Follow by Email

Friday, December 21, 2012

East-central zone closes to wolf hunting and trapping

Wolf hunting and trapping in the east-central zone will close for the remainder of the late  season at the end of shooting and trapping hours on Friday, Dec. 14, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The northwest and northeast zones remain open through Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, or until a zone’s target harvest is reached. The northeast zone also is approaching its target harvest and may close within the next few days. Permits are not zone-specific, allowing hunters and trappers to hunt or trap in any open zone.

The harvest target for the east-central zone during the late season is 10 wolves. Nine were registered when DNR initiated season closure on Dec. 13.
Hunters and trappers in all zones have registered a total of 114 wolves so far during the late season. The total harvest target for all zones is 253 wolves for the late season.

Wolf hunters and trappers must:

  • Register all wolves by 10 p.m. the day of harvest in order for the DNR to monitor zone-specific harvest levels. Registration is available via telephone, website or in person.
  • Obey zone closures, which become effective the end of legal shooting and trapping hours for the day on which a zone is closed.
  • Take responsibility for tracking season progress and season/zone closure each morning before hunting or trapping by calling 888-706-6367 or checking the DNR wolf hunting page.
  • Season status and harvest targets will be updated in real-time for each zone.
  • Return any radio collars when they bring wolves in for the mandatory wolf inspection and bring an ear tag along so that information on the tag can be examined and recorded.
  • Present the entire skinned wolf and pelt for inspection as outlined in the wolf hunting and trapping regulations so the DNR can collect data on wolves for population monitoring.
Complete wolf hunting information, including a map of the wolf zones, is available online

written by: MDNR

Thursday, December 20, 2012

193 Idaho Wolves Killed Since April 1st

According to a state records request submitted in November, as well as publicly available information on the Idaho Fish and Game’s website, there have been 193 wolves killed since April 1st of this year. The records request response contained information for documented mortality from April 1, 2012 to November 25, 2012. Since then an additional 23 wolves have been reported killed on the IDFG website.

According to the IDFG there have been 123 wolves killed in the hunt (2 were killed in last season’s hunt which lasted until June 30 in some areas), 43 were killed by USDA APHIS Wildlife Services, 13 were killed by trappers, 4 were illegally killed, 3 were killed by unknown causes, 3 were killed in vehicle collisions, 2 were killed by private citizens to protect pets of livestock, 1 died due to natural causes, and 1 was killed due to wounds inflicted by a hunter or trapper who didn’t recover the dead wolf.

Undoubtably the total number of wolves killed is significantly higher than what has been documented because many of the natural deaths and poaching incidents are not detected.

The IDFG also reports that 15 radio collared wolves have been killed since April and that there are 49 remaining collared wolves in Idaho.

By: Ken Cole

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Michigan DNR cuts antlerless permits in areas hit hard by EHD

Most Michigan deer hunters are well aware that epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) has reared its ugly head at historic levels in Michigan this year.

A viral disease that it transmitted by the bite of a fly called a midge, EHD causes deer to die from internal bleeding. It has been found in 30 counties in Michigan this year, mostly in the southern third of the state, though it has been documented in Clare and Osceola counties and is suspected as far north as Presque Isle and Benzie counties. This is the largest, most widespread outbreak of the disease in Michigan history.

First described in Michigan in 1955, EHD wasn’t seen again until 1974 and then not again until after the turn of the century. Since 2006, however, it has occurred at some level every year except 2007.
EHD is widespread across the Midwest this year, something that is thought to have been caused by last winter’s unusually mild weather as well as this year’s drought. The tiny flies (about one-tenth of an inch in length) that carry EHD typically breed in mud flats, and this summer’s drought has expanded areas where midges of the genus Culicoides can reproduce. In most years, those mud flats would be underwater.

“Other states around us – Indiana, Illinois and Ohio – have seen this more frequently, and some of them have it from one end of the state to the other,” explained Brent Rudolph, the deer and elk program leader for the Department of Natural Resources. “In Michigan, it’s been mostly restricted to the southern third of the state, though we’ve had a couple of cases that bounced up above the line.”

Rudolph said that states from South Dakota to Kansas have reported more widespread mortality this year than ever before. Deer with EHD suffer from high fevers and head toward water to seek relief. Their bodies are often found in or near ponds, rivers or creeks.

EHD tends to be highly localized; in some cases the disease causes large die-offs in part of a township while areas just a few miles away show no sign of the disease.

Often referred to by hunters as “blue tongue” – a similar, though different disease – EHD shows up in the herd in the summer months, after regulations have been developed for the upcoming hunting season.
The DNR has no estimate of total EHD mortality, though it has had more than 13,000 dead deer reported.
Rudolph said that EHD has never caused widespread or long-term impacts to deer populations, though local effects can be significant and can last for a few years.

“Until this year, we’ve never seen enough EHD in Michigan to cause population declines at a broad scale, but the southwestern corner of the state – Cass and St. Joseph counties – has had EHD a couple of years in a row, in 2010 and 2011, and now again this year,” he said.

Because of this trend, DNR Director Keith Creagh today signed an emergency order that decreases antlerless license purchase limits for deer management units (DMUs) where the most EHD-related die-offs have occurred. Director Creagh signed the order at the regular monthly meeting of the Natural Resources Commission.

Effective immediately, the purchase limit for DMU 486 is five private land antlerless deer hunting licenses per hunter. Also effective immediately, the public antlerless license purchase limit per hunter is two for each of the following DMUs: 012 (Branch), 034 (Ionia), 039 (Kalamazoo), 041 (Kent), 044 (Lapeer), 076 (Sanilac), 078 (Shiawassee), 079 (Tuscola) and 080 (Van Buren).
Individuals who purchased antlerless licenses prior to this emergency order are not required to return licenses. This order only applies to antlerless licenses purchased on or after Nov. 8, 2012.

