Most Memorable Hunt - My most memorable hunt was when I first started archery hunting a few years ago and got my first WV Black bear with my good friends Kendall Dingess and Chad Barnette. Kendall had a lot of bears coming into his deer blind and all three of us went to try and get me one. The bear actually stuck its nose into a small window, and I thought for sure it was gone. Within 10 minutes it came walking in front of the blind. After getting calmed down I took a 30 yard shot that landed perfect. This beautiful creature didn't go 40 yards from where I shot it.
Favorite Game to Eat - My favorite game to eat is elk even though I haven't had the opportunity to hunt one. My favorite game that I have hunted would be bear.
Favorite Game to Chase - I actually have two favorite Wild game that I like to hunt and that would be bear and whitetail. Although my dream hunt would be an elk.
Duck season is about to open for most of the country. Here in Texas, I’m just over a month away from being able to hop in a blind and hear the wings whistling through the air. It truly is my favorite time of year! If you haven’t done the proper preparation though, opening day can be a disaster. Here are a few things you should be doing now to make sure you’re ready to go when that great day gets here!
It’s likely you haven’t blown a duck call since the end of last season. Like anything, blowing a duck call requires consistent practice to sound smooth and natural. There are plenty of reasons to make sure your calling is on point once the season starts, nobody wants to be the guy in the blind who is told to put his calls down because he’s flaring all the ducks! Now is the time to throw those calls in your car, and start practicing every time you drive somewhere. Do that for a couple weeks and you should have your calling back to mid season form!
As your blinds have sat through spring and summer they’ve likely taken a beating, and who knows what kind of creatures have made a home inside! Now’s the time to get out and check your blinds. Make sure to patch up any holes that may have been opened up by wind or rain. Clear out debris from the floors that has blown in over the course of spring and summer, and remove any squatters. Nobody wants to get to their blind on opening day only to find that it has a huge hole in the roof, or worse, be greeted by a snake who has made it home!
If you hunt out of a boat, it’s time to make sure it is in perfect shape for opening day. There could be nothing worse than being dependent on a boat for hunting, only to have it not start on opening morning. Take your boat out to the lake for a day of October fishing if it hasn’t been out in a while. Make sure it starts up no problem, make sure the trailer is in good shape (grease the bearings if your trailer requires it!), make sure your boat battery is charged, and of course fix up your boat blind so that it is ready to go too! While you’re at the lake, take the boat for a short ride around the lake and let the outboard really run for a solid 10-15 minutes to make sure the entire system is working just as it should be.
There’s a good chance your blind bag is a jumbled mess from last season. Random shells, some random beef jerky, empty shell boxes, etc. It’s time to get that thing organized and get any supplies you might be out of. The last minute wal mart run the night before opening morning is rarely successful. Make sure now you’re stocked up on the essentials. Face paint, hearing protection, hand warmers, and of course ammo! Now’s the time to make sure your blind bag is not only full, but also organized so that on opening morning you’re ready to rock n’ roll.
The Sportsman’s Box is proud to announce new boxes to the monthly subscription service that delivers field-tested hunting and fishing gear supplies. The new editions include Sportswoman Original, Archery Editions, and Scout boxes.
The Sportswoman Original Box includes one to two items specifically for the female outdoor enthusiast in coordination with items from the Flagship Box. Customers should expect three or more items per box that are pre-tested by the Sportsman’s Box staff and field operatives. Female customers can sign up for one month ($39), three months ($37.50/month), six months ($35/month) or twelve months ($35/month). Each box includes four to six hand-picked, full-sized items.
The Sportsman’s Box takes great pride in creating a box that will translate into useful tools in the field. The company strives for an exciting experience for customers every time they open their monthly box and guarantee quality items from brands such as Browning, Cherokee Sports, Farm to Feet, Mossy Oak, and Remington.
Owner of the Sportsman’s Box Adam Whitehead explains his reasoning for the edition of the Sportswoman Original Box: “The edition of a box catered specifically towards the female outdoors enthusiast was an easy choice. The rise of women becoming interested in hunting and fishing is evident, and we think that’s great for the industry.
Whitehead continues, “As the leading Monthly Discovery Box service for hunters and fisherman, we believe it is in our DNA to assist women in discovering new gear designed specifically for the female hunter in mind, so they know we welcome more and more with open arms!”
