If you’re like us (which we know many of you are) there is nothing more exhilarating that the feeling you get when you’re on a hunt. Nothing that tops the soft pine needles crunching beneath your feet, breathing in that crisp morning air, listening to the dulcet tones of a bugle as the sun comes up, and that perfect pause before you exhale and the bowstring snaps; letting your arrow fly free. To us, hunting is getting in touch with nature and providing. However, with this amazing sport also comes a load of responsibility. To us, being a bow hunter isn’t just being someone that enjoys going on hunts, it’s taking on the mantle of teaching the next generation what a hunter is. To us, a bow hunter is someone who understands the part they play in animal conservation, who hunts responsibly, respectfully, and ethically. It is for that reason that we created the Pro-Tracker recovery system; and why we continue to advocate for its use on any hunting trip no matter the skill level of the hunter.
One of the key reasons we created our Pro-Tracker recovery system is because of the ethics of hunting. As hunters, we feel you are required to do everything within your power to find any animal that you hit. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. In the article, Bow Wounding Losses THE BIG MYTH, David Samuel states, “It is disquieting to know that we probably wound one deer for every animal harvested 1.” Samuel believes this is due to the difficulty level in bow hunting vs. gun hunting due to how much more difficult bow hunting can be. In another article, Hit or Miss, by Glenn Hegeland he recalls hearing a hunter brag, “he hit four tonight,” only to then hear him mumble that he wasn’t able to find any of them 2.
According to Adrian Benke, “Archery wounding is the most denied problem in bow hunting and most ignored problem in wildlife science 3.” The main reason is the sheer skill required for the sport. In a study done by Glen Boydson and Horace Gore, they found that in order to guarantee success a hunter needed to be within 30 yards of a deer, make the shot completely undetected, and hit vital areas. Now, many of you will likely think, “Well I’m an experienced hunter, I can do that.” Truth be told, you probably can, however that study also found that experience hunters wounded more animals that novices. This is because while novices missed the animals entirely, experienced hunters had more hits and could release more shots in a short amount of time 4.
As a whole, the image that these quotes and facts generate is not one that we feel represents us as hunters, or our beliefs as hunters. Most of us believe more along the lines of Dwight Schuh who in his article, A Call for Accuracy, states, ”There is nothing honorable about hitting and losing an animal; it just means you screwed up 5.” This is why we feel that all hunters should include our Pro-Tracker recovery system in their hunting arsenal. If you get that perfect shot, or if that blood trail is going strong, then use those skills you spent years honing. However, if nature or life gets in the way and you lose your animal, let our recovery system help you to make sure you can recover it and take it home. Let the Pro-Tracker, ultimate recovery system help you to be an ethical hunter!
1. Samuel, David. “Bow Wounding Losses THE BIG MYTH.” Bowhunter Magazine
2. Hegeland, Glenn.” Hit or Miss.” Archery World. March/April 1998
3. Benke, Adrian. The Bowhunting Hunting Alternative. 1989.
4. Boydson, Glen; Horace, Gore. Various Wildlife Studies in Texas. 1972-1985.
5. Schuh, David. “A Call for Accuracy.” Bowhunter Magazine. Big Issue 1989.
As hunters our primary goal every time we go out is to hunt and recover our animal; not only because that is the point of the hunt, but because know that there is no feeling worse than knowing you injured, or killed, an animal and that after exhaustive searching it is nowhere to be found because of issues beyond your control; like no blood trail, rain, or the blood trail just quitting. Unfortunately, that exact thing happened to one of our owners and spurred him to create the Pro-tracker recovery system. We know many of you agree that this is an issue, and we hope that this will never happen to you, but this is still an issue worth reviewing. So, let’s take a deeper look, shall we?
• Even though deer loss was first presented as a serious issue via controlled studies performed in 1989, we are still experiencing at 18% wounding rate per 104 bowhunters.
• In a normal hunting season it is estimated that 908 white tail deer are hit, but only 746 are actually recovered. That means that there are approximately 162 lost, injured, or killed animals that are never recovered (1).
• In further studies it was found that most hunts they experienced had a 50% wounding rate; meaning only half of the hunters performed a kill shot on the first try.
• Of the animal’s injured by hunters in that controlled study, 14% of those lost, injured, or killed animals were never recovered.
• Furthermore, that controlled study found only 4% of these injured deer actually died from their wounds annually, which means 96% of these injured deer were left to suffer through life with a potentially debilitating injury (2).
• If you look at studies, such as this one by the Oklahoma Fish and Wildlife Agency, you’ll find that in their research they have found that 50% of the deer that were shot were never recovered, which to us is entirely unacceptable.
Upon further reading you’ll find that in this study there was a wounding loss of 14%. That means that 14% of those deer that were failed to be recovered sustained fatal injuries and one of those deer managed to survive with these injuries for 5-7 days before finally perishing. We as hunters owe it to these animals to ensure they suffer as little as possible, which means we need to recover them in a timely manner.
• In similar studies it was found that for every 8 deer shot and killed, an average of 9 were wounded (3)
We don’t know about you, but we find those statistics incredibly upsetting. Which is why we feel like our Pro-Tracker recovery system is such an important part of a bowhunters arsenal. Our system will allow you to hunt and track as you always have, and to enjoy taking advantage of the knowledge and skill those require, but when something goes awry our system will be there to help you make sure you recover your animals. Let our system help make sure you can hunt with confidence, and add our Pro-Tracker recovery system to your hunting equipment today!
1. Ditchkoff, Stephen S., Edgar R. Welch Jr., Robert L. Lochmiller, Ronald E. Masters, William R. Starry, William C. Dinkines. 1998. Wounding of White-tailed Deer with Traditional Archery Equipment. Proc. Annu. Conf. Southeast. Assoc. Fish and Wildl. Agencies 52:244-248. Website: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ronald_Masters/publication/237609363_Wounding_Rates_of_Whitetailed_Deer_with_Traditional_Archery_Equipment/links/54c63cdf0cf256ed5a9d4dfe.pd
2. Pedersen, Andy M., Seth Berry, Jeffrey C. Bossart. 2008. Wounding Rates of White –tailed Deer with Modern Archery Equipment. Proc. Annu. Conf. Southeast. Assoc. Fish and Wildl. Agencies 62:31–34
3. Adrian, Benke. The Bowhunting Alternative. 1989.
It’s April, and here in Idaho that means it’s time for spring turkey season and we can’t wait to get us some great looking toms! However, one key to getting that perfect trophy tom is taking time to pinpoint prime locations where those extra special toms are likely to be found. Taking the time prior to your hunt to scope out great roosting spots is definitely one of the most important preparations you can make to ensure a successful hunt. We also recommend having several potential roosting spots already chosen before your hunt so that if one of them turns out to be a dud, you have other options. This is also important because turkeys love to rotate roosts, so the more options the better. There is nothing more frustrating that having a poor hunt due to lack of preparation. So, in order to help you have a successful turkey hunt, here are some of our top tips to use when picking out potential roosting locations:
1. First off, you want to understand the bird in general. For the most part, you’ll likely have the best hunting near the first and last hours of the day (provided these fit within your legal hunting periods), and you should also remember that turkeys don’t like to roost near the crest of hills. Therefore, look for spots around ½ to 2/3rds of the way up a hill. Turkeys also love the sun, but hate the wind so look for hills, hogbacks, side-hills etc.
2. Understand where you’re hunting! If your terrain is flatter, look for meadows or tree clearings. If your terrain is hilly, check out knolls, if your terrain is more southern based look at areas near water with nice tree coverage.
3. Turkeys love to roost in big, old trees. Particularly on longer, larger branches. However, it should be noted that if no old growth trees are nearby, they will not turn up their beaks at a younger, skinny tree. Just look for branches that seem like they would make an easy perch. If you need help locating a potential golden turkey spot, make sure to check the base of your trees for evidence that it has been roosted in previously (like feathers, droppings, etc).
4. Look for areas with a good amount of food for the birds as well; remember turkeys are just like people and make sure to camp out near good feeding grounds!
Now that you know some awesome tips for helping you find your bird, the last key to success is making sure you are properly equipped. Make sure to bring outerwear suitable for the weather you’re hunting in, as well as potential rain or snow depending on where you live. Also make sure to bring snacks and lots of water. Turkey hunting is a game in patience, so you want to make sure you’re all set to hunker down for potentially hours. Last but not least, you want to make sure to bring your fully charged Pro-Tracker, ultimate tracking and recovery system. Turkeys are known to be wiley and smart, and you don’t want to risk finding your perfect bird due to a poor shot that allowed it to take flight. Even injured, a turkey can be speedy and an escape artist, so it’s important to have your Pro-Tracker system on hand to help you find your bird if your shot goes awry. Happy hunting everyone!Continue Reading
Ah, Saint Patrick’s day…the day full of frivolity, poor dress choices, and unappetizingly colored beers; and oddly enough one of our favorite smaller holidays. Why, you ask? Well, first off as hunters we fully support anything that revolves around the color green, especially when it gives us an excuse to have an office camo day. Secondly, we love it because it gives us the chance to enjoy some brews (preferably NOT the green kind), good laughs with people we love, and has a tendency to spur fantastic discussions about how this holiday marks just around a month until we get to kick-off turkey hunting season. We’ve also found that some of the best ways to enjoy a tasty adult-style St. Paddy’s Day is to have an awesome dinner complete with interesting beer and wild game recipe pairings. Not only does this help clear out the freezer to make way for this year’s game, but it gives you the opportunity to elevate your dinner with ease. So this month, we present to you some of our favorite wild-game and beer pairings. Salut!
