A days work, plus a dead from earlier this winter.
Although we didn’t find any monsters, it was a great day to be out amongst friends. Brandon Greg and I ended up finding 5 sheds including a small eight point match. Brandon and Mark ended up stumbling upon two each and Greg Haak, the Great American Shed Master himself found one. The majority of the sheds (4) were found in the open wheat field the deer had been seen feeding in.
The three of us spent the majority of our time walking about 30 yards apart in a grid pattern across this 40 acre wheat field. We had less success in the woods, mainly due to the amount of snow that was still covering the ground but Brandon did find one.
We’d love to see pictures of some of your sheds, heck we might even through in a free shirt to the first person to post a picture of a shed over on our Facebook page
! -Mark Mitchell
I woke up this past a couple weeks ago with the intentions to pick up the last trail camera that we had on the property. The camera had been out and unchecked since early December and given the cold, snowy conditions we experienced in South Central Wisconsin we figured it would be dead. When I stepped out the door my breath was taken away, not only by the 2° F temperature but the amazing frost that covered nearly everything. Lucky for me I had my camera with me and was able to take advantage of this natural beauty before the sun warmed things up enough to melt it away. After snapping nearly 200 pictures I drove home I did some research on what exactly caused this gorgeous natural phenomenon; here’s what I found.
Hoar frost (also called radiation frost) refers to the white ice crystals, loosely deposited on the ground or exposed objects that form on cold clear nights when heat losses into the open skies cause objects to become colder than the surrounding air.
Hoar frost may have different names depending on where it forms. For example, air hoar is a deposit of hoar frost on objects above the surface, such as tree branches, plant stems, wires; surface hoar is formed by fernlike ice crystals directly deposited on snow, ice or already frozen surfaces; crevasse hoar consists of crystals that form in glacial crevasses where water vapor can accumulate under calm weather conditions; depth hoar refers to cup shaped, faceted crystals formed within dry snow, beneath the surface.
The name hoar comes from an Old English adjective for showing signs of old age, and is used in this context in reference to the frost which makes trees and bushes look like white hair.
Unfortunately the camera had no shooters on it but it did have plenty of coyotes
which we’ll surely be after in the upcoming months.
Walking in to the treestand in the am of November 6, I kicked out a couple deer. I knew I was running a little behind schedule, but I didn't think much of it as I crawled into the stand. After the hunt I checked my camera to find two bucks minutes before I walked by the camera! The bucks were using the same trail along the bottom of the ridge that I had been using to access my tree and one was a stud.
Be sure to take notice of the time sequence on the trail-camera. This is a great example of how important entry and exit routes can be on your chances of harvesting a buck!
The trail continues through the brushy funnel and in another 80 yards puts them right by the treestand. Obviously they could turn up the bluff or cross the open prairie, but there's a good chance they would meander by the treestand. Anyways, lesson learned. I needed to find a new entry way. I decided I'd walk through the tall prairie grass from the opposite road the long way instead of taking the shorter route along the bottom of the ridge that we always used to access the brushy funnel. I think this also brings up the importance of getting in the tree early. If a guy can get in quiet, why not get in early and let the woods calm down before shooting light? New Access at a New Time... we will see if it pays off.
Mark Ripp with 8Ball his chocolate racked South Central WI Buck
My history with 8Ball started in late August on a scouting trip. I first saw him in the corner of a CRP field that was in the middle of the property. I was on my way to a wooded ridge to look for a good stand location When I bumped him. He jumped out of his bed and trotted to the edge of the field. He stopped just long enough for me to get a good look at him. I thought he was a great looking eight pointer that carried good mass and nice tine length. I remembered him because he was the first shooter buck that I had seen on this new piece of land since I got permission to hunt it. I was only able to get one trail-cam pic of him the whole summer and the early part of the season however. I was a little discouraged but not too worried.