Sportsman’s Box Field Operative Cara Holland expresses her excitement regarding the addition of the Sportswoman Original Box: “Sportsman’s Box gives me a surprise to look forward to every month. I love how the company is owned by hunters and outdoorsman like myself, so I know it will be products I need.”
Field Operative Cara Holland pictured with her most recent bow harvest.
Holland continues, “Now, with the new Sportswoman Original Box, it will be a great opportunity to find new items made specifically for women! I’m so excited for the addition.”
Whitehead reveals that there is an overlap with gear that both men and women use in the Original Boxes; however, the Sportswoman Original Box edition will include one to two items of gear that are designed and made specifically with the female in mind.
Customers who select the Original Box subscription can choose “Archery Edition,” which allows customers to customize their box to archery specific items. The Archery Edition boxes will include one to two items that are specific for bow hunters in conjunction with items from the Flagship Box. Selecting the Archery Edition will not affect the price point of the subscription services.
“The Archery Edition is something we’ve had planned since launch! We are excited to offer an edition that gives archers of all levels the ability to discover the new gear coming out for bow hunters,” Whitehead said.
Lastly, the Sportsman’s Box created a more budget friendly option for sportsmen and sportswomen—the Scout Box. The Scout Box starts with a monthly price of $25 per month and includes a sampling of gear from the Original Sportsman and Sportswoman Boxes. Customers can sign up for one month ($25), three months ($24/month), six months ($23/month) or twelve months ($22/month). The Scout Box is ideal for outdoorsmen that are new to the Sportsman or Sportswoman lifestyle.
An example of a Scout Box three month subscription
The Sportsman’s Box has been featured in Field and Stream, NRA BLOG, CARBON TV, Triangle Business Journal and more!
The Sportsman’s Box family is deeply saddened by America’s deadliest mass shooting in modern US history, the Las Vegas Massacre. The evil acts of one person claimed 59 lives on Sunday, Oct. 1, on the Las Vegas Strip, and an astonishing 527 people are still recovering from injuries.
As we watch the updates unfolding on the news, the hearts of all Americans break to see the people behind the number. We’ve learned of a nurse who protected his wife and ultimately lost his life. Another victim was a secretary at a school in New Mexico that was described by students as “the most kind person.” The number is shocking but learning of the victims and hearing their stories is truly devastating. Once a name and a face are attached to a number, it simply hits home.
Nearly immediately after the shooting and as events began to unfold through television and social media, a division soon emerged. The elephant in the room can not be ignored in this tragedy. As Americans, we must realize that the tragedy will spark issues regarding our right to bear arms.
Hillary Clinton tweeted the day after the horrific event, “The crowd fled at the sound of gunshots. Imagine the deaths if the shooter had a silencer, which the NRA wants to make easier to get.”
Clinton was ripped over her ignorant tweet about guns after the tragedy, and many Americans began to take sides.
According to the New York Post, White House Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders shared Monday, Oct. 2, that “It’s very easy for Mrs. Clinton to criticize, but I think we need to remember the only person with blood on their hands is that of the shooter.”
Sanders continued, “This isn’t a time for us to go after individuals or organizations. I think that we can have those policy conversations, but today is not that day.”
Clinton continued to spark controversy by specifically asking Americans to “stand up to the NRA.”
President Trump is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, and he’s made that very clear. Trump recently brought attention to the fact that tough gun laws had not stopped the thousands of shootings in Chicago.
The city of Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the country; however, in this year alone, 4,000 people were slain in relation to gun-related crimes.
In the upcoming weeks, division of the country will continue regarding our Second Amendment rights. One thing is for certain, the looming question on Americans’ minds is “Will their right to bear arms be infringed upon?”
The Midwestern sunrise peeped above the horizon, gleaming through the A-frame that overlooked hundreds of Canada Geese decoys. Inside the furthest left side of the blind were six women from six states with a shotgun in hand, seated anxiously upon buckets and coolers, and ready for the words, “take em.”
Caption – A volley of lesser Canada geese committing to the spread.
The energy was unreal that morning; one would think a 3 a.m. wake up call would reveal a rather lethargic crew, but that was simply not the case. We were alert and ready for the experience of a lifetime. The morning was epic. Gunpowder filled the air and barrels were hot; we hardly had an opportunity to pick up our harvests before another volley would start committing to the spread. That morning, we hunted with 17 people, and by mid-morning, a 17-man limit was on the ground.