“We’re encouraging hunters to use their best judgment,” Rudolph said. “If a hunter is in an area of an outbreak, backing off – or not taking an antlerless deer at all – is an appropriate thing to do.”
From the information that was received from numerous volunteers, a weekly EHD map has been compiled, which may help aid hunters with their harvest decisions. The map and other EHD information including how hunters can report sighting of deer (under Current Issues).

Deer hunters and others interested in deer management in Michigan are invited to join the Department of Natural Resources at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13, for “DNR Live: Deer” – a one-hour, online forum designed to answer questions from the public about the state’s deer population, hunting seasons, EHD, regulations and other topics. The online forum’s panel of DNR experts will include the Wildlife Division’s deer and elk program leader Brent Rudolph and wildlife veterinarian Steve Schmitt, along with Law Enforcement Division Assistant Chief Dean Molnar.

Written in:  Outdoorsnews

Man Kills 22 point buck

One Georgia hunter is celebrating a likely record kill. Fletcher Culpepper killed a 22 point buck Monday in Worth County, Georgia. The four-year-old deer weighed nearly 250 pounds. Culpepper says he almost didn't go hunting Monday because he just had surgery on his shoulder, but at the last minute he decided to hit the tree stand.

Written by: Jeff Wyatt

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Officials from West Michigan, home to several special events combining veterans and the outdoor activities, helped usher through state legislation that provides free hunting and fishing licenses for disabled veterans.
State Rep. Holly Hughes, who introduced the bill earlier this year, and Muskegon County Veterans Center Director Dave Eling were among the advocates for the new law signed last week by Gov. Rick Snyder. Beginning March 1, free hunting and fishing licenses will be available for any 100 percent disabled veteran applying for a license.


Eling, who presented Snyder with a military challenge coin in recognition of his efforts during the bill signing ceremony, described the free licenses as a nice recognition for the veterans.
"On behalf of all veterans in the state of Michigan, we are pleased that the Legislature has passed this legislation and that Gov. Snyder has signed it into law,” Eling said. “This will give 100 percent disabled veterans the ability to go hunting and fishing without the charge of a license. I am proud of Rep. Hughes for all of her work pushing this through."
Veterans who are 100 percent disabled can currently purchase hunting and fishing licenses at a 60 percent discount. Public Act 339 of 2012 waives the fees for any 100 percent disabled veteran who applies for hunting or fishing licenses in Michigan.
"Providing free licenses for disabled veterans is just a small token of our deep gratitude for their sacrifice for all of us," said Denise Gruben, manager of licensing and reservations for the Department of Natural Resources. "We want veterans to be full participants in outdoor sports. We're pleased to make these licenses available to qualifying veterans beginning next March under this new law."
More than 3,000 disabled veterans in Michigan purchased hunting or fishing licenses in 2010.
"This is a small token of our gratitude and a way to help those who have made such overwhelming sacrifices for our country," said Hughes, R-White River Township. "Helping these veterans enjoy the many wonderful natural resources our state offers can also help them find a sense of normalcy in their lives by being able to return to the places and outdoor sporting they love."
Based on the new law’s language, a “disabled veteran” refers to a resident who has been determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to be permanently and totally disabled as a result of military service or a resident rated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as individually unemployable.

By: Eric Gaertner

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Reading Body Language

Communication among white-tailed deer always has intrigued hunters. North American Indians used crude calls to bring deer close, but only in the past 20 years or so has deer calling caught on among modern day hunters.

However, most forms of whitetail communication witnessed by observant hunters are silent. Learning this body language can make you both a better and more successful hunter. Here are some messages to look for your next time afield.

The best known communication display among does and bucks is what I call the frozen stare, in which a deer’s body becomes rigid, its chin held high and its gaze locked on some item of interest. It’s used when danger is suspected (such as a hidden hunter) and other deer readily pick up on it.

Reading Body LanguageA deer also will stare in the direction of a perceived intruder, watching for any movement. Following a concentrated stare, the deer might appear to lose interest by dropping its head and seemingly forgetting about its subject. The deer then abruptly jerks its head upward to catch any errant motion. The game might last a few minutes and is sometimes embellished by the deer stomping the ground in an attempt to make the object of its concern reveal its identity and/or location.

The turret-like movement of a deer’s large, cupped ears is an additional form of body language. Although the ear’s main function is to amplify sounds, a rigidly held, flicking ear also alerts other deer that something’s up.

A deer’s white hind end is the transmitter for a variety of unspoken messages. The basic body language is for bucks and does to raise their tails and flare the long, white hairs as they flee danger, usually with the tail waving back and forth. Even the rump hairs might be stiffened and raised, making much of the rear end white. This familiar process is known as flagging. Conversely, a deer attempting to maintain a low profile will tuck its tail and draw in its rump hairs, hiding as much white as possible.

Reading Body LanguageDoes exhibit another communication, tail wagging, as they loosely flop their tails from side to side, signaling their fawns to follow. The tail’s casual movement isn’t one of alarm, but rather an easily-followed sign used to maintain contact with fawns while feeding, traveling at night or when moving through understory.

Both bucks and does flick the horizontally held tail in a side-by-side motion to communicate. It’s employed when something’s believed to be amiss but doesn’t necessarily result in a deer immediately running from danger.

When a deer shifts its tail signals from flicking to horizontal hold — usually accompanied by a hard stare — it warns others that something’s not right.  But the deer might not have made a decision as to what it will do. A hunter scoping a deer should be forewarned that his target is about to bolt when the tail shifts from its normal, downward position to horizontal and then vertical. If the deer decides it’s a false alarm, the tail will drop back into its normal downward position.

By the time the fall rut rolls around, herd bucks that spent the summer in one another’s company will have established a social hierarchy based on interaction, aggressiveness and rack sizes. Small bucks might show their submission by grooming and licking dominant bucks on the head, shoulders and back. Direct eye contact by the younger buck, as usual, is a no-no.