1. Duck. We love us some duck! It’s tender, delicious, and pretty versatile overall. You can batter it and fry it, you can roast it; the limits of duck know no bounds. We have found though that duck tends to pair best with a little bit sweeter of a beer that has more of a fruit or citrus base. Fortunately, sweeter beers abound! We have found that some of our favorites include pairing a nice Kriek Lambic (like this one from Lindeman’s), a Doppelbock (we love Celebrate by Ayinger), or a Trappist ale (we recommend Trappist by Rochefort 8, or a lovely Chimay Cinq Cents). If those are a little too fancy or hard to find (because let’s be honest, sometimes your options are limited), any sweeter stout or Baltic porter will definitely go great!
2. Venison or Elk. Venison can be a bit trickier to pair, as it often has a bit more of a gamey flavor to it. Lots of people love and embrace the gamey flavor, while others prefer to mask it as best they can. We personally love the venison for what it is: nature-made deliciousness. Since venison tends to have a bit more of a bold flavor, we love to pair it either with a simple wheat if you’re doing burgers (like a Miller High Life, O’Dells Easy Street, or New Belgium’s Sunshine Wheat), or a nice Brooklyn Brown ale like Lost Coast’s Downtown Brown. The caramel undertones in addition to the malty quality pairs amazingly with the venison and does a great job of complimenting it by highlighting all the wonderful flavors, and masking any potential overly gamey flavors.
3. Wild Hog. Now, we have to say that one of our favorite things to pair with any type of pig (wild or not) is apples. We can’t say exactly why since we aren’t chefs, but there is something about that sweetness that just takes pork to a whole new level. So, of course, one of our favorite beer pairings is one with apples. Now, we know many of you will give us a judgmental brow for this one, but we insist you try it before you judge. We personally love the way Angry Orchard pairs with wild hog; particularly their Green Apple. The reason we prefer the green apple as opposed to the regular, is we’ve found that on occasion the regular Angry Orchard can be just a tad too sweet, where as the Green Apple gives a nice tartness that balances the flavors just right. If, however, you simply cannot bring yourself to drink Angry Orchard, Dubbels also pair quite nicely with hog, as do most Belgian Strong Ales or Stouts.
4. Turkey. With spring hunting season just around the corner, we couldn’t leave out one of our favorite birds! Luckily, turkey pairs great with quite a few beers allowing you a variety if you so choose. Some of our favorite beers to accompany a nice wild turkey are a good IPA (we recommend Julius by Tree House Brewing Co, Orange Starfish by the Aslin Beer Co, or Yellow Rose by the Lone Pint Brewery), a Saison like Hennepin, or a nice amber ale (we adore Levity by O’Dells Brewing Co). If we were you, we’d just make lots of delicious wild turkey in as many ways as possible and just explore the possibilities!
We hope you all enjoy our pairing recommendations, and hope that if you try them, you let us know what you thought (or even send a picture, we love pictures)! We also believe that any day is a special enough occasion for an awesome dinner party with some delicious beverages. We wish you all a safe and happy St. Paddy’s day and hope that you all stay safe. May your dinner clear you freezer, and your Pro-Tracker, Ultimate Tracking and recovery system help you to successfully fill it anew this year!Continue Reading
We don’t know about you guys, but we have had an awesome hunting season this year thanks to our Pro-tracker, ultimate tracking and recovery system giving us help when we needed it. Because of our luck we seem to have a good amount of antlers around, as well as lots of amazing sheds that we were lucky enough to find. Since we are all about using all parts of the animal we hunt, the question now is what to do withal of them? Well, we’ve asked each other and some other hunters we know and come up with some crafty ideas we think are pretty darn awesome. Better yet, we’ve included some awesome DIY videos we have found to help you guys with each project. Have some ideas of your own? Then let us know about it!
1. Make a chandelier. Now, this one can be both time consuming and tricky and may require some outside assistance, but when done right these can look amazing. Not only will your friends and family compliment you on your unique décor, but you get to inform them that you found and handpicked (and depending on your level of craftiness and electrical abilities, made) all the parts making up your awesome new home addition. Unfortunately, this is one thing that unless you have a large store of sheds to choose from, may take a few seasons to accomplish.
2. One of the ladies in our office is the crafty sort and loves to decorate her house with things she has made; and she has made some awesome things! Some of our favorites are a coat rack she keeps near her front door and a wine rack she keeps in her kitchen. The coat rack is great because it can be as simple as a lovely pine or wood board with small sheds screwed on, to a more complex standing rack with each shed branching off to allow maximum coat space. One of her personal favorites is the necklace/ bracelet holder she made so some of her favorite jewelry pieces from her husband can have a place of honor. All three of these ideas are surprisingly easy to make as well, which is a huge plus!
3. Make your sheds help you next season by making your own rattling horns! We all know there are tons of things you can use to mimic this noise while you hunt, but why not do it yourself! You can save yourself some cash since you’ve already got the supplies and we’ve also found that using real antlers gives the best, most realistic sound out there. For these, all you need to do is trim off the brow tines, use a Dremel to smooth any rough edges, and then use some paracord to make the antlers easy to transport and hang. Ta-da! All done!Continue Reading
Well everyone, it’s that time of year when Santa comes and we all spend a crazy amount of time trying to find that perfect gift for those that we love. We know shopping around for just the right thing can be time consuming and stressful; which is the opposite of what the season of giving is all about. So, we thought we would totally help you guys out! Here is a short list of our top 5 things we came across that made our inner children do a happy dance that just might be the perfect thing for that beloved hunter or huntress.
1. The Go Pro Sportsman’s Mount. What’s better than filming a great hunt? Well filming it from your perspective of course! This Go Pro is specifically made to attach to most guns (including paintball or airsoft), fishing rod, or bow; the only requirements is that it’s between 0.4” and 1.0”. You can put the camera on either a forward facing or reverse mount as well, in case you want to film a first time hunter’s expression when they finally get their first kill! The mount retails for $69.99 and can be found in most sporting goods stores. Need a Go Pro to go with your mount? Well those little guys generally retail for anywhere between $199.00 and $499.00 depending on the model and can be found in most sports and electronics stores.
2. The Pro-Tracker, Ultimate Tracking and Recovery System. The Pro-Tracker system is a must for any Bowhunter. The system has a small transmitter that attaches to the arrowhead and immediately disengages upon first impact; which allows for pass-throughs. The transmitter then hooks into the animal’s hide and begins sending a RF signal to a handheld receiver. The receiver gets updates to your animal’s location every 3 seconds and then gives you a digital readout showing right where your animal is. The system is lightweight, rechargeable, and water resistant with a battery life of 10-12 hours. This system is amazing and makes it so you have peace of mind. If traditional tracking fails you due to inclement weather, unfortunate hunting terrain, or darkness, then this system can help ensure that you find your prize and can take it home. Like to hunt in a group? Well the receiver can also be used for up to 6 transmitters, so if you’ve got a large family (or lots of friends) you can use this as a great gift for a group of people, or a great gift for a group of people to all chip in on! Retail is $699.95 and extra transmitters are $89.95.
3. Hunting Clothing Specifically for the Ladies. Well guys, the ladies in our office unanimously, and enthusiastically, voted that this be put on our top list of presents. It seems that while things are getting better that there is still a general shortage of women’s camo hunting gear. Luckily, stores like Cabela’s and Gander Mountain have hopped on to the ladies hunting train. So this Christmas it may not be a bad idea to make sure all the ladies in your life are suited up in clothes specifically cut for them to help bring their hunting game up to the next level!
4. Oakley Radarlock Path Photochromic Sport Sunglasses. We know, you’re probably wondering why on Earth sunglasses made our list. However, these aren’t just regular sunglasses, they are the mother of all sunglasses and are basically made specifically for hunters to boot. As a hunter, you spend enough time outside that having a good pair of shades with UV protection is a must, but there is nothing more aggravating that having to buy a new pair when the lenses inevitably get scratched. So, enter these awesome Oakley Sport sunglasses. These babies have interchangeable (yes, we said interchangeable) polycarbonate lenses so that when those scratches do happen, you can just pop in a new lens or two. They also have frames that are made of both durable and flexible materials so they can take a beating. Best of all, these are basically smart sunglasses and the lenses are made specifically to automatically adjust to your light level as you move from shade to sun during your hunt. These retail from $155.99-$300.00 depending on where they are purchased from and which pair you choose.
5. The BARSKA 8×32 Binoculars with Built-In Camera. During a hunt binoculars basically become an extension of your hands for a good portion of the day while you’re busy scouting for that elusive game and there is nothing more frustrating that seeing amazing views and wildlife and being able to tell your family and friends about what you saw, but not being able to actually show them. Now, with these awesome binoculars you can see and show. These binoculars are not only great binoculars on their own, but they come with a built-in 8.0 Megapixel camera that allows you to snap photos of all the amazing things that you are seeing. This not only gives you great photos to share with family and friends, but can prove to be extremely useful when mapping out terrain in preferred hunting areas. This retails for $160.00-$199.00 depending on where they are purchased.Continue Reading
Well everyone it’s almost time for one of our favorite holidays…Thanksgiving! Why do we love Thanksgiving? Well because, as avid bow hunters, this is the holiday where we get to let our friends and family try some of our favorite wild game recipes, as well as try recipes other people bring along! This month’s blog is going to be a spotlight of some of the very best recipes that have come across our Thanksgiving table. Have a favorite of your own? Then share so we can give it a try!