Caption – Pictured left to right: the chocolate brown Labrador Retriever, Zee; Nicole Belke of Ilinois; Jenna Taylor of Florida; Sydney Broadaway of Alabama, Jessica Beyers of Texas; Sierra Langbill of Nebraska; Courtney Smith of North Carolina; Whitney Vau of California; and Kayla Hill of Kansas.
We walked behind the blind, high-fiving, hugging, and simply amazed at what had just taken place. It was certainly not your typical morning—a once in a lifetime hunt, many would say, but what I found most important was that the unforgettable hunt was shared with once in a lifetime friends.
Caption – Jenna Taylor (left) and Sydney Broadaway (right) share a hug after an epic morning.
Alabama, California, Florida, Illinois, Nebraska, North Carolina, Texas… There we all stood, overlooking our harvest, representing our states, representing women hunters, representing our passion—our shared passion—waterfowl. In that moment, we were one entity.
We will never forget our hunting trip with Big Kansas Outdoors, and to be honest, a part of me didn’t even care to reveal just how successful we were over the weekend. Oftentimes, people base a successful hunt on how many limits were harvested, but that weekend was more than just harvests or bands—the laughter, smiles, and memories trump everything else. I will cherish every moment with those ladies.
Caption – Sydney Broadaway shows off a pair of beautiful Specklebelly Geese.
We aren’t in Kansas anymore. This is true. But I’d give anything to be standing in an A-frame again with these ladies—and I guarantee they would say the same.
I hope you enjoy the pictures; they capture more and speak louder than any words I could provide.
A Special Thanks to:
Outfitter: Big Kansas Outdoors
Photographer: Hunter Forbes
We all understand the allure of chasing whitetail deer. If you've been fortunate enough to hunt them with any sort of firearm, you're no doubt well versed in how aware they are of their surroundings, how stealthily they can move, and how cautious, especially a deer that manages to survive a few hunting seasons, learns to be! For us bow hunters however, the pursuit of whitetail is much more intimate. Which often leads to many, let's call them....teaching moments!
Now, maybe you were born into an archery lineage, where your learning curve has been shortened and your education as a bow hunter has been a Coles notes of the lessons from those who came before you! Nevertheless, the raw beauty of our chosen craft, at least for this bow hunter, is that we will in fact, never graduate! That being said, there are a few things, when it comes to taking up your bow and quiver in pursuit of whitetail deer, that serve as a foundation to bring us closer to notching our bow tag before the last light of the season!
It may sound cliché, but I feel a great preface is "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." Believe me when I tell you, these words will flash in your mind like a Vegas billboard when the moment of truth is upon you and you watch that white flag bound away, leaving you doing your best Yosemite Sam impression! Let’s dive into a few pieces of advice to add to your quiver, and hopefully fill that tag!
Tip #1: Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
The point being, the more you step outside your comfort zone, the bigger your comfort zone becomes. Then, by mastering those discomforts, adapting to them becomes an unconscious effort and increases your confidence as bow hunter! For more tips on perfecting your technique, give the article "Floating the Pin for Better Arrow Groupings" on the Sportsman’s Blog a read!!
Tip #2: Know your distance!
When a deer starts moving into your shooting lane, being able to confidently know how far it actually is can be the difference between having grilled back strap and getting grilled back at camp!! Of course if your budget allows, you can buy a range finder, but what if your budget doesn't allow for that? Or maybe, like me, you've been in the situation where you aren't able to pull the range finder up without being busted! Here's a couple of tricks to put the odds back in your favor!
However you decide to improve your depth perception, be consistent, and you'll be amazed at how quickly you become surprisingly accurate!
Tip #3: You stink!!!
I know there are plenty of schools of thought on this and many a hunter claims they don't practice scent control. As a bow hunter, I can tell you it absolutely does matter! Every tree you touch, and plant that brushes you, is leaving your smell on it. A study from Mississippi State University, where the researchers pointed out that, similar to a dog, a deer’s sense of sense of smell can be 500-1,000 times stronger than that of a human. This allows them to sort out up to six different smells at any one time. Six. Different. Smells. Safe to say, their sense of smell is acute and not to be taken lightly. So what can a bow hunter do?
Tip #4: Move like a deer!
WHAT?!? Before you brush me off here, have you ever watched a deer move between where it sleeps and where it eats?