Big bucks shielding their does from lesser bucks will render a hard gaze, laying back their ears and walking in a stiff-legged gait with their antlers directed forward. Even when bedded, subordinate bucks will not face dominant bucks, thereby avoiding accidental eye contact and a possible scuffle.

by Tom Fegely

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Time to Get Ready for Hunting Season

With slightly less than a month remaining between now and the beginning of hunting season here in Ohio, and a couple of months until archery season, it is time for hunters to begin gearing up and getting ready to hit the woods this fall.

Most hunters have their own pre-season rituals but there are a few things that every hunter should do to get ready to avoid surprises, some of which may even be potentially dangerous, and I’ll cover a couple of those now. On the other hand, if you like surprises and danger, then you can stop reading now.

First, honestly ask yourself if you are actually ready to head into the woods or to climb a tree; sedentary lifestyles and poor fitness and dietary habits have a way of interrupting your plans the first time you have to hike into and out of the woods, drag a dead deer, climb a tree, saw limbs or many other physical activities.

Putting up a tree stand is hard work when you consider all the steps that are involved. Fortunately there is still time to get out and do some walking or shed a couple of pounds before hunting season. As always, talk to your doctor before you start any serious fitness program.

One thing you should do is get out in the woods and visually inspect your hunting areas; your favorite tree stand tree may have blown down, or trees may have fallen across your access roads – especially this year after the big derecho. Of course someone may have put in a new logging road or new house right next to your hunting grounds. There may not be much you can do about the new-found situation, but at least you will be spared an opening morning surprise.

Changes can also alter wildlife travel and resting habits; windfalls may allow more light into the understory creating the opportunity for more undergrowth and vegetation. These are mostly natural changes and create a little diversity of habitat.

If you are like most hunters you are probably going to rely on an all-terrain vehicle or utility vehicle to haul you and your hunting equipment into the woods. Most ATVs are very reliable but that doesn’t mean you should neglect basic maintenance like checking or changing your oil, maintaining your tire pressure, checking or replacing your brakes or making other recommended changes and adjustments. The time to find out you have a bad battery is not when you loading or unloading your ride into the back of your pickup truck. A little TLC will help ensure your steed doesn’t let you down when you need it the most.

If your bow or gun hasn’t been out of the closet since last fall you’ll need to get it out and, first, make sure it is in safe working order, properly cleaned and tuned, sighted in or adjusted. Then invest a little time and ammo in making sure it’s still shooting straight. One thing many aging hunters don’t consider is that their eyes may have changed over the past year, or they have a different glasses prescription or new lenses that drastically change the way things appear through a scope or through sights. In any event, you want to make sure you are capable of making a good shot and a swift, humane kill.

Tree stands? Check them out carefully, paying particularly close attention to any weight-bearing straps or cords that may have abraded or rotted during the off season. Practice putting it up, and don’t neglect checking out and adjusting your harness.

Don’t forget to purchase your hunting license and any necessary tags! Familiarize yourself with any changes that may have taken place in the game check or licensing systems in your state. Peruse the updated hunting laws and seasons because there may have been changes during the past year.

The above is by no means an all-inclusive list of pre-hunting season activities, but they should be at least a good starting point to help make sure you and hunting buddy have a safe and enjoyable season!

by Jim Freeman

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

'Goat man' in Utah mountains identified as hunter

A man spotted dressed in a goat suit among a herd of wild goats in the mountains of northern Utah has been identified as a hunter preparing for a Canadian archery season.

After a hiker spotted the so-called goat man on July 15 in the mountains above Ogden, about 40 miles north of Salt Lake City, wildlife officials said they wanted to talk to the person to be certain he was aware of the dangers as hunting season approaches.

They speculated he might have been an extreme wildlife enthusiast who just wanted to get as close as possible to the goats. A few days after the spotting, state wildlife authorities received an anonymous call from an "agitated man" who simply said, "Leave goat man alone. He's done nothing wrong."

This week, however, the mystery was solved.

Phil Douglass of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said he received a call Monday from a 57-year-old Southern California hunter who explained he was merely trying out his goat suit in preparation for a mountain goat hunt in Canada next year.

"He gave me enough details about the area and the situation that it made me feel confident this was him," Douglass said Tuesday.

"In talking to him, I felt he was very knowledgeable, a very experienced hunter. He's hunted internationally," Douglass added. "My concern all along was that this person needed to understand the risks, and certainly after talking to him, I felt he was doing the best he could to understand and mitigate those risks ... He was simply preparing for a hunt."

The man did not identify himself, Douglass said, noting the hunter was concerned for his safety after widespread media coverage of the sighting, first reported by the Standard-Examiner of Ogden.

Coty Creighton, 33, spotted the goat man July 15 during his hike. He said he came across a herd, but noticed something odd about one goat that was trailing behind the rest.

"I thought maybe it was injured," Creighton said last week. "It just looked odd."

He said he pulled out binoculars to get a closer look at the goats about 200 yards away and was shocked. The man appeared to be acting like a goat while wearing a crudely made costume, which had fake horns and a cloth mask cut-out eye holes, Creighton said.

"We were the only ones around for miles," he said. "It was real creepy."

Douglass said 60 permits will be issued for goat hunting season in that area, which begins in September, and he had worried with the man in the goat suit might be accidentally shot or could be attacked by a real goat.

He said the hunter described the goat costume as merely a hooded painter's uniform and a fleece.

Douglass said wildlife officials encourage archery hunters to practice their skills and to "get themselves in a position where they make a clean and humane shot."

"That's exactly what he was doing," Douglass said. "There are laws that require people to wear hunter orange during rifle hunts, but people do wear camo during archery hunts."

And while it's not illegal to dress up like the animal you're trying to kill, Douglass said it's still dangerous.

"It's unwise," he said. "It's just a bad idea all the way around to do that kind of thing."

by Brian Skoloff 

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Good Hunting Buddy Lost

My friend John Dick died today. I wish you’d have had a chance to meet him. If not him, I at least hope you meet somebody like him someday. You won’t forget them.