Time passed and I did not see him until November 4th. I had hung my Lone Wolf Alpha in a oak that was near where the eight had been bedded earlier. I was actually set up to hunt a deer that I had seen several nights before. That deer had entered the woods along a trail just below me. At about 2:30 I heard deer running along the ridge just to the east of my location. I kept hearing them for about 20 minutes but still had not seen what was causing the raucous. Finally after glassing the woods intently I noticed four doe make there way down the hill. Right behind the golden girls was 8Ball. He chased the doe out into the corner of the CRP, not 30 yards from where I saw him the last time. He came as close as 60 yards but his attention was on the girls and when they left the field, he left the field. Unfortunately, that was not past my stand. This was a good encounter though, I was able to really get a good look at him. He had a great chocolate colored rack, a feature that I had wanted in a deer for a while now. I wasn't able to get on him again before the gun season started and I knew I was running out of time.
Nick Sydow's 170 class Wisconsin bow-kill. October 30th 2012 9:30 am
It was October 30 and my hopes were high, thinking the pre-rut could kick into gear anyday. I made my way into the stand for my second morning hunt in Southwest WI. The weather was cool and breezy as leftover Sandy swept winds up through the Midwest off the East coast. Yesterday am was similar temperatures, but the deer remained out of sight all morning. I moved stands after watching a couple two year old bucks skirt just out of range the night before… thinking just maybe the big boy would follow a similar pattern.
In the eyes of some the best hunting is already behind us; for others new light is on the horizon. The Wisconsin Gun Deer Season opens this Saturday and runs until the following Sunday. Despite whether you had success with a bow this season or not; if you’re reading this you'll likely be one of the roughly 400,000 hunters joining in the sea of orange that will take over the woods of Wisconsin this weekend. This year unlike years in the past hunters are allowed to use archery equipment throughout the gun season, while of course still wearing the required blaze orange. I myself will be heading to the woods shotgun in hand.
One of the best ways to pattern Whitetails is using the weather. Each time you head to the woods to hunt, scout, or just to observe take the time to notice the weather and take quick notes on the activity that you saw. There’s quite a bit of debate when it comes to weather with hunters. Which has a bigger influence on deer movement wind or temperature? Is the deer activity better with a raising barometer or a falling barometer? Do atmospheric conditions such as fronts, cloud cover or rain even matter? Based on some research and personal experience this is what we’ve found.
I know we’ve talked about wind before, but as stated before just because the wind is right for you doesn’t mean it’s going to be right for the bucks you are hunting. Paying close attention to wind in your area could benefit you most. Most deer like steady, strong winds rather than gusting multi directional winds that create uncertainty with their sense of smell. We’ve also noticed deer aren’t as active when winds seem to be over 20 mph. Obviously this isn’t going to be accurate in every area because in some cases winds could easily be over 20 mph for days and deer are forced to adapt in order to survive. In our experience it seems anytime the winds are less than 20 mph, as long as it’s steady, deer move just as freely as if it were calm. Keep in mind deer typically like to move with the wind in their face and will do everything they can to approach areas taking full advantage of this powerful sense. This is why it is so important to maintain proper scent control prior to heading to the field and throughout your entire hunt.
I’ve been waiting 251 days for this day to come. Tomorrow the 2012 Wisconsin Bow Season get’s underway. The bow is tuned in, all the tree stands are hung, entry and exit routes groomed, food plots planted, trail camera inventory complete, and camera gear ready to roll. Sleeping won’t come easy tonight. I know I will be second guessing stand locations all the way to the tree, replaying different scenarios over and over until my brain finally says enough is enough and I drift off to sleep anxiously awaiting the alarm clock to ring.