As far as we are concerned, you can’t have the perfect Thanksgiving without the perfect turkey. Luckily, this year we had some pretty good luck getting a few wild turkeys and we can’t wait to get them on the table. Now, as for wild turkey, there are hundreds of amazing ways you can prep and cook it; all of which are completely delicious. If you’re not a big fan of cooking and prefer to go basic, we personally love doing both a simple roast with some basic seasonings (like salt, pepper, and season salt) and a good consistent basting. It’s easy as pie and always comes out juicy and flavorful with minimal effort. If you’re one that loves the flavors of a deep fried bird, then by all means go for it! For our fried birds, we like to keep it simple with a bit of salt and some brown sugar. It’s a little sweet and packed full of flavor. However, if you’re someone that loves to cook and wants to impress, we absolutely cannot get over how fabulous the Thanksgiving Wild Turkey recipe from The Wild Chef is. Why? Well it’s packed full of flavor, comes our wonderfully juicy, and well…bacon. You can never, ever go wrong with delicious bacon. Want the recipe, but don’t have the cookbook? No worries! You can find it here, courtesy of Serious Eats.
Now, we all know how impatient some guests can be while everything finishes cooking; not that we can blame them with all those amazing smells floating around. So, an appetizer is always a good idea. Our families absolutely love duck, so if we have some on hand we like to cut it into bite sized pieces, dip it in milk, and coat it with a lightly season breading and give it a good fry. It’s super simple and pretty darned tasty. However, you can also never go wrong with this recipe for bacon-wrapped elk. We gave it a whirl last year and it was a total hit, but then again…bacon! Another few options for your appetizer table that have been big hits here is some delicious venison summer sausage (we’ve tried tons of recipes, and Gramp’s version is still one of our all-time favorites) with cheese and crackers and if you prefer a fancier table, we also loved these Duck Bites with Orange and Candied Ginger from WildHarvestTable.com.
Now, of course you’ve got the appetizers and the star of the show covered, but what would Thanksgiving be without some of those amazing sides? We always have a salad at our table, and we love to sneak some wild game in. A few of our favorites is this recipe with Wild Boar and this salad which is suited to whatever wild game you happen to have on hand. We also love us some carbs, so stuffing is a must. Luckily, Wide Open Spaces completely has us covered on this front. They put up not one, not two, but three delicious wild game stuffing recipes a few years ago; and they are all fabulous! We also love to sneak some tiny bits of friend duck into our green bean casserole along with a little bit of bacon (what can we say… we really, really love bacon.
Well those are some of our favorite additions to our holiday table. What are some of yours? Tried these and liked them? Then tell us about it and send in a photo! We are especially thrilled because this year we’ve gotten tons of great photos and emails from Hunters all over the country who have let us know that thanks to our unique and wonderful Pro-Tracker, ultimate tracking and recovery system, they managed to find game they would have otherwise lost due to harsh terrain, nightfall, and even a freak heavy rainstorm that washed away a blood trail. We are so thrilled our system helped you guys to get some meat on your tables in time for Thanksgiving! We also wanted to say thanks to each and every one of you! Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and enjoy!Continue Reading
Over the years there have been tons of advancements in technology within the hunting world. We’ve seen the shift from traditional bows to compound bows, and compound bows to crossbows. We’ve seen advancements in trail cams, in gear, in arrows; every year it seems hunting in general becomes more technologically advanced. So, it stands to reason, that most hunters along with all of their hunting gear, will also be bringing along their phones. A phone is vital to most hunters to ensure they can reach help if necessary, but did you know your phone can be an extra tool as well? Here are some of our favorite hunting apps to help you take your hunts to the next level!
1. Where to Hunt. We have to say, we love this app. There is nothing worse than getting all ready for a nice relaxing hunt, only to find the location you’ve selected has an abundance of hunters. This app lets you, and any other hunters in an area, check in via GPS location so you can see how many hunters are in your surrounding area, as well as where they have decided to hunt for the day; making sure if you want to hunt in a more secluded area you know where to go. It also has built in maps so you can re-route your hiking route to avoid other hunters if you’re on your way to a particular preferred location. Prefer to hunt in a group? Us too! Luckily, this also has an option where you can enter in private party info so you and all your friends will know where everyone in the group is at all times. This app can also ease the minds of any loved ones at home by giving them the ability to check in to your location from home throughout the day. Luckily this app is also FREE!
2. iHuntJournal. Any good hunter knows that taking notes and paying attention prior, and during a hunt, are what help you find that prized animal and this app is perfect for that! You can pinpoint specific locations of interest via GPS, take and catalogue photos for different locations, and make any notes you feel are necessary for any of your preferred locales. It also lets you email this info out via a CSV, so that if you’re planning a hunt later (or planning a group hunt) you can make sure everyone has pertinent information. Unfortunately, this app isn’t free, but we feel it is well worth the extra money. You can find it for between $5.99-$8.99, depending on where it’s downloaded from.
3. ScoutLook Deer Log. This app is one heck of a handy tool! It has tons of important weather information, like changes in barometric pressure, wind speed and direction, and even has information on the tides. It uses drop down menus to help you save specific spots for just about everything; including rubs, cameras, tree stands, and blood trails. You can make logs throughout the day during your hunt and this app will automatically track ratios of bucks to does, as well as ages of deer in that specific location. This app is essentially a nifty all-in-one tool that helps to manage and organize your hunt. Best of all, it’s FREE!
4. Archery Pal. This app is a lifesaver for bow hunters! We all know having a slightly unbalanced arrow can ruin what could have been a perfect shot, and this app helps make it all fool proof. This app not only calculates your arrows speed, as well as its kinetic energy, but you can also use it during target practice to gauge your accuracy and provide the percentage of the accurate shots you’ve made. It then takes all of this info and puts them into user friendly graphs so you can help better your shots. Add in that it allows you to also put in specific locations to be saved, and you’ve got one awesome app that costs about $4.99.
5. Hunting Light and Blood Tracker. Last, but not least we have this cool app. We all love to hunt, but know blood trails can sometimes be a tricky thing. This app produces light that alternates between pink and purple. Doesn’t sound like it does much right? Well, but alternating these colors, it helps dull green shades and increase any red coloring, allowing more visibility in your blood trail on the ground. This also can double as a great emergency flashlight and has SOS light flashes in case you find yourself in a bit of trouble. This one runs between $0.99-$1.99 depending on which app store is used.
So those are our top 5 hunting apps. We love that they can help you organize your hunt, coordinate with your partners, and even aid in tracking a tricky blood trail. But don’t forget nothing replaces good old fashioned practice; and don’t forget to bring along your Pro-Tracker, tracking and recovery system so that if you’re apps fail you, you don’t lose your animal! Never used a Pro-Tracker? Well you should give it a try. Our system has a transmitter that fits into your arrow and upon contact with your animal sends an RF signal to a handheld locator that gives you real-time readouts of your animal’s location to your hand-held reciever so that if these apps, or traditional tracking fail you, you won’t risk losing your prize!Continue Reading
As many of you know (particularly if you follow our social media channels) hunting season started in Utah last month and is just beginning here in Idaho. We lucked out and got a coveted Muley tag for Utah, and even though we’ve been out a few times we have yet to find The One. We had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with some other hunters and after hearing some hilarious hunting stories, we mentioned our continued search for our Muley. The guys and gals then started mentioning all kinds of awesome tips and tricks to help us locate our quarry and we got to thinking that we had to share some of these with you guys! So, here are some of our favorite tips we’ve gotten from other hunters, hunting blogs, and magazines; as well as some of our own awesome know-how. Enjoy!
Mule deer tend to live in more broken terrain, but they do often visit the same spots to drink, eat, and bed down. If you get a high position first off (prior to dawn), you can use your spotting scope and binoculars to glass the surrounding area. Finding the Mule deer when they are up and moving makes the actual hunt later that day more likely to be a success. However, make sure to blend in to your surroundings; a silhouette is a dead giveaway to these guys!
One tip we got, that while it seems odd is entirely accurate, is to look for groups of Magpies. Magpies love to hang out near, and on, Mule Deer in order to make a quick snack of any insects or lice on their coats. So if you keep your eyes peeled for any Magpies making frequent trips from the bushes down towards the ground, more often than not you’ll see them making a pit stop on a nice Mule Deer.
Thanks to the large size and shape of the Muley’s ears, they have very sensitive and acute hearing, so you’ll want to take extra care to keep quiet. Take an extra minute or two to scan for any errant branches, twigs, or brush that might cause unnecessary noise and make sure to step gently so you remain as quiet as possible. You’ll also want to leave any windbreakers or other noisy clothing that tends to rustle at home; otherwise they might cost you’re your prize. They’re hearing is so acute, that depending on how cool it is outside, you may even consider stalking them in socks, crawling, or creeping up on them on your belly to get into range for your shot.
Hunting Muleys is definitely physically taxing; you can track these guys for miles before you find The One. Mule deer are by nature travelers and can cover several miles of terrain each day between their preferred feeding spots and the area they like to bed down in. Since these guys also tend to prefer more uneven terrain, plan for a harder hike over several miles each day. This is where those Getting into Hunting Shape tips we put up come in handy. Last, but certainly not least, this is the perfect type of hunt to use your Pro-tracker system! Our system will help guarantee that once you’ve found The One that you don’t lose your prize due to uneven terrain. You can still track using the traditional methods, but you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that if the trail runs cold, our Pro-Tracker tracking and recovery system will be there to keep your trail hot!