John Dick and his favorite things - his family, represented by grandson, Harrison, right, his Lab, Molly and a good batch of ducks.

He wasn’t the very best goose hunter or the best deer hunter, but everything he did outdoors, he did danged well.

When he blew a duck call it sounded like there was a hen mallard beside you. If he said a distant flock had five pintails and three wigeon, it did.

If he handed you his knife it would be clean and scalpel-sharp.

But John was an even better hunting buddy than a hunter. When he asked how you were doing he really wanted to know, and he’d asked about your kids and wife by names, and wanted full details on how your dog was hunting.

He never hogged a conversation, but what he said was worth hearing…and often funny.

If  you shot at the same bird and it fell, he’d be quick to congratulate you, swear you hit it when chances were he downed the bird.

When he bought and furnished a small house near our duck spots it was instantly open to all of his friends, and he expected you to hit the ‘fridge and bring your dog inside “John’s Quack Shack.”

We were at his Quack Shack a few winters ago and whipping up a monster bunch of gumbo for the crew. John was petting his beloved Lab, Molly, while talking about family and friends. I noticed he repeated himself  and couldn’t remember things he had known well.

John knew something was wrong, probably seriously wrong. A brain tumor was diagnosed within a few days.

Rather than self-pity, John wasted no time getting his affairs in order and spending quality time with his family. He called me out of the blue, just to say how much he appreciated our friendship. It was a classy thing to do.

Brain surgery is never easy, and sometimes the surgery ends up being threatening, too. So it was for John, unfortunately.

As time went on, John became more and more the illness and less and less of the true John. I’m sure it was hell on his family, though they stuck by him admirably, and it was certainly hell on John, too.

But this afternoon he again became the old John, which is how he’ll be remembered.

He’s in a place where the mornings are cold but not brutal, the wind’s steady at about 15 mph out of the north and every day is opening day. If he gets his just rewards every passing flock will turn to his calls and his beloved pintails will be as thick as bees around a shaken hive.

I’m not sure who he’ll be hunting with in Heaven, but they’ve just gained a heck of a hunting buddy.

I hope I live a good enough life to hunt with John Dick again, someday.


Read more here:

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Why hunting your own dinner is an ethical way to eat

Growing up, I didn’t know anyone who hunted. Hunters, I figured, were probably just barbaric gun nuts. Then, eight years ago, I moved from Manhattan to rural Oregon, to write for a small newspaper. My perspective shifted when I began interviewing hunters for my articles and realized that although I had long considered myself an environmentalist, these hunters – most of whom scoffed at the “E” word – were more knowledgeable and thoughtful about animals and nature than I was.
Eventually, I decided to buy a gun and join them. But don’t worry, I’m still an environmentalist, loud and proud.

Five Reasons Why Hunting a Wild Animal Makes an Ethical Dinner: 

1. Hunting has a light environmental footprint
No antibiotics, artificial hormones, pesticides, herbicides, or unnatural feeds were used in raising this meat. Unlike farmed animals, a wild one doesn't contribute to soil erosion, water pollution, or the displacement of native plants in favor of a monoculture. No land is tilled to feed a wild animal, so additional carbon isn’t released into the atmosphere.

2. Wild animals aren’t subject to the misery of factory farming
My venison was never confined, castrated, or branded the way most farmed steers are. My duck was never caged, de-beaked, or toe-clipped the way most domesticated poultry is. Wild animals, unlike many domesticated ones, aren’t bred, fed and medicated to achieve rapid weight gain so that they can be killed at just a few weeks of age.

3. None of the meat is wasted
After I shoot an animal, I gut it and butcher it myself (or, in the case of an 800-pounds bull elk, with some help from friends). This way, I know the meat was handled safely. I don’t have to worry about listeria or trichinosis. And I’m confident that as much of the animal as possible is used. To hunt and butcher an animal is to recognize that meat is not some abstract form of protein that springs into existence tightly wrapped in cellophane and styrofoam. Meat is life. So I seek out recipes that make the most of it. I cook it with care. I share with friends and family. I make sure eat every bite gets enjoyed.

4. Hunting pays for conservation
To hunt for elk this fall, for example, I’ve already bought an Oregon hunting license for $29.50, paid $8 to enter a lottery for the right to hunt in a particular spot, and purchased a $42.50 tag. That means I’ve already paid $80 toward wildlife research and habitat protection in my home state. Bird-watchers and hikers haven’t paid anywhere near that much.
With approximately 12.5 million hunters nationwide, we’re talking about real money. Proceeds from the Federal Duck Stamp – a required $15 annual purchase for migratory waterfowl hunters – have added more than five million acres to the national wildlife refuge system. And federal excise taxes on hunting equipment and ammunition garner more than $200 million a year for wildlife management and the purchase of public lands.

5. Hunting promotes conservation
To hunt is to participate in the ecosystem rather than just watch from the sidelines. When I track an animal, I use all of my senses to take in my surroundings, as if I were a wild animal myself. So by the time I actually shoot something, I’ve developed a deep connection to the species and to the land. I considered myself an environmentalist before I started hunting. But back then, all of my reasons for conservation were theoretical. Now that I hunt, I have a real-life, vested interest in seeing places – and wildlife populations – preserved in the long-term. Someday, I want take my son hunting in all of my favorite spots.