It seems as though each year I head into the season with different expectations. In the past I’ve hunted mainly public land and with it came a whole lot of unexpected challenges; just when you thought you had everything covered someone or something new would surface and ruin your hunt. Usually I had to travel 45 plus minutes to get to my spot which obviously limited the number of times I was able to hunt. I remember some years it was considered a successful hunt if there wasn’t another hunter within 100 yards of me. Other years I made it a goal to hold off for one of the mature bucks I knew were out there, only to see a handful of basket racks throughout the season; if I was lucky I might have caught a quick glimpse of him once throughout the season as light faded.
I say this every year and usually nothing changes, but this year truly is different. I am fortunate to be hunting a well managed property within 15 minutes my house. The trail camera inventory
has proven what we already knew; there are multiple deer on the property that I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to release an arrow at. A camera man will be with me the majority of my time in the stand, eliminating the added pressure of self filming. Honestly, I haven’t been this excited to get into the stand since my first time I was able to sit with my father way back in 2000. When I climb into the stand tomorrow I'm hoping to lose the nickname "the anti-deer". I have a feeling this year is going to be my year.
The BMGOutdoors crew wants to wish everyone heading to the woods the best of luck. Remember to frequently check back here for new webisodes
. We are going to keep you up to date with live updates on game movement on our Facebook
Hunt hard, hunt safe, appreciate your significant other, and never get into the stand unless you’re strapped in.
As many of my Midwest friends were getting ready for early goose season I found myself preparing for a larger species. Elk! August 31st found me arriving to elk camp and meeting with a good friend and hunting partner, BJ. We had a short glassing session that night and were cut off from our ridge we had planned on going to by six cows and calves. Not always a bad thing to see elk right away, but we were hoping to see some elk of the other sex. As with many nights before an opener sleep was hard to come by. Regardless I was out of bed at the first beep of the alarm and getting ready as I reminded myself this was the day that I have been dreaming about all year.
It was warmer than expected, but we soon found ourselves heading to the ridge from the previous night in hopes of finding some bulls. We were roughly ¾ of the way to the end of the point when BJ stated that there were a few elk below us already. A short scan revealed six cows and calves, two spikes and a 3x3 in full velvet. With time constraints this fall I told myself anything bigger than a spike and I would go after it. So I looked at BJ and said I was going to go after him unless he talked me out of it. He insisted that we walk to the end of the ridge and glass a little longer. An hour of glassing revealed only a few mule deer and no more elk. So we returned to where we last saw the elk.
They were no longer there and we found ourselves scanning the entire bottom. BJ had spotted the top of a cow head disappear into a drainage and after careful examination of nothing coming out we were sure that that was their resting place for the day. I told BJ that I was going to make my move and see what I could find. He decided to stay on top and watch the events unfold and said good luck. With the adrenaline pumping through my veins I slowly eased my way down the ridge and to the top of the drainage. From there I could see a cow and calf bedded together just over 100 yards away. Some quick glassing revealed the bull bedded under a rock outcrop just to their right. At the top of the drainage was a group of juniper trees that I slowly worked my way to for cover. At this point the bull was now 71 yards away. My plan was to sneak around the juniper and try and get a shot, but upon review there were some cows bedded just below it so I realized that I was going to have to go through the junipers to get a shot. This seemed easier said than done with the amount of debris and branches that I was going to have to go through. I decided to take off my boots and do it in my socks in hopes of making less noise. Slowly making my way through I eventually found myself at the other side. Through the base layer of branches I could see the bull still in his resting spot. After ranging him I found myself now 58.5 yards away.
My hands were shaking and my palms were sweating at this point due to the excitement of the stalk. So I laid there for roughly a minute calming my nerves and getting ready to draw my bow and stand to hopefully take a shot. Well once I gathered myself I assured his distance by ranging him again and decided now was the time. I slowly drew back and stood up. Placing my 60 yard pin on the bottom of his front shoulder I slowly squeezed the trigger on my release. The arrow hit and the bull quickly stood up to look around. Completely unaware of what had happened the bull stood there as a red wound revealed itself in the crease behind the bull’s front shoulder. A perfect shot. Not having a clue the bull turned around and looked down the drainage at his cows. I decided to take another shot since I was given the opportunity. A 55 yard second shot hit directly behind the shoulder again with the two entry holes within inches of each other. He jumped a little after being hit this time, but still did not run. He slowly walked down the drainage and after only 15 yards found himself tipping over. I cannot put into words the feelings that were running through my body. He may not be a big bull, but he was my bull and still in velvet.