Many hunters like to aim for the higher country, expecting the bucks to seek shelter to avoid the mad rush of the opening of the season and all of the noise that entails, but that is not always the case! More often than not, you can find tons of beautiful bucks that opted for smaller brush coverage (like sage) in the lower areas or basins. Depending on where the majority of hunters seem to be heading, we would recommend heading the opposite direction. Not only will it be quieter with fewer hunters out and about, but you’ll have a great chance of spotting that Muley…just remember to keep your eyes peeled!
So, those are some of the great tips we’ve both used and been told about. So, what other tips and tricks do you guys have?Continue Reading
We here at Pro-Tracker are always excited about hunting, but this fall is one quite a few of us are anticipating more than others. Why you ask? Because this fall some of us are allowing our kids or grand-kids to tag along on their very first hunts. For anyone that loves to hunt, taking a young person along for the first time is a memory neither of you will ever forget and may only be trumped by the first time they take their own animal. There is nothing better than watching the excitement light up their expressions when they spot a deer or elk or the focus they exhibit as you explain how to clean and prep the animal after the shot has been made. Now whether your kids are going on a hunt for the very first time, or just tagging along, there are certain things we think are important for you to remember.
Kids are kids and mistakes can happen anywhere, however on a hunt mistakes can be dangerous. Make sure that you go over all safety rules prior to the hunt and ensure your young sidekicks understand the The why here is incredibly important. Young people as a whole are much more likely to pay attention and follow safety precautions if they understand why they are necessary and any potential consequences.
Take into account the attention span and requirements of having a child tag along. Not all children will appreciate hiking around in extremely rough terrain, or looking for game in inclement or extremely hot weather. You should also remember that children don’t have the attention span to sit out all day like an adult would, so try to pick hunts that are shorter in length to help keep up their interest level. You’re goal is to make hunting fun and educational, and taking into account the personality (and attention span) of your young travelers is absolutely essential in making this a good memory filled day.
Little people tend to have enormous appetites, and nothing can sour an excited kiddos mood faster than being hungry. Kids generally run on high unless they are asleep, and that means their metabolism runs on high as well. Add in all the hiking required for most hunts, and you’ll have one hungry kiddo. We recommend packing a good high protein trail mix (with m&ms, because they make all trail mixes better) and some jerky. Just make sure your packaging makes as little noise as possible so that snack time doesn’t cost you your dinner.
Don’t forget the sunscreen and a good hat. Nothing will sour a kid’s opinion of hunting faster than associating it with a bad sunburn. Your goal here is to make sure the outing is enjoyable and sunburns are definitely not!
Kids learn by observation, but also by asking questions. Be prepared to be peppered with every question under the sun during your hunt, and also be prepared to answer those questions. We know that hunting is generally a quiet sport, with minimal conversation, but when you’re introducing it to a young person conversation is essential. On that same note, don’t be afraid to be the one direction the conversation. You can pre-empt a lot of questions and make the trip much more educational and enjoyable if you’re an active conversational participant.
If you want to make sure hunting makes a positive impression, along with being an active conversationalist, let your kiddo help out! Kids absolutely love to feel useful and feel like they are a part of something. Don’t get so caught up in explaining that you forget to let them take part. Kids are generally good at spotting things with their young eagle eyes, so let them help you look out for animals or their tracks. Let them help by carrying some things in their own pack, setting up attractants etc. The more they participate, the more fun they will have and the more they will learn. This means a positive experience for everyone and also a longer hunt time for you since they are engaged.
We hope these tips help out anyone else getting ready to take a young person out for their first adventure into hunting. We wish every young person a wonderful first trip out and hope they have memories that will last a lifetime. We also must wonder if there are any tips we missed. If you’ve got some tips we haven’t mentioned, let us know! Happy hunting everyone!Continue Reading
Year round we all watch people buzz in and out of the talking about making sure they are in shape for summer swimsuit season or an upcoming wedding, but we love to work out for a whole different reason: to make sure we’re ready for big game bow hunting season. Many people who are new to archery or bow hunting are learning precisely how exhausting the sport can be. Many people assume you just stand and shoot, but that is definitely not the case. You need your body to be ready to track your elk up hills, down slopes, over ridges, and also be prepared to follow the signal on your Pro-Tracker, ultimate tracking and recovery system, for miles on foot. Which is why it is so important to maintain good physical shape year round, but it is especially important as we approach the big game season. So, in order to help make sure you don’t huff and puff your way through your fall hunts, here are some of our favorite ways to make sure you’re in shape for the big game season.
Some people may say that it is still early to worry about getting into shape for the season, but as with all exercise it is important to give your body time to adjust and to not rush getting it ready. Most people recommend giving yourself at least 12 weeks prior to your first hunt to start getting ready, but we feel like the more time you give yourself the better. One sure fire way to help your body get into gear is actually by walking. Walking is the primary way you maneuver out on a hunt, so the more ready you are for a good long trek the better off you will be. A brisk walk for 45-60 minutes 3 times a week is a perfect way to jump start your metabolism; want to get more out of your walk? Then add in hills of varying sizes. Once you’ve gotten into a good walking routine (after 1-2 weeks), then it’s time to add in strength days. You want to make sure to do core work every strength day complete with crunches and planks, then alternate your arm and leg days. Having good arms is incredibly important when bow hunting, but having a strong core will make sure that your bow is held steady during your shot.
By 3-4 weeks into your routine, you should be feeling quite a bit better, which means it’s time to step things up again. This is a perfect time to increase your walks to jogs and to also start doing some interval training as well. In order to optimize your workout, we recommend jogging for 1-2 minutes, walking for a minute, and then jogging again. After 10 minutes or so, rather than walking add in squats or lunges for 5 minutes; after 10 minutes return to your jog/ rest combination and repeat each set twice. You’ll still want to maintain your strength training, but now you’ll want to make sure to include your core workout (and planks) every day. Now is where things start to get tricky, you’re going to want to find one steep hill and once a week jog up the hill, then walk down; and repeat for at least 20-30 minutes. This is going to make you extremely tired, but we guarantee that come hunting season, this will make hilly terrain a breeze.
Now a month has gone by and we are really cooking. You should feel much better, fatigue less and be showing a good amount of strength throughout your body; which means it’s time to keep cruising. Remember, when you hunt you also get to tote a pack with you and you also may or may not need to pack your animal out. So, bust out your hunting pack and load it up with either your gear or weights that should approximate your normal load. Now that you’re all strapped up like a pack mule we’re going to go head out and do the same workout you’ve been doing. We should mention here that due to the pack, you will get tired and you may not be able to complete your normal routine. That is perfectly okay! Do as your body asks and rest when needed. If you need, go back to your earlier workouts with your pack and build up your endurance to where you can do your intervals, hills, and jogs with your pack. The goal here is to be able to move your normal routine up to a steady jog/run for about 45 minutes at a time and to be able to sprint up your hills when you encounter them.
If you keep up this routine you will be in tip top shape, but there is one more thing (besides crunches and planks) that needs to be done every single day without fail to get you ready: shooting. You’ll want to take your bow out and practice for a good 30 minutes or more every day. Not only will this help to perfect your aim, it will ensure your shooting muscles are up to snuff. When you start out, focus more on just shooting that perfecting your aim; once your muscles are strengthened and your muscle memory is solid, perfecting your aim will become the main priority. Don’t forget to take a rest day once a week and remember to stretch! We look forward to seeing all of you looking great and ready to hunt come fall!
Well school is out and the vacations are planned; which means it’s time for some awesome summer barbecues! Here are some of our all-time favorite wild game recipes to help you up your barbecue game.
1. For those of you who like to embrace the heat these Venison cheddar- jalapeno summer sausages are absolutely fantastic. We recommend using a natural casing for these which you can get online as well as in places like your local butcher or Cabelas. These don’t necessarily need added fat (the cheese does a great job of taking care of that), but if you’d like adding in a bit or pork rounds out the flavor nicely and gives a little more added fat. Like venison summer sausage, but don’t like spicy? Try Gramp’s Venison Summer Sausage; though for this recipe we do recommend adding some pork in to add in a bit of fat and flavor.
2. We love us some bbq and these bbq duck sandwiches from wide open spaces were the perfect addition to our family picnic. The lemon pepper seasoning is mild, but gives a nice added flavor profile. We did decide that these were best on potato buns; but since that happens to be our favorite type of bun for just about anything we might be just a bit biased. You can also find a few more summer bbq recipes in this article, but we haven’t given those a shot yet. If you give them a try, make sure to let us know what you think!
3. We can’t make a list of our favorite summer recipes without mentioning venison and elk burgers. You can never go wrong with grilling up these babies, and when done right they can be the star of your summer get together. For these, you definitely don’t want to over-cook the meat; so remember to aim for either medium-rare or medium when cooking. That will guarantee a juicy burger, because no one likes a dry patty. There are tons of recipes for venison burgers on the internet (this one from Allrecipes.com is awesome, as are these by Wide Open Spaces), but no matter what recipe you use we recommend using bacon fat or bacon inside the patty to give it a delicious flavor as well as enough fat to make it nice and juicy.
4. Last, but certainly not least, we have to have a good recipe for brats. Hot dogs are good and all, but as far as we are concerned brats are the way to go. This recipe for beer brats made our stomachs sing happy songs. This one is especially useful because you can put any wild game meat you’d like in and the recipe still tastes amazing. We generally have used venison, as that is what we have on hand most often, but also made it with turkey and they came out perfect as well. This recipe does call for Cold Smoke Scotch Ale, and we have found this gives the best overall flavor. However, we’ve also used a few other amber beers we’ve had on hand (like O’Dells Levity) and the brats still tasted pretty darned good.