Lily Raff McCaulou

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Passion For Bowhunting Unites Family

Long before husband and wife bow-hunting teams were part of the outdoor TV landscape and long before there were outdoor programs dedicated to getting women involved in the outdoors, Janice Maxfield was bowhunting. Janice fell in love with the sport when her boyfriend and future husband Joel Maxfield, introduced her to the sport.
“I grew up in a family that enjoyed the outdoors,” says Janice Maxfield. “As a child,
I fished with my brothers but it wasn’t until I met Joel that I got into bow-hunting. We
weren’t dating long before I realized if I wanted to spend time with him, I better take up bow-hunting because that was what he spent all of his time doing.” Things haven’t changed much in the last 20 years. Both Janice and Joel work for Mathews Archery. Janice is the new accounts manager, and Joel is the vice president of marketing. Since they work for Mathews, they probably get to hunt more than the average person. Even though Janice has been able to bow-hunt big game across the country, one of her favorite bow-hunting memories is when she tagged her first doe more than 20 years ago. 
Janice recalled, “Joel and I often hunt near each other but not in the same stand. That was the case on this particular hunt. I was in the stand by myself and he was hunting another area. We were dating; I was 18 years old. When Joel pulled up to pick me up after hunting, I was already down from my stand waiting for him. He assumed I got cold and quit hunting. When he found out that I had shot a deer, he was so excited. He picked me up, hugged me,  and twirled me around in a circle.”
Years have passed since Janice killed that first doe. Through the years, her passion for bow-hunting has grown. Janice and Joel have as much passion for bowhunting as anyone I have ever seen. Having spent some time with both of them, I can tell you that Janice is as hardcore as any bow-hunter you will find in the woods.
“I love bow-hunting and the sport of archery. I think shooting a bow and bowhunting are fun” she said. “I like being in the woods and enjoying the solitude that comes with it. I like the fact that bow-hunting season is long so I don’t feel rushed like I do when I’m gun hunting and there are only a few days to fill my tag. I also like being able to travel to different states to bow-hunt. Since the bow seasons are so long in most states, there is plenty of time in the fall to travel around and hunt.”
Janice gives a lot of credit to Joel for all he does to prepare them for the fall season.“Joel loves bow-hunting and preparing for the hunt. He spends a lot of time scouting and hanging the stands which makes it easier for
me,” Janice explained. According to Joel, he helps but he doesn’t have to hold her hand.
“Janice has been bow-hunting a long time and doesn’t really need my help. I spend a lot of time on the road in the fall and she goes out on her own and bow-hunts,” Joel said. “After all these years, one of the things that amazes me about Janice is her unique style of bowhunting. There are times she calls me and tells me she
shot a buck. I start asking her questions about the shot or where she is hunting. When she explains herself, I think to myself, ‘I don’t think I ever would have done it that way, but wow! Great thinking.’ She just has a way of getting the job done.”
Long before Mathews Archery, Joel co-owned an archery pro shop and Joel and Janice participated in a local archery league. Janice says that is where she fine-tuned her archery skills. “Joel has always been a great teacher but the local archery league we participated in years ago had a few women that were shooting in the league. Many of them took me under their wing and gave me a woman’s perspective on archery and bow-hunting. I think that really helped me when I was younger,” Janice noted.
One thing is certain: Janice, like many bowhunting fanatics, has taken her fair share of trophy bucks and is calm and collected in the process.
“I don’t often score the bucks I take. That isn’t the most important thing to me. I have taken  bucks as big as 150 and like most hunters, I have to work very hard for the bucks I get. Many of the deer I have taken, I shot on the last day of the hunt or even the last half-hour of a hunt,” she said. “I am very patient and can wait if I have to. If you want to kill big bucks, you have to let the smaller bucks pass by and wait for the big
ones. I think I do a good job at that.”
There is no question that women, in general, are more patient than men ... and that is also true in the woods.
Janice and Joel have a son, Andy. Just like his mom and dad, Andy caught the bow-hunting bug. “One great thing about our family is we can go on hunts together. Joel spends a lot of time on the road hunting in the fall,” Janice said. “Andy and I meet up with him every chance we get so we can hunt together as a family. Andy has taken a number of different animals with a bow including whitetails and bear. Recently Joel took him on a bison hunt and he got a bison with his bow. That was really cool!”
Like all of us, Janice has a few deer hunting stories that stick out in her mind that she will always remember.
“A few years ago, my parents died a few months apart. My dad died in August and my mom died in December. I killed one of my biggest bucks that year in November before my mom died. My dad had just passed away and I didn’t feel like going on a hunt, but I went anyway.  I tagged my buck on the first day of my hunt in Kansas. Joel and our son, Andy, were there so it was very memorable as a family. I rarely tag out on the first day so it was very special. It was like my dad was there with me. Joel filmed the hunt, which made it special because we rarely hunt side by side. Usually someone else is filming my hunts. I have now taken several bucks out of that stand.”
Janice recently took a mule deer buck at almost 60 yards. That hunt was also very memorable. “I have spent most of my time hunting whitetails so going out West to hunt mule deer was fun. Spot-and-stalk hunting is a lot different from sitting in a tree stand. We had a few blown opportunities during those six days before I actually scored, but in the end, I got a nice buck and had a great time,” she said.
Joel, Janice and now Andy have become familiar faces on Mathews TV, a show hosted by Dave Watson on the Outdoor Channel. Being on film has added a different dynamic to bowhunting for Janice.
“Being on film can be tough,” Janice said with a laugh. “Sometimes when I am being filmed I have to pass on shots I would usually take because the camera man doesn’t have a good view of the buck. Other times we have to quit early because of low light. Filming for TV isn’t always fun, but I will say it can be fun to look back at footage and relive a certain hunt. It takes away from the solitude a bit but over the last few years of being filmed, I am getting used to it and am fine with being on film now.”
When Janice started bow-hunting, Joel set up a bow for her that was designed for a man. All the gear she used was tailored towards men. Times have changed and Janice believes that is a good thing.
“When I got into bowhunting, there were some women in the sport but not many. Over the years, I have taken women under my wing and introduced them to the sport. It is much easier getting into the sport for women than it was 25 years ago. Now there are bows designed for women,” Janice said. “I think that is great and I always encourage women to get involved in archery and bow-hunting. It’s a great sport for
the entire family.” 
In a day and age when so many bow-hunting folks want to be hunting celebrities and see their faces plastered all over television, it is refreshing to interview people like Janice and Joel. Both of them love bow-hunting, not fame. Janice is an accomplished bow-hunter who isn’t one to toot her own horn. In fact, she doesn’t talk much about her bow-hunting accomplishments unless others ask. The Maxfield family has built a life around the sport of bow-hunting and were just as passionate about bow-hunting before they worked for Mathews Archery. You might see Joel, Janice and Andy on TV but that is not what is important to them. Spending time together doing something they are passionate about is what is important to them. Bowhunting is one of those unique sports that can bring a family even closer together. It certainly has for
Janice, Joel and Andy.
By Tracy Breen