Now, I'm not suggesting that you log and level a trail to your ladder stand, or your specific trees for your self-climbing stand. What I am talking about is a man-made game trail. In the off season, clear your path of low branches that will snag you up, sticks and leaves that give away your every step, etc. Be as minutely invasive as possible, all while enhancing how stealthily you come and go from the area!
If spot and stalk is your method of choice, this tip is very relevant! Consider the deer moving through the woods again, their path isn't a straight line, and yours shouldn't be either. Move with the terrain; while you're scanning woods for your quarry, you should also be planning a route, assessing obstacles that lay ahead, and doing your best not to alert the locals of your presence. Years ago I had a great conversation with a game warden who also happened to be a very accomplished spot and stalk bow hunter! He advised me that when skulking through the woods, it takes him almost 45 minutes to cover 60 yards!! When he first told me this, all I could visualize was watching grass grow....but having spent a fair number of years in the woods now, and observing deer when they're relaxed, they do move surprisingly slow, and very attentively through the woods.
Another tactic to help cover my noise, whether it’s spot and stalk or moving into a new area that I wasn’t able to prep my footpaths, is to sound like a deer. I have a small mouth call (Primos lil’ shawty) that I have in my mouth while walking in. I use it to make small fawn bleats when I snap a twig or if there are a lot of dry leaves. This has actually put me face to face with a doe running towards my tiny bleats, I didn't have my head on a swivel and we surprised each other! Sometimes I’ll use one of my diaphragm turkey calls making small clucks and purrs as I move through the woods. The focus with this isn’t necessarily to draw attention to yourself, but make your noise seem natural, and not a cause for alarm!
Tip #5: Create Activity
This is another area that I've observed debate on! From pre-rut to peak rut, deer are putting out signs, and looking for signs from other deer- where they're going and what they're doing. For example, did you know that if you find scrapes in the same area, but say 50 yards apart, there's a very high likelihood that different bucks made those scrapes? As bow hunters, our goal is to get close to deer. Then, we need that deer to provide us a window to draw and put a pin on them. In order for that to happen, we have to give that deer something to focus on, and focus on it long enough to not notice us, giving us enough time to make a safe, humane shot! So what can we do?
Pick a spot under a tree with branches roughly 4 - 6 feet off the ground. Now using a stick, scrape and turn up dirt roughly the same diameter as a hubcap. Then, find a branch directly above and snap it without breaking it off. Now, if the laws allow for it, apply some for scent to the scrape! Why? Bucks aren’t the only visitors to scrapes my friends! Does in heat have been known to mark a scrape to let the bucks in the area know "I'm here and I'm ready!” As for the licking or activity branch, bucks will use these and leave saliva and rub the scent glands on the head on the branch to mark their spot, letting competitors and curious females know "this is my area, and I'll be back." It’s good advice too, to make your branch first, and then scrape under it, that way you can hang scent over the scrape and allow it to drip into it.
This has been a tactic for some hunters during the peak rut! Again, be sure to adhere your local laws prior to using scent! To do this, you simply apply some doe estrous scent and attach the drag to your boot or around your ankle. As you walk through the woods you'll be leaving a scent trail, that if a buck cruising for company comes across, he'll be on your heels! Another neat thing with the drag is, when you get your stand, you can remove it and hang it in a tree nearby to put the scent in the air, and also give that buck something to focus on, and a reason to stop for you! This can help cover your scent going in as well.
Just like we mentioned earlier in this pointer, pre rut to peak rut, all deer are looking for other deer. Whether it’s to challenge one another, intimidate, establish boundaries or breed, this means they’re listening for other deer. The scope of this is not to talk about calling technique and cadences, but rather to consider adding it to your arsenal if you haven’t already, and to hopefully provoke an “aha moment”. Rattling can get the attention of mature bucks looking to defend their territory, and also a doe looking for a strong dominant suitor. Grunting, snorting, wheezing and even bleating all have their place as well. They all offer one more thing for that deer to be looking for in the area (that isn’t you), and the sounds can also pique their curiosity and bring them toward you! Keep in mind these activities in the deer world are all purpose driven, and if put into practice at the wrong time, can tip a deer off to something being amiss, and you might as well have brought your mallard call into the stand!