Well folks, that about sums up our favorite recipes. This year we have tons of wild game to use up thanks to our awesome Pro-Tracker tracking system, so if we find any more recipes we will definitely share. Have you got a favorite recipe? Let us know, so we can give it a try!Continue Reading
When it is time to seek out your prize winning trophy, the last thing you want to worry about is your gear; which is why making sure it’s all in good condition is imperative to a successful hunt. With a little bit of hunting equipment maintenance, you will be able to enjoy the hunt without the potential for a misery of problems. When gearing up for your hunt, a little bit of preparation goes a long way. Here is some basic gear maintenance that you should always go over before you load up for a hunt:
Thanks to our weekly turkey hunts, it seems that April has slipped into May with hardly any of us noticing. The only thing hinting that we are edging closer to summer is the melting snow and showers causing Idaho to become one giant mud puddle. We refuse to let that damper our moods however; particularly since turkey season here goes until the end of this month. However, even though it isn’t summer time here yet, we’ve already begun to think forward into fall. Why you ask? Well, 1. because during a few of our turkey hunts we’ve run across some pretty awesome sheds, and 2. because we (like many of you) like to get any new hunting equipment by May or June so that we have loads of time to break it in before the fall deer season begins. Therefore, we decided to examine what we feel are necessary items to help make sure you have a safe and happy hunt.
Now, there are several ways you can prepare for a hunt. You can use a list from a previous year (most seasoned hunters at this point have this down pat), you can ask a friend for advice if your newer to the hunting world, you can look to the internet for other people’s preferences (like this sweet list your reading now), or you can go online and find a pre-made check list like this one by Gander Mountain. We prefer not to use pre-made lists, because we found that often times the list includes too much and ends up forcing us to haul around unnecessary equipment that only bogs us down. Regardless of where you get your information though, we found most lists (ours included) have these items: A fully charged cell phone, flashlight, lighter, wooden matches, batteries, energy bars, water, a pee bottle, a compass, hunting knife, binoculars, gloves, rain gear, gloves, a hat, and rope. These items should be in every hunters pack along with their hunting license and tags. We aren’t going to explain why you need these items, because they are fairly self explanatory. Rather, we are going to focus on the other items we like to carry in our packs.
Whether you prefer to hunt using a tree stand, or hunt using ground cover, a scent eliminator is a necessity. There are hundreds of scent eliminators on the market, and picking the wrong one could cause you your hunt. We love recommendations from other hunters, but as of this moment we like the Scent-A-Way Max spray, though there are tons of ways to eliminate or mask your scent without having to buy a scent eliminator. Since most of us here like tree stands, we also always bring a small collapsible saw. There is nothing more infuriating that seeing a perfect spot, but being unable to set up the way you’d like due to branches. Also infuriating? Falling out of your tree stand because you either failed to bring a tree belt, or failed to put it on properly before you finish setting up in the tree; so don’t be that person: remember the belt. One of our good friends Jim Sullivan forgot his belt one year and fell out of his tree stand causing paralysis. Jim is now in a wheelchair, but still loves to hunt. So if you, or anyone you know, is disabled and still likes to hunt make sure to stop by Jim’s site Accessible Outdoors for tips, tricks and reviews for disabled hunters.
Once you’ve got the check-list for the tree stand done, you now get to move on to the fun stuff: calls, lures, and scents. Scents, we feel, are more of a personal preference. Some of us like using mass market scents, like HooDu Deer Attractant, some prefer to use urine, and some of us like using quirky (yet effective) home-made scents like vanilla extract, maple syrup, or peanut butter. No matter your preference, remembering to bring your attractant is key in ensuring a successful hunt. The importance of a good call is also something you never want to overlook; just make sure the call your using suits what you’re looking for. One of our staff swears by the Primos Hunting Speak Easy, while another one prefers the more traditional Extinguisher Deer Call. Regardless of your preference, we recommend you always bring two that way you have not only more options for calls, but a back-up in case one of your calls runs out of batteries or breaks.
Finally, the last few things we recommend are just personal preferences. We almost always make sure to take along some toasty toes and hot hands. Idaho whether can be fickle, and we dislike chilly extremities when it can be easily avoided. We also like to bring along surveyors tape because you never know when you might need to mark a path. Last, but not least, we bring our Pro-Tracker, ultimate tracking and recovery system. We know a lot of you might wonder why bringing a Pro-Tracker is necessary, but we can quickly and easily explain. We like bringing the system so on the off-chance our shot goes awry and isn’t a kill shot, we know we are very likely to find the wounded animal. We (of course) will try to follow the blood trail, but we’ve been on far too many hunts where the blood trail run cold or is lost due to inclement weather and we just hate the idea of not only losing a trophy, but leaving an animal wandering around with an injury that is our fault. By bringing the Pro-Tracker system, we can do our best to make sure that if our own personal tracking skills fail, that we still have a good chance of recovery. We hope you guys like our recommendations, and please leave us some recommendations of your own. What items do you swear by or rely on during your hunts?Continue Reading
Here in Idaho, our spring turkey season ends later this month. We’ve had an awesome time hunting on weekends, and like many of you, we are admiring our trophies. Unfortunately, as many of you that have been hunting turkey for years have noticed, unless done properly after time your prized beards will begin to fall apart. Some of the beards we don’t mind letting go of, but some (like the beard from our very first tom) are ones we would like preserved for the sake of good memories. Luckily, we’ve found through trial and error (as well as hunting forums) some fool proof ways to help elongate the life of your beards so that they can remind you of memorable hunts for years to come.
The most popular (and our personal favorite) way to not only preserve, but display, a beard involves borax, silicone, leather (or rawhide), and clear coat. First, you place your beard and spurs in Borax (or salt) until any fleshy leftovers are dry. Drying usually takes a few days, so you can get everything else ready while you prep your beard and spurs. For the second step, grab a shot gun shell of whatever size you prefer. Carefully separate the plastic and the shell, dump any pellets, and remove the primer. If you’ve also got the spurs, and have treated them with borax, spray them with clear coat. Once they are completely dry, you can run one on each end of the leather and you can also add in beads if you want this beard and spurs display to be extra fancy. Once this is done you have two options: you can simply hot glue each end your strip of leather or rawhide to the top of the shell, or for those of you who have a steady hand and a lot of patience, you can drill a small hole through the center of the shell, push each end of your leather strip through (making a loop) and knot it. Once knotted, we recommend running some hot glue around the knot to keep it secure. Once your beard is dried, stick the skin side into the shell and fill it with silicone (or if you don’t have that hot glue). Wait a day or two for this to become completely dry, and then spray the whole thing with clear coat. Once you’re finished, you should have something that looks like this:
If that idea seems a bit too complex for your tastes, you also have the option of simply drying the beard in salt or borax, then wrapping the skin end in twine, leather or another preferred material and then dipping it into paraffin or bees wax. This will preserve it for some time, and as long as the beards are held in a place with fairly consistent temperatures they should last a few years. If you like the simplicity of this method, but want to ensure the beards will have a longer life; we recommend that you place them in a clear glass display case. The less the air and elements touch the beards, the longer they will be able to maintain their hairs. If you prefer to keep your beards, but don’t want to necessarily display them one sure fire way we’ve found to preserve them is to dry them in salt or borax, place them in a plastic container, and pop them in the freezer. This method, while effective, may cause concern for those unfamiliar with the importance of preserving a Tom’s trophy beard. Therefore, it is always good to make sure either A. your family is aware of the importance of said trophies and that their presence in the freezer needs to be overlooked, or B. that the beards are placed in a secondary freezer that is either used as a main freezer overflow, or for meat.
Lastly, if you are lucky enough to not only get the beard and spurs, but to maintain the integrity of your bird’s tail feathers, you can make a fan mount. Fan mounts are a beautiful thing when done correctly, but they do take precision and time in order to make sure they look balanced. For this project you will need a mount (either one pre-cut with slots for the beard and spurs, or one that you alter on your own), small knife, borax or salt, hot glue, and a heck of a lot of patience. In order to make a fan mount, take your beard and spurs and place them in Borax or salt (like you would for any f the previous options). Remove the fan by cutting it off; make sure to take enough meat and bone to make sure that all feathers remain attached and to also give yourself some room to work. This next step is the one that is a doozy and requires methodical concentration to make sure it gets good results. Once you have the tail removed, you then need to go in with a small knife and follow the shafts and large tail feathers in order to remove any extra flesh as well as any smaller feathers. Once this is done, you will (surprise!) borax the ends of the fan. Once they are dried, you will now artfully arrange your feathers into a nice fan shape on your mount. Once you have achieved the desired shape, go back in and remove some of the shorter tail feathers (somewhere between 7-10 seems to be good); set these aside because you’ll likely want to use them later. Tack down the rest of the fan to the mount. Once is has dried completely, carefully arrange the smaller feathers you plucked out to cover the tips you glued down on the large fan. Once all glue spots are covered to your liking, lock the small feathers in place with small dabs of hot glue. Once the feathers are dried, you can place your beard and spurs across the remaining area or in the designated slots on your mount. If you want to ensure your hard work will look great for years to come, give it a quick coat of clear coat. The end result should look something like this:
So, there you have all of the various ways we have found that do a good job at preserving, as well as presenting, your trophies from your turkeys. We hope you guys like them! Do you have a different way to preserve them? Then let us know!Continue Reading
Recently we received the Archery Trade Association’s newsletter and had the pleasure of reading a study about the growing number of archers their 2016 census revealed and we couldn’t be more excited. Their research showed that the current number of archers has reached an astounding 21.6 million; yep you read that right 21.6 million. Now given, not all of those are bow hunters, but considering that even ten years ago archery in itself was a small niche often overlooked as a means of sport, the fact that we have surpassed the niche market and have climbed into the mainstream sports arena is cause for celebration. Within this large group of archers, the ATA estimates that we have roughly 2.9% of archers shoot targets, as well as bowhunt, and that of that 21.6 million, 11-12 million bowhunt; whether that be in a relaxed or intense fashion. Why is that so significant? Well, let’s look a little deeper.