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fall Food Plots

By Mike Lambeth Fall is in the air and deer season is upon us, or soon will be in most states. The anticipation is finally over, so hopefully you have been shooting your bow or your favorite rifle all summer, and your shooting eye is honed. Do you have a spot picked out on your hunting grounds, where you hope to ambush a big buck? Maybe, you have hunting property you’ve just acquired but are not really sure where to start. If this article finds you unsure of what to do to have a good deer season, maybe you should consider planting a food plot.
That’s right, now is the time for a fall food plot. In most states fall plots need to be planted by September 15, however, in many southern states temperatures have been unseasonably warm, so if you’ve missed the planting window, hurry and plant now!
Before you spend time and money on seed and preparing a food plot, first consider this: What are your reasons for planting a food plot? Do you want to plant a plot to provide supplemental feeding for the deer on your property? Are you interested in planting a plot that will attract deer, so you can hunt over it? Maybe you want to grow a food plot so you can observe deer from a distance. If you answered yes to any of these questions, you can glean some insights below from a knowledgeable wildlife biologist.
Certified wildlife biologist’s Grant Huggins and John Holman operate Fresh Tracts, ( or 580-223-3332) a comprehensive wildlife management service. Their multi-faceted business helps to educate landowners on stewardship, whitetail management, fisheries management, and land management. In a nutshell, these guys are pro’s when it comes to answering questions on making your hunting spots better for whitetails. With over 40 years of combined experience these guys definitely know their stuff!
Huggins believes that deer need more than 14 percent of crude protein in their diets if they are going to be healthy. “Optimally” he said, “16 percent is better and more desired.” “When the higher protein level is achieved it does two things: Does have better milk for fawns, and bucks grow better antlers.”
The savvy biologist agreed that planting a fall food plot will help insure the health of your local deer herd, while increasing your odds for hunting success. Huggins suggests planting a fall  food plot with a mixture of three small grains - oats, wheat, and rye - which ironically is generally the order in which the deer will eat the crops.
Oats will grow first and flourish until eaten up, causing the deer to move on to the wheat and then the rye, which is the heartiest and resistant to cold temperatures. Huggins cautioned that rye grows best in a sandy soil, while wheat does best in a heavier soil base like clay. “All of these seeds are considered annuals, however, rye is better able to re-seed itself,” opined Huggins.

Can one seed blend grow nearly year round? According to Huggin’s research,
While doing graduate work at Texas A&M, Huggins became aware of a seed blend that will flourish in most areas, and actually provide a high-protein sustenance that continues for nine months.
“I like to call it a ‘slam dunk’ mix,” opined Huggins. “The blend consists of 40 pounds of a small grain like oats, wheat, or rye, 40 pounds of a hearty legume like iron and clay cow peas, and 10 pounds of arrow-leaf clover.” Huggins explained the science behind the super blend. “I like to plant oats because they usually last until spring when the weather starts getting hot,” he said. “The cow peas generally are the first to germinate in the fall - usually with edible amounts two and one half weeks after planting. This is an excellent food source for early bow season, however, the first frost will usually kill it out, but the oats are growing and become the food source. In April, the clover starts growing in the hot weather and will sustain the whitetails until July.” Huggins’ blend above is formulated for one acre of ground.
Huggins says that getting rain soon after planting any food plots is an added booster, and that adding fertilizer is a step that shouldn’t be omitted. Remember the goal is not just to grow crops, it is to attract deer.
Once you determine where your food plot will be planted, hopefully you will have time to take a soil sample to have it analyzed by a local agriculture office. Most of these soil conservation stations will test your soil for a minimal fee and then suggest nutrients to make your crops grow better.
The next consideration is to decide how your crops will be planted. The two most common methods are plowing and then broadcasting the crops, which is usually the easiest and doesn’t require any expensive implements to accomplish. The other and probably best method is to drill the seeds directly into the soil. This method requires a seed drill which can be a costly investment. The drill must be calibrated precisely to implant the seeds at the prescribed depth.
Fertilizer is an expensive addition to a food plot, but necessary in the overall scheme of proper food plot management. Having a soil analysis takes the guesswork out of which fertilizer will work best.
Another excellent legume that southern whitetails love is Austrian winter peas. These hearty peas should be planted by September 15, however, if you hurry now is not a bad time. These deer delicacies germinate in 8 to 10 days and are able to be grazed upon in three weeks time. They work best when used in a mixture with a small grain and should be planted 15 to 20 pounds per acre. When using small grain with winter peas reduce the small grain mixture by 25 percent.
The best all-around soil for food plots is a sandy loam and experts recommend building food plots on land that is open, and easily tilled. Huggins recommends planting multiple food plots for the best success.
Another time-tested tip from Huggins is to build a small enclosure on a food plot to be used to evaluate the food plot’s growth. These enclosures only need to be four feet by four feet, and serve as an uninterrupted area to compare to the rest of the food plot. “It is easier to tell if your plot is growing much, and know how much of the perceived slow growth is actually heavy deer browsing,” opined Huggins.
Huggins said for hunters that choose to use game feeders in conjunction with a food plot might observe a few things. Game feeders will attract hogs in areas where the porkers are prolific. Huggins suggested that game feeders should be placed in areas outside of food plots. He explained, “Because of the nature of wild hogs, you shouldn’t place a feeder on a food plot. Once the hogs find the food they will root up a large area around the feeder and eventually destroy your food plot.”
Instead, Huggins suggests hunters place the feeder within sight of their tree stands in another area off the food plot, and he advises that hunters can use hog panels to keep pigs away from the feed. Huggins says that corn is most widely used grain in feeders and serves as an excellent way to give deer energy, in the bitter cold snowy months where feed is scarce.
If you have never planted a food plot, give it a try. A food plot becomes a magnet for deer and will double your hunting pleasure. Call Grant Huggins at (580) 223-3332 and he will be glad to answer any questions. He is also available to do land assessments, formulate a wildlife management plan, why heck he even has a deer hunting school he and John Holman operate.
Finally, Huggins advises that on years when acorns are abundant, whitetails will eat the high-protein nuts first before any other food sources. So if your deer aren’t invading your food plot, find an area strewn with acorns and hang a stand. You’ll no doubt see what you’ve been missing.