Well as they all say once they are on the ground the work starts and that was the truth. After punching the tag and taking a few photos we were quickly boning out the elk and slipping the meat into game bags. It was a grueling 1.5 miles hike out to the pickup up and down ridges. Adding to the terrain was the fact that split between the two of us was an entire elk and our gear. I didn’t think I could be any happier, but the relief I felt when I placed my pack on the tailgate added to the overall satisfaction. This fall has been very good to me so far to have the experiences that I have had and punch a few tags along the way. With a few more tags in my pocket and a long season ahead of me I look forward to making some more memories and enjoying a lot more sunrises.
By: Brett Dorak
Archery antelope season opened here in Montana on August 15th, and I found most of my timed bound between work and other life obligations. Even though I was busy I did manage two short outings without much success the first weekend. It wasn’t until a week after opener on August 22nd that my wonderful wife came home stating that she had spotted a decent buck on some public land just north of our house and instead of just shooting the bow for practice that night I should go after the buck instead. Well it was not a hard decision to make and in a matter of time and we were out the door. Like always Sheena is extremely helpful and understandable with my hunting addiction and she dropped me off where I could access the field and decided to pick me up when the hunt was over.
After being dropped off I found myself roughly ¾ of a mile away from the buck with extremely flat ground to traverse in order to close the distance. Using the limited topographic features that were there I slowly eased my way to within 250 yards. At this point the buck was in a cut wheat field feeding and I was on the opposing side of a barbed-wire fence. Waiting for the timing to be right I slipped through the field and found myself belly crawling roughly a couple inches at a time. In a short while I closed to within 170 yards of him as he bedded. At this point I decided to wait and see what his next move was. Of course as hunting goes he sat there for 30 minutes and then decided to feed in the opposite direction. It was at this time I told myself that this is the part of the hunt that can make or break it. So I decided to get aggressive. I double backed to the fence and used the higher grass that wasn’t cut along its base as cover. The buck was slowly feeding his way to a corner and I knew my only shot was to beat him there.
As I was crawling along the grass, luck would have it and I scared up five doves that decided to give away my position. The buck instantly looked my way and I was busted. Instead of running off though he was not sure exactly what I was, but knew that I wasn’t supposed to be there. At this point he was 140 yards away and a stare off for about five minutes ensued. He finally dropped his head and I hit the ground as quickly as possible and grabbed my bow. Noticing that the object that was once there was no longer his curiosity got the best of him. He started walking in my direction. I slowly got my bow ready and grabbed my range finder.
When he decided he was close enough he began to move parallel to the fence and I knew this was as close as he would get. So I ranged him through the grass and read 83.5 yards on my range finder. Practicing all summer out to 80 yards I was confident at a target, but had hesitations at an animal. I told myself if he would let me stand and clear the fence and get drawn with a solid anchor I would take the shot. He didn’t move while I stood and positioned my shot. With a slight squeeze on the release the arrow was on its way. It was a beautiful shot and was heading right for the mark. One of the loudest thwacks I have ever heard filled the air as the arrow hit and the buck took off running. He traveled 80 yards as quick as I have ever seen until it seemed like he decided to slam on the brakes. There he stood leaning at a 45 degree angle and with the use of my binoculars I confirmed that it was a perfect hit. In no time he was on the ground and I found myself standing over my first harvest of the year and another beautiful antelope buck. I owe this trophy to my wife who always tags along with me while I shoot my bow and most importantly for spotting this goat and getting me out of the house. Thanks so much Sheena, I love you!