With 21.6 million archers, that means that every single year 21.6 million people will be putting money into the archery industry. Not only will that help drive the economy, but that money funds advancements and research in archery equipment. Add in the fact that the more money that is spent, the more the archery world can expand, and the more credibility and focus is given to what is essentially an incredibly difficult and unique sport. The money spent on archery equipment and expos is not the only important addition the increase in archers offers either.
As of 2015, there were 12.5 million bowhunters in the United States. Therefore 12.5 million people purchased at least one tag causing an estimated $280 million dollars to go into wildlife conservation (Bowhunter magazine 2015). Excluding the rest of the archery world, bowhunters also had a $66 billion impact on the economy; thus providing hundreds of thousands of jobs. Considering that was in 2015 and we’ve seen a steady rise in the number of archers and bowhunters within the US, that number will only grow. We’ve seen increases in female bowhunters and had the pleasure of witnessing more and more make bowhunting a family excursion; and we have to say we are darned glad. We are so excited to have the opportunity to watch as archery and bowhunting get to enjoy their time in the limelight and show the country the dedication and skill all archers’ possess. Here’s to an awesome 2016 season and hats off to all of you talented archers out there!
Want more awesome details about the growth and expansion of the archery world? Then check out some more articles detailing the various ways the community is expanding on the Archery Trade Association website!Continue Reading
As you guys have noticed, we’ve been a little turkey crazy lately what with the season fast approaching us here in Idaho, and if you’ve read our other article you know how much we love to travel when we bow hunt. So, in honor of both the great turkey and our wanderlust, we would like to present to you some of our very favorite places to go hunt turkey. We hope you’ll love these places just as much as we do, and with your Pro-Tracker along we’ll sure you’ll have an amazing hunt. So, without further delay, here is a list of some of our top 5 states to visit:
We love Colorado, we aren’t going to lie. Huge mountains, big blue sky, the smell of spruce and pine everywhere. This is by far one of our favorite places to hunt. Not only does the changing terrain make it fun and challenging, the trees provide wonderful cover making turkey hunting a breeze. Add in the variety of amazing non-hunting, family friendly entertainment options and you have a perfect blend of family vacation and amazing hunting; which is why this is at the top of our list.
Now, for those of you who have never visited ‘Bama, you most definitely should. Not only are the people friendly as all get out, the turkey hunting here is amazing. Alabama has one of the most generous bag limits coupled with large amounts of WMA land available for hunting and one of the highest turkey populations in the US; making this state prime for a perfect southern hunting experience. Plus, you can whet you whistle with gallons of sweet tea while waiting for your bird; and trust us when we say you haven’t had sweet tea until you’ve had it in the south
The sheer number of turkeys that can be found in Missouri is baffling. Add in the crazy number of turkeys with huge amounts of public lands and you’ve got yourself a perfect turkey hunting cocktail. Hunting here will get you some great birds, while also giving you time to become one with nature in the southern Ozarks; which are well worth the trip to see all by their lonesome. Plus again, Missouri is in the south, so we have to utter those two beautiful words that are a reason to venture south all by themselves: sweet tea.
Wisconsin is a great place for gobblers. The NWTF and Dept. of Natural resources has done a good job of regulation the turkey population. This state also has one of the less expensive turkey tags for out-of-staters, which puts it in as one of our top recommendations for hunters that want to travel on a budget. This state is also great for those newer to bow hunting, as it is one of the safest turkey hunting states. However, we must say, if you visit the cheese state to hunt a turkey and don’t pick up some of their delicious cheese, we aren’t sure we can be friends. After all, it’s called the cheese state for a reason, and that reason is delicious
These two are tied for 5th place for us. If you’re desirous of an East Coast journey, either of these states will be amazing for turkey hunts. Both boast large populations as well as a large amount of potential hunting areas; be they public or private lodges. Add in the gorgeous scenery and you’ve got yourself one heck of a beautiful place to hunt. The cost of an out-of-state tag for either of these places is fairly comparable at around $100; give or take $20. The only downside here is that, depending on where in the state you decide to hunt, the toll roads may kill you. As people from areas where toll roads are few and far between, the tolls made us cry a little on the inside; though the view made it all worthwhile.Continue Reading
Well everyone, spring is in the air. The flowers are in bloom, grass is starting to slowly turn green, the air is heavily scented with lilacs and apple blossoms and all of that means one thing here at Pro-Tracker: it’s time to go hunt us some delicious turkeys. Normally this is an exciting time of the year, but this year will be especially awesome because we get to take a few bowhunting newbies with us. To us, there is nothing more fun that teaching what we know to someone new and watching the excitement of their first hunt, be it turkey or otherwise, bloom across their face. We’ve been going over various trip possibilities, but one we kept coming back to was the idea of hunting out of state. We know many hunters that have licenses and tags in multiple states, and it seems as the years go by the numbers of inter-state hunting are rapidly increasing; as it well should. For those of you who haven’t gone to hunt in a different state, you should most definitely give it a try.
There are several pros to hunting out of state. One of the largest pros (in our humble opinion) is the ability to take advantage of the different states hunting seasons. By hunting in different states, we’ve been able to elongate our hunting season by at minimum one month and at most three; depending on the type of animal we are looking for. A perfect example of this is turkey season. Here in Idaho, turkey season begins in mid-April, however if we decided to get a permit in say Florida the season would have already been underway in March.
Another reason we love to hunt in different states is we love to see the variations in scenery and also partake in the challenge of hunting in the different terrain. Not only does the ability of tracking and hunting in a variety of terrains and locations make you a overall a more well rounded hunter, the challenges you will face in different areas will make the hunt that much more exciting; and your prize that much more worthwhile when you catch it. In addition to the increased knowledge travel can give you, the different terrains and plants also mean a larger variety in your animals. Since an animal’s taste is largely influenced by its diet, but widening the areas in which you hunt you are opening your palette to some new (sometimes amazing, sometimes gamey) flavors.
Now, looking at those pros, we’re sure many of you are thinking, “Well heck yeah, that sounds awesome! So, why don’t more people do it?” The answer is as many things, both simple and complicated, all at the same time. The main reason people opt to not travel across state lines to hunt is the inherent cost. While we love hunting in different states, it can get to be a pretty pricey experience. Not only do you need to cover travel costs, you also have to take into account the cost of whatever tag you have a desire to hunt. In some states, the prices for those are very reasonable for out of state hunters, but in many states being a hunter from out of state is going to make your wallet flinch. The second issue is the availability of tags for out of staters in the state you desire to hunt in. With some animals (like turkey) getting an out of state tag is generally pretty easy; however with other animals (like bear) getting a tag for an out of state person is a difficult process.
Looking at both the pros and cons, we are firmly in the camp of traveling to hunt when we can. Not only does the traveling help cure us all of our insatiable wanderlust, but it acts as a mini-vacation as well. There is something about hunting away from home that is instantly soothing and allows us to let all of the stress just ease away that we adore. We don’t always get to hunt out of state, as with all things in life sometimes we can’t afford to go, but when we can we jump at the chance. Fortunately, it seems that many of you bowhunters are agreeing with us. In recent years more and more bowhunters are beginning to cross state lines and taking the opportunity to test their skills across the country. We, for one, couldn’t be more excited. Just don’t forget to bring your Pro-Tracker along with you; sometimes those new environments can throw you for a loop and we want to be with you to help make sure you don’t lose your quarry.Continue Reading
The Pro-Tracker system is the new revolutionary way to find and track big game after you have made your prize winning shot. The Pro-Tracker Transmitter connects to your favorite arrow, and you can use any tip. When you fire your arrow, the specialized Pro-Tracker equipment stays in your game. Using your handheld device, you can then find your trophy. The last thing you want to do is lose that deer or elk for which you have been searching for the past few days. Wounding a deer and never being able to find it is every hunter’s nightmare. With Pro-Tracker, your worries are over.
The best answer is… it depends. Most states do not mention the use of tracking equipment in hunting. Kentucky, Maine, New Jersey, California, and Wyoming list general hunting practices and equipment, but there is no mention of electronic tracking equipment. There are a few states that do not allow Pro-tracker. Take Colorado for instance, their laws state that, “electronic or battery-powered devices cannot be incorporated into or attached to the bow or arrow.” In this case, you would not be able to use the Pro-tracker system while hunting in Colorado. The language in Pennsylvania hunting regulations mirrors that of Colorado. In Utah the rules for hunting do not say anything about using an electronic devise on an arrow, but when you look into crossbow bolts it state that “It is unlawful for any person to: hunt any protected wildlife with a crossbow: bolt that has any chemical, explosive or electronic device attached.”