By Mike Lambeth 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Blurry-Faced Hunter Kills First Axis Deer on Hawaii's Big Island

Don't sleep on Hawaii as a hunting destination. These days the beauty of the island and its natural resources are at risk as a result of a seemingly harmless act. Axis deer were illegally introduced to the island and like most deer have had no trouble adapting to the landscape and climate of Hawaii.

The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources is now trying to protect the The Big Island from the impacts of the axis deer (these deer have been living on Maui for decades). The deer have become known pests within the agricultural community and are threatening native and culturally significant plants on The Big Island, many of which are endangered to begin with.

Last year a partnership was formed between conservation groups and agricultural groups to address the threat of the axis deer on the Island. On April 11, 2012 as part of an official program to eradicate the invasive axis deer, the first axis deer was taken during a hunt on the Big Island, according to Big Island News.

The DLNR provided proof of the kill in a photo showing the hunter with the axis deer on his back. To protect the hunter's privacy they blurred out is face (seems a little excessive if you ask me).

It was only after a year of extensive field surveys, training and coordination with land owners and managers that hunting was decided upon as the most effective way to manage the axis deer population. The goal of the program is to eliminate the non-native axis deer population before Hawaii’s ranchers and farmers face the same problems now occurring on Maui and other places where deer populations are rapidly rising out of control.
The first attempt to bring axis deer to the Big Island for game hunting began in the 1950’s and 1960’s – a process which was halted by protests from the farming and ranching community who were already aware of the risks of this animal.

Now, over 50 years later, ranchers and farmers are again raising their concerns over the threat these deer pose – especially in light of recent flurry of reports of deer in areas dominated by local agriculture.

Islands typically rely heavily on imports, but Hawaii has been working toward greater food sustainability. That means protecting agriculture from the axis deer is a battle the state must win. Using the state’s hunters as a way to control the axis deer population will surely help. It’s a tactic that is used in suburban areas of many states in the lower 48 and it has proved to be successful. It’s the hunters who will save Hawaii from the invasion of the axis deer.

by Marc Alberto

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Get Your Rifle Ready for Hunting Season!

Content from

After almost thirty years in the gun business I have learned one thing that you can count on from one year to the next; as soon as the 4th of July passes, fall hunting seasons change from next season to “THIS SEASON” overnight.  It’s time to get your guns out and make sure they are ready for this season’s hunts.  First and foremost, you want to repair those little things that broke last year.  At the time you said, “No problem, I have a year to take care of that.”  Bad news… your down to a few weeks now. Clean that barrel for accuracyThe common problems that seem to carry over from one year to the next include scopes that have fogged up, broken parts like safeties, swivels, damaged sights, or stripped screws.  Most of these are simple little fixes that don’t really take that long to fix.  If you’re a do it your self kind of person then it’s time to get out to the garage and make some quick repairs.  If you plan to take this work to a gunsmith you had better head right over to his shop, you see; if he is worth his salt, he is already busy with a few dozen other guys guns.
Minor repairs are not the only things to consider.  Remember last year you swore you would have a better trigger before you took this gun out again?  Or, maybe you planned to have the stock bedded to improve accuracy.  Many shooters discover that the old scope is just too hard to see through in low light, after looking through their buddy’s scope one frosty morning last fall a new scope became a priority.  Even if you’re sticking with an old scope make sure the scope mounts and rings are tight and that none of the screws have broken off.  You would be surprised how many accuracy problems are simply loose scope mounts and rings.

