I did. I only had my camera for a week and a half. Needless to say, I’m not buying another. It’s appalling that this is what we as hunters and outdoorsmen have sunk to.
This is something that will probably only get worse. It makes me sick to my stomach to even think about it. My buddy has had three cameras stolen in the last four years. He even had someone cut down the tree it was mounted to because he had it enclosed in a welded steel box. Now that’s just wrong!
People that steal equipment or anything for that matter need to take a look at themselves in the mirror and realize what they are doing is dead WRONG. No wonder I can’t get hunting permission anywhere anymore. It’s because of morons (and I say morons because I shouldn’t type what I really think) like that disgrace the hunting industry.
Oh well. I’m done ranting. Maybe I’ll just start scouting harder. You know what? I’m going to chalk this up as a lesson learned. Now I’m going to kill an even bigger buck because I’ve got more drive to do it. Don’t worry, when (not if) I do, I’ll be sure to let you know all about it.
Written by Pro-Staffer Brad Tansey
During the summer months, I try to learn about every deer on the property I plan on hunting in the fall. By doing this, I learn the habits and tendencies of the deer.
For example, a few weeks ago, I saw four bucks in a group feeding one evening. After watching where the deer went into the woods, I decided to put up a trail camera. I’ve never used a camera before this year. It’s definitely a great buy because I’ve learned I have at least six different bucks on the property. Now, don’t get me wrong, I can’t guarantee these deer will be there come September 25, which is the opening day for Ohio’s bow season. But I can guarantee if the big I seen, I’m going to do my best to close the deal on him.
I’ve learned more about scouting this summer than in my other 10 years of hunting whitetails. I’ve never tried any minerals or anything like that. I’ve always thought it was considered cheating. The truth is, in my opinion, that couldn’t be further from the truth. There is a lot of benefits to using food and minerals for the deer.
I put out some corn and created a mineral lick for the bucks. Since I’ve never used any of this gear, I didn’t know what to expect when I went to check my camera for the first time. I was surprised to know that there was a few deer over the week that came to the site religiously. Now, as you can tell in the photos, there isn’t any monster deer here from what I’ve seen. But there is a blurry photo of what looks to be an 8-point. He’s one of the four bucks I saw feeding in field a few weeks ago.
I got about 80 pictures from the first week. The 40-pound bag of corn was gone. There was a few squirrels, rabbits and raccoons that ate some of the corn, but the majority of the photos were of deer. I’m surprised that the majority of the deer were bucks! That’s a good problem to have sometimes.
I’m still waiting to go back and check the camera to see if I was able to get any better pictures of the 8-point. If I do, I’m sure you’ll hear about it!