The best place to look for the rules that are specific to your state is going to your Wildlife Department’s website. There you will be able to research the rules that deal with hunting. Sometimes the regulations regarding hunting equipment can be found in the general hunting sections. Other times you will need to dip a bit deeper and look at the rules that are specific to bow and crossbow hunting. Every once in a while, your state might bury the information in a section about prohibited equipment. If reading rules is not your idea of a good use of time, you might want to visit your local department of wildlife and ask an employee. They are employed by your tax dollars and should be able to give you an answer.Continue Reading
You know your arrow flew true, you see your prize deer jump and run, and you feel the hunter shakes set in. After waiting for calmness to return, you know that the true hunt is about to begin. Making the shot is only the beginning, now the work sets in. Your target has run, now you need to verify the hit, and begin to track it down. The last thing you want to do is lose your trophy. There are methods that will help you find your deer and avoid the terrible feeling of losing what you worked hard to obtain.
You know this method; it has been used for centuries. After you have waited long enough to ensure you won’t startle your wounded deer, the first step is take a mental picture of where you shot the deer. Remember that scenery changes as you move closer, so you will want to make certain you have identified precise landmarks. Once you get to the where the deer was hit, you will be able to tell a lot from the blood. If it smells bad, you know you got a gut hit and you will be in for a long tracking. Gut shots take a long time to bleed out. If the blood is pink and frothy your deer has been hit in the lungs and will only run 100-150 yards.
After you identify the type of hit, you can begin the search. Make certain you stay to the side of the trail in case you need to backtrack. When you find one blood spot don’t move until you find the next. Sometimes the blood can clot and your blood trail will vanish, if this happens you are going to need to look for broken branches, and footsteps. The complexity of tracking down a hit deer has caused more than a few hunters to pull their hair out in frustration. If this has ever happened to you, there is a better way to find and recover your deer.
One of the best things about the Pro-Tracker system is you can connect it to your favorite arrow. That’s right, if you prefer Easton, Carbon Express, Gold Tip, or Cabela’s Outfitters, your new Pro-Tracker System will screw right into the tip. You will only notice a slightest shift in trajectory, but it is easy to adjust your equipment. The Pro-Tracker system comes with two dummies to allow you to practice without fear of damaging the real equipment. The Pro-Tracker has a transmitter that attaches to the animal’s hide. The handheld receiver can pick up the deer no matter where it runs. You will be able to find your deer with pinpoint accuracy. Since the Pro-Tracker is waterproof, this makes tracking in the rain a breeze. The Pro-Tracker system is a revolutionary method that will help you find your fallen trophy ever time.Continue Reading
As you guys know from our last blog post, we are crazy excited for turkey season. It’s a little over a month away and we are already making good use of our dummies and scouring the internet for new amazing calls. In all this anticipation though, we realized this was also a perfect teaching opportunity for our resident hunting novice, who has never hunted a turkey. We went over different arrows with her (as you all read in last month’s newsletter), helped her pick out a brand new bow (she chose the Bowtech Carbon Rose), but then we realized we missed a very important lesson: where to aim on a turkey, and more importantly, why.
While there are several ways you can hit a turkey, you want to make sure that your shot will incapacitate your bird; poor shots result in a wounded bird escaping and increase the risk that you lose the animal altogether and the animal then dies elsewhere. That is a no win all around, and we felt the best way to avoid that is to discuss the different areas where you can aim that generally lead to a solid kill shot. It should also be mentioned that the type of broadhead you use will also come into play when deciding where to place your arrow. Turkey anatomy is a bit different than most people realize. First, you have to take into consideration that a good portion of the bird is feathers and the body itself is relatively small in comparison to the bird’s overall size. Because of this, the internal organs also sit more towards the bird’s rear and higher than most people would initially guess; making hitting certain spots even more important.
One of our favorite, and generally the easiest, ways to make sure you hit a good mark is to hit the turkey in between struts while he is facing away from you. This shot is in most cases fool proof. As long as your aim holds, you will more than likely either snap the turkey’s back (thus preventing flight) or hit a vital organ or two. This position works well for any type of broadhead, but this is also where a mechanical broadhead will definitely shine. Unfortunately, while this is a perfect position for novice hunters, turkeys are rarely compliant and you will more often than not see them strutting. While you can still hit organs when they are in a strut, the feathers make sighting in the right spots much harder. In this instance, it is better to attempt a heart shot by aiming for the turkey’s vent.
While we love us some good back shots, we have found turkeys also love to have a good stare down. If you decide that the staring contest has gone on long enough and you want to be declared a winner and have dinner, aim just below where his beard begins. The goal here is to snap the turkey’s neck or hit some major arteries or vitals. Most mechanical broadheads do a great job in this instance since they have a large cutting diameter when deployed. Fixed broadheads are also a solid broadhead here because they tend to have really great penetrating power which you will need for this shot to be a success. This shot can be a bit tricky though, so practice is definitely your friend here.
Luckily, in this instance the shot placement is basically the same whether the turkey is strutting or not, but it should also be noted that more often than not this shot will also cut off part of the turkey’s beard, preventing it from becoming a nice trophy. Just keep in mind that the turkey itself is much smaller underneath those feathers and therefore you need to make sure you have a good, tight grouping. The other thing to keep in mind here is that the turkey’s organs are located near the back of the bird, so you need to make sure your shot has good penetrating power. Some people also use this position as an opportunity to use guillotine type arrowheads, however we prefer to go the more traditional route sans decapitation.
Obviously, there are other positions the turkey may be in (like strutting around broadside), but we’ve found that if we wait it out until the turkey settles into one of the positions we mentioned before, we have a much better kill rate and run less risk of the bird running or taking flight. Turkeys can also be tricky in the sense that sometimes even if you do get a lung shot or hit organs, they will still either take flight or flee and the blood trail left behind is very hard to follow. Spine shots are one way to guarantee this won’t happen, though you need lots of good practice in to make sure your aim is solid as the spine while long, is narrow giving you little room for error. Another way to ensure you don’t lose your bird is by using your Pro-Tracker. Our transmitter will hook into the bird the same way it would in an animal hide and prevent losing your prize.
1. Scout out your location. Turkeys can be tricky sometimes and we’ve found the best way to enjoy your hunt is to know what to expect. This means knowing where the divisions between public and private lands are, as well as what the landscape and terrain look like. Turkeys love acorns, so areas with large amounts of Oaks along with low-lying shrubs are perfect areas to begin scouting. If you don’t have oaks, finding an area rife with native plants that have nuts or fruit along with shrubs will be a perfect place to begin. One of our favorite tricks before a hunt is to hop onto Google Earth and check out a good aerial view of the area we are heading to. Not only does this show us a good layout, it helps us determine which areas should give us the best chance of finding a good turkey. Plus, we also love Google Earth because we can then zoom in and get a great up-close ground view and map out key roosting spots and potential terrain issues. Once you get a good aerial, it’s always great to walk the location, but if you don’t have time Google Earth is usually accurate enough.
2. The morning of your trip make sure to check the weather. You want to know not only the norm (sunny, cloudy, etc), but also wind speed and direction. The wind direction will directly influence potential roosting spots and knowing the direction in advance will help you to pinpoint the best locations for success.
3. The night before your hunt, you should comb the area and look for the turkey’s roosts for the night, this will help you pinpoint precisely where your hunt should begin the next day. Once you get to your preferred area, do a quick sweep to look for signs of a flock. You should see scratching areas as well as some places with feathers, droppings, and some food remains. Since turkeys shift roosts based on the weather, make sure that the droppings are relatively fresh before setting yourself up to wait on the birds.
4. Pick a good set up location where you have a good sightline, but are still relatively hidden where you don’t mind hanging out for awhile. Sometimes hunts go quick; sometimes you get to hang out waiting for your birds for hours, so getting a spot that is comfy is key. Big trees not only provide a back rest, but also give good wind cover and provide nice shade. Brush piles are also good for concealment, though they tend to be slightly less comfortable than a nice tree. Lastly, you always have the option of a blowdown; whether you can find one or decide to make one yourself.
5. When you do your call, it is always best to make it sound like a flock of turkeys rather than a single one. The turkeys are more likely to respond to a call from multiple birds, plus the more calls, the louder the calls are and also the father they travel; making your hunt that much more likely to be a success.
6. While you’re scouting make a note of the time you notice the birds up and moving, going down to roost, or strutting. If you come back multiple days in a row you might notice a pattern, which can result in better placement for your set up location.
7. Check your gear! Not only do you want it to be in tip-top shape, but you want to make sure it is noiseless. Once you’re geared up, move around a bit; move your arms, legs, bend a few times, heck even take a jump or two. If you can hear it moving, you need to reconsider what you’re wearing.
Well, those are all of our favorite tips. Do you guys have any tips or tricks to add?
For those of you who are gearing up for your first turkey hunt (here in Idaho ours begins in mid-April), you might be surprised to know that turkeys can be tricky. Not only do they move quickly, but their plumage could rival a medieval knight’s armor when it comes to blocking arrows. Couple that with the need to release a shot with just enough finesse to hit the right arteries and vitals (sign up for our March newsletter for more on this), the needs to have just the perfect estimation of yardage, and you have a recipe for one gargantuan gobbling conundrum. Luckily for all of us hunters we are a smart community who learn as we go and love to share our knowledge with the world; resulting in lots of knowledge about how to bring home a delicious wild turkey.
Now, we all know how imperative it is to aim your shot correctly, to pull the correct draw weight, and (particularly with animals that like to flee swiftly or fly like our feathered friends) to emit the correct force to penetrate that pin-feather armor to hit the soft spots underneath. However, before you can worry about where you’re hitting and the force you need, you have to find the perfect something that can penetrate that tricky hide: your arrowhead. We, like many of you in the hunting community, are split as to whether a mechanical or a fixed braodhead is better for hunting a turkey. So, we decided to start off our awesome Talkin ‘Bout Turkeys blog series, we would check out the pros and cons for each to help see if we could determine if one was, in fact, better than the other.