As bow hunters, the name of our game is stealth, blending into the environment. The more proficient we become at this, the further the pendulum will swing in our favor. I challenge each of you, whether seasoned, or green to take a look at your own foundation, as you set out with your bow, and be confident that it’s solid. You’ve practiced, you’ve prepared the field, your instincts are honed and you’ve removed as much human error as you can! Only then will we be fortunate enough to have deer present themselves in these close quarters, as we nock and draw our arrow, lower our pin onto target, release our arrow to find its place, and feel that overwhelming flood of pride, accomplishment, and unfiltered happiness in tagging a whitetail during bow season!
Now, get out there!!
From launching the Sportsman's Box in March of 2015 to being featured in the latest USA Today Hunt and Fish magazine to serving thousands of sportsmen and women across North America every month, we strive to continue to improve our monthly service!
We are excited to announce our newest edition to the Sportsman's Box family, the Scout starting at a monthly price of just $25. Not only are our monthly boxes growing in popularity, but we are now the best way to discover new hunting and fishing gear!
Quality gear at a killer price! As a Scout edition member you are guaranteed to receive 3 to 4 products from the Original Flagship Box. These 3 to 4 products in the Scout edition are not just random trinkets or no name brands. We work with brands like Remington, Hardy Facepaint, Browning, Bison Coolers, ScentLok and many many more! Check out a few of our past boxes HERE.
If you have seen these monthly boxes going around and growing in popularity, the Scout edition is the perfect way for you to try it out. Use the code above and for just $14.99, receive your first box and join the fun.
Honestly, with that initial price we actually lose money, but we believe you will enjoy the service so much that you will want to keep your membership and continue to discover hunting and fishing gear every month for months to come!
Thank you for checking us out. We hope to have an opportunity to serve you and show you how much fun this monthly discover box can be! Don't forget to share the good news with your friends and family!
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We hope to serve you soon!
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When you begin elk hunting one thing that you will quickly figure out is that bull elk and cow elk are noticeably different in color. As a very solid rule bull elk are much lighter in color than cow elk. This holds for true for spikes and larger bulls, with older bulls often progressing to an almost white appearance. Now of course not every single elk’s color will follow this rule but rare variations aside, this rule holds true.
Elk and elk hunting have been such a large part of my life for so long that I typically can tell if an elk is a bull based on his color, body position, or movement long before I put glass on him. But the ability to quickly differentiate bulls from cows in the field is not a skill solely for experienced elk hunters alone. This rule is one of the very important first things that we teach our novice elk hunting friends. It’s amazing how quickly they pick up on it and employ it as a useful tool in the woods.
The following pictures distinctly show the darker color associated with cows and the noticeably lighter hide color found on bulls. In the first picture of the elk herd you can see how much lighter the bull (in the pond) is than the accompanying cows and calf next to him. The next two are Colorado bulls killed by my family. Again, notice the very light colored hides. Lastly, the cow photos show a very good representation of the darker hide on a cow elk.
Make sure to study pictures of elk prior to your next hunt to get your eyes trained to pick out this color difference. It will give you the ability to quickly distinguish bulls from cows at very long distances with your naked eye.
Hunt hard, hunt often and be out in it.
It’s been two weeks since Hurricane Harvey flooded most of southeast Texas. As the floodwaters recede, more and more stories are emerging about the first responders that were scouring the city of Houston rescuing those who had been stranded by the rising waters.
They showed up with boats, 4 wheel drive trucks, and rain gear. They wore camo, but they weren’t from the military. They were hunters and fishermen, who saw a need and showed up to do the best they could, to save as many people as they could.
This wasn’t a uniquely southern thing either, outdoorsmen came from all over the country. When everyone else was headed out of Houston, there was a caravan of 4 wheel drive trucks pulling boats heading into Houston from the North, East, and West almost as fast as the floodwaters themselves.
Here are some of the stories that have come out in the weeks following the storm.
I’m sure there are countless more stories of these camo clad rescuers that will stay between them and those they rescued. One things for sure, the skill, adaptability, and selflessness of the outdoors community was on display for the whole world to see during the worst of the storm. And those of us that are a part of that community could not be more proud of our fellow hunting and fishing friends. The death toll would have been much higher if not for the courageous acts of all of these brave men and women.
The work isn’t done yet, as there will be several months of cleanup and rebuilding in Houston. The outdoorsmen will still be there offering a helping hand wherever they can. That’s what the outdoors community is all about. I think Sally Jenkins said it best- “In Crises such as Harvey, you want outdoorsmen on your side.”
- Brandon Owen