One of the simplest things you can do to improve accuracy is to give that rifle a good cleaning.  Pick up the correct cleaning gear for your caliber.  The best cleaning rods are one piece-coated rods; they have no joints that can catch on the barrel during cleaning, potentially damaging the bore.  The coating is designed to allow the rod to slip freely through the barrel without acting as a lap that will cause scratches or undue damage to the bore.  There are many good cleaning solvents, if your rifle is new or has seen little shooting then a solvent to remove carbon and unburned powder will suffice.  If you have an older rifle that used to shoot well but then accuracy “suddenly” fell off, it’s a good idea to try a solvent that is made to remove copper fouling.  Simply follow the directions on the bottle, the maker tells you what method will work best with their product.  If at all possible clean the barrel from the breech to prevent damaging the crown.
A mistake that many shooters make when cleaning a barrel is to think that if a little cleaning is good them MORE will be better.  If solvent is left in the bore too long, some of them have the ability to pit the bore, especially those solvents containing ammonia.  For best results and accuracy, stick to the manufacturers instructions.  When your done cleaning it’s a good idea to wipe the bore down with a patch soaked with oil, like Rem OilÒ, Tri-FloÒ, Break FreeÒ, or one of the other high quality gun oils.  This will protect the bore in storage, be sure to wipe the bore dry with a patch or two before firing as oil in the bore can act like an obstruction and increase chamber pressure.
Once you have all the repairs and upgrades taken care of and the gun is clean its time to sight in.  If your rifle is unchanged from last year, and it was sighted in correctly at that time, then you can go straight to a 100-yard range for sight in.  If you have new sights or a new scope it is easiest and fastest to start the sight in process at 25 yards.  If your gunsmith collimated or “bore sighted” your gun in the shop that only promises to put you on the paper.  By starting close you can fire three shots to be sure where its grouping, then adjust the sights or scope accordingly.  Then fire another three shot group.  Once you’re centered up on the bull it’s time to move out to 100 yards and fire another group.  By starting in close at 25 yards you can save a ton of ammo, it can be hard to make adjustments if your not on the paper, at 25 yards the odds are pretty good that you will be on the paper if the gun has been bore sighted.
If you have a rifle that has a muzzle velocity of  2700 feet per second or more; and that covers most high powered rifles. You can use a rule of 3 when sighting in.  The idea is that the kill zone on a deer or antelope is about 6”.  In the chart below you will see that the “Trajectory Peak in Yards” is the point at which the trajectory of your rifle is 3” above the line of sight and starts back down.  The majority of all game is taken under 100 yards so this system will work for most all shooters.  An old-timer once told me always aim at hair and you will nearly always make a hit.  Check out the “Point Blank Range,” that is the point where your bullet will drop 3” below the line of sight, and you can shoot up to that distance without even considering hold-over, if your sighted in for the indicated zero.  Many shooters simplify this concept by sighting in 3” high at 100 yards.
Cartridge / Bullet Wt. Velocity Feet Per Second Point of impact @ 100 yards Trajectory Peak (3” high) at __ Yards        Target “zero” in Yards Maximum Point Blank Range (3” low) at Yards 10″ Holdover in Yards
243 Winchester   100gr.
25-06                    115gr.
260 Remington   140gr.
270 Winchester   130gr.
7mm-08              140g.
7mm Remington 175gr.
30-30 Win.           150gr.
30-06                   180gr.
338 Win.             225gr.
35 Whelen         200gr.
375 H&H             300gr.
The load data in this table is derived from published factory load data for the specific cartridges. Sights are assumed to be 1.5″ above the center of bore for these tables, as most scopes are at this height.
It’s not unusual to hear clients ask about a new custom rifle for THIS SEASON.  Frankly, by this time of year if a gunsmith says he can build you a nice custom rifle in time for an October 1st season, you should check his references.  By extension, if a gunsmith does not have a backlog you want to know why, before you invest in a custom rifle with him. The majority of rifle builders have a backlog of many months and delivery times of more than a year are common among the best builders.
Much of the reason for long delivery time for custom work is that it is handwork.  It requires the personal attention of an experienced gunsmith; most of them only have two hands.  Then of course there is the perennial problem with days being limited to 24 hours.  Bottom line, if your gunsmith has good references, be patient and you will get top-notch workmanship.

by Fred Zeglin

Monday, June 11, 2012

Michael Waddell’s Strategies for Early Season Deer Hunting

I love to bow hunt probably more than just about anything, and this is the time of year many of us live for. But we need to approach early season much differently than the rut. Bucks aren’t charging around reckless like they will be come November, but that’s okay. If we play our cards right, the early season could pay off much better than even the rut, simply because we’re getting the first crack at these big boys. Here are six tips that will have you driving a wallhanger home in your truck.

Scout It Out

Even if you’ve hunted a place a million times, scouting is important. Deer will stick to traditional patterns from year to year. However, food sources change, plots and crop fields might be planted differently, woods get cut, and swamps dry out or flood depending on the rain. All of this can affect where deer are bedding and feeding, the latter being the most important. In the early season, you’re going to focus on food sources as bucks try to beef up and prepare for the rut. Identify these spots and hang stands well before the season. Set up trail cams and spend time glassing where deer routinely enter a field or food plot. It’s hot, so deer will bed near food, which is everywhere at this time of season, so it’s important to have multiple locations pinpointed.

Know Your Food

You need to identify all of the potential early season food sources and hunt them as deer hit them. Woods will be greened up meaning there’s plenty for bucks to browse; however, they will still seek out the most nutritious foods. If acorns are plentiful, particularly on white oaks, deer will be there when they start dropping over any other food source. Plots planted in clover are good September or early October magnets; however, if agricultural fields of soybeans and corn are nearby, it will trump most small food plots hunters plant, particularly as the weather begins to cool.

Water Wonders

Deer get a lot of the moisture they need from the late-summer foods they eat, so if you live in an area with abundant flowing streams, flooded swamplands, or near large creeks and rivers, you’ll be wasting your time trying to set up along the edge of a creek, hoping to catch a big buck coming to drink. Odds of catching a deer in one drinking spot are thin. But if you hunt in drought-stricken areas such as Texas and Oklahoma or other dry areas, a stock tank or isolated pond can be a great spot to hang a stand. Scout the travel routes around the water source, identify where most of the tracks are made, and set up there to catch an antlered monster coming to the drink.

Don't Force It

A lot of stands are accessed by fields, which is where the deer will be feeding at dawn. If you’re hoping to score on a buck as it goes to bed in the morning, but the only practical way you have to get into your stand is through the field where he’s likely to be feeding, don’t go. Wait and hunt the spot in the afternoon.

Hold Your Shot

Bucks are likely still in bachelor groups the first week or two of most bow seasons. That means you don’t want to shoot the first buck that steps into view since a bigger dude might be right behind him. Note the make-up of these groups from trail cam photos and scouting. Identify the one you want in the bunch and try to hit him when he shows up with his buddies to feed. If you see one of his partners, you know your target buck is likely nearby.

Make an Evening Exit Strategy

Remember, if you walked through a field to your stand in the early afternoon, deer will likely be feeding in that same field when it comes time to go. Just blowing out of there after dark can spook that buck you’re targeting and run him from the area. Instead, mark an alternate trail that loops you deep through the woods and gets out without going near the field. Or, if nothing else, be prepared to sit tight until it appears deer have fed out of the field and moved on.