To start off, let’s check out the stats on our fixed broadheads. With a fixed broadhead, you have the advantage that there is no risk on the arrow deploying improperly if the impact angle or necessary force are wrong. Fixed broadheads can also be just as accurate and deadly as their mechanical counterpoints, but they will also enhance any issues you might have if your bow isn’t tuned properly often resulting in either a poor or missed shot. There is also a potential with a fixed broadhead for the head itself to break off if you hit bone, but they generally survive a rib or shoulder blade impact better than their mechanical friends. The biggest advantage of a fixed broadhead though, is that since they have been around longer than the mechanical broadheads you generally have a wider range of selection when it comes to arrow size and diameter coupled with lots stability and reliability as well.
Grim Reaper Hades broadhead. You can purchase this here.
Now tolook at the other side of the coin and examine the pros and cons of a mechanical broadhead. Mechanicals often provide a larger cutting diameter, which means with turkeys in particular that you are more likely to hit the correct arteries and soft tissues to ensure you drop your bird. The mechanical broadheads also tend to lessen any issues that might have otherwise stemmed from a bow that isn’t perfectly tuned. The blades in a mechanical broadhead can be larger since they will not fully deploy on impact, ensuring the size of the blades don’t hinder the shot. Unfortuntately, there is no guarantee that the blades will open properly, particularly if the impact angle is off. Another issue is that in order to open the blades, force is pulled from the arrow itself lessening the overall power of the shot (though this is generally fairly negligible overall). If you happen to hit ribs, or bone these arrows are more likely to break or have damage that prevents the blades from opening fully. The larger cutting diameter, while a great benefit, can also be a hindrance since it increases the potential of hitting bone.
Spitfire Gobbler Getter. You can purchase this here.
Now that we’ve looked at the pros and cons, we have to admit we are still split. Though, after several discussions we did manage to (grudgingly) get the fixed broadhead supporters to admit there are some definite pluses to the mechanical heads, and vice versa for our mechanical broadhead lovers. We decided (at the moment, based solely on the pros and cons) that a mechanical just might surpass the fixed ever-so-slightly when it comes to turkeys, but that we wanted to try hunting with both this season to see what we thought out in the field. So let us know what you guys think: Are fixed or mechanicals better for turkeys? Also, what are your favorite brands to shoot?Continue Reading
One of the most common questions we are asked is “How will the Pro-Tracker affect my arrows speed/penetration?” More often than not, out of respect for your time, we generally give a quick reply and leave it at that. However, after speaking with a few of you, we decided that you deserved a more in depth explanation of how it will affect your shot overall. The easiest way to do this is to actually look at kinetics and momentum and how each affects your shot. When we sat down at our company meeting and explained that we wanted to go over this, our resident aficionado of all things both geeky and filled with science stood up, started pointing at herself and proudly stated, “Ooh, Ooh, the force is strong with this one!” which the rest of us assumed meant she really wanted to write this piece; so we let her.
As anyone that loves physics knows there are tons of variables that can affect your shot. Your shot can be hindered by friction, outside elements, the tension in your string, and every single one of these may be small but can mean the difference between a perfect shot and a near miss. Each one of these factors could have an entire article written on its importance, but for this specific piece we’re focusing only on arrow weight and its effect on both the arrow’s speed and its penetration. In general, most people assume that when it comes to an arrow that faster is unequivocally better; and in some cases they may be right, but not necessarily in all cases. In order to reinforce this, we decided it would be best to look into not only personal knowledge, but outside resources to help us explain properly.
Of all the articles we found, this one by Carbon Arrow University had the most complete explanation and even included field test results. Basically, they explain that the speed at which an arrow travels has an inverse relationship with the mass of the arrow; therefore, a heavier arrow will in turn be slower than a lighter arrow. This is because the lighter weight allows for faster acceleration, which also causes the arrow to hold its trajectory better and lets off a faster shot. Since lighter arrows hold their trajectory better, this also allows for a bit more forgiveness when it comes to your yardage estimations during a shot. These factors are often what often cause hunters to automatically state that a faster arrow is the way to go, but a heavier arrow has quite a few perks as well.
One thing many people do not realize is that bows actually transfer energy more efficiently to heavier arrows as opposed to lighter ones. This energy transfer results in more momentum, therefore giving the arrow itself more knockdown power than its lighter counterparts. Not only do heavier arrows have more knockdown power, but the add momentum they receive means that it takes longer for the arrow itself to slow; resulting in deeper penetration. Another added benefit of a heavier arrow is noise level; a heavier arrow is much quieter than a lighter one because the added speed of a light arrow disturbs a larger amount of the surrounding air one the arrow is released.
Now, knowing that heavier arrows penetrate more, we can go ahead and look back at the initial question of whether speed or penetration is more important and the answer we came up with is…..they are equally important! The reason we decided this is because you can make a determination on what is more necessary based on what you are hunting. If you’re hunting a turkey, it may be preferable to shoot a lighter, faster arrow in order to help avoid a miss due to the animal jumping your shot. However, if you’re hunting an animal that is larger or may have a thicker hide, a heavier arrow with more power behind it would be preferable to a quick shot. We actually prefer a mid-weight arrow so that we can have the benefits of both speed and a bit more penetrating power.
When you add in our Pro-Tracker transmitter you come up with about 100 grains of additional weight. Luckily we found that if you shorten your arrow shaft by 3 ¼ inches that when the Pro-tracker extension is added the arrow length remains the same and also compensates for the weight of the transmitter ensuring your spline is not affected. Overall, you’re arrow’s weight is minimally affected, but the transmitter will still give you a bit more oomph in your shots giving added penetrating power. This extra penetrating power, coupled with the barb on our transmitter, ensure that the not only will the arrow itself have deeper overall penetration, but that the transmitter will embed firmly in the animals hide, resulting in the system’s ability to help you track and find your animal. So all that we have left to say is hooray for science and we hope this helped some of you understand a little bit better how a Pro-tracker would affect your shot.
1. Archery Report. “Kinetic Energy, Momentum and Arrows: A Simplified Approach.” and “Arrow Kinetic Energy and Momentum: What they mean to the Archer.”Archery Report.com. 2009-2015. Website: http://archeryreport.com/2009/11/arrow-kinetic-energy-momentum-archer/
2. Carbon Arrow University. “Chapter 5: Speed and Kinetic Energy.” Hunter’s Friend LLC. Website: http://www.huntersfriend.com/carbon_arrows/hunting_arrows_selection_guide_chapter_5.htm
3. Spinks, J.L. “Understanding Arrow Penetration.” AlaskaBowhunting.com
4. Website: http://www.alaskabowhunting.com/PR/UnderstandingArrowPenetration.pdf
5. Timney, Dr. Mark. “Penetration Much Ado About Nothing?” Bowsite.com 1996-2013. Website: http://bowsite.com/bowsite/features/practical_bowhunter/penetration/
A lighted nock is precisely what it sounds like. They are nocks you attach to your arrow that, once released, cause the nock to light up allowing you to visibly follow the path of your arrow and monitor where your shot hit the animal; they also make finding pass-through or missed arrows much easier. Lighted nocks are most useful in more low-light hunting conditions; such as early morning or late evenings where tracking your arrow’s flight can be a bit more difficult. For a long time, lighted nocks were an area of archery that was rife with debate and tension. Many hunters wanted them, while many states regulations said no (however, for 2016 Oregon is no longer in the “no” category and all we can say is woo-hoo). In recent years more and more states have begun to allow the use of lighted nocks, causing the amount of debates to decrease, yet some states still have them listed in the illegal equipment sections of their hunting regulations.
Now, many of you hunters already know this, which begs the question of why we are writing this article. Is it to show our support for lighted nocks? Is it to draw attention to the fact that some states still have then banned? Is it because lighted nocks can come in some pretty awesome colors and watching them fly makes you feel like an bow hunting Jedi? The answer to that is no…except for maybe the last one because on occasion when practicing we do make a few light saber noises. What prompted this article is the knowledge that one of our staff is new to hunting and while cruising through Google one afternoon, came across a few comparison articles for various brands of lighted nocks, and proceeded to point at the screen and demand, “Explain the thing.” We decided not only to explain for her benefit, but also for the benefit of any other individuals who are either new to hunting or curious about lighted nocks in general.
As we mentioned before lighted nocks are just arrow nocks that light up upon the arrows release. We found them to be beneficial, particularly for newer hunters, as it makes it very obvious if you not only hit your mark but also where the shot connected which lets you know not only A. If the shot you made was a solid shot, and B. If you hit the targeted area, or if you connected in a less than desirable location. The knowledge of the area of penetration can help you determine the best methods with which to track the animal. The concept of a lighted nock is very cut and dry, the confusion seems to erupt when one is faced with not only the large variety or brands, but also they variety in connection types and their effectiveness.
The connection type that seems to be preferred by most hunters we have spoken are the ones where a completed circuit causes the nock to illuminate. This is seen in Lumenock and Carbon Express brand nocks where the force of the arrows release from the bow causes the nock to push into the arrow’s shaft resulting a completed circuit and wonderful glowing nock. Both Firenock and G-5 G-force nocks rely on force to activate the light, though Firenock’s relies on the arrows forward momentum and the G5 relies on centrifugal force. Finally, you have nocks that are activated via magnet, like Easton Tracer Arrows. With these the nock passes through a magnet, which triggers the nock’s light. From our experience, the type of connection seen with the Lumenock and Carbon Express arrows is the most reliable; however, we also respect that each hunter has his own preferences as well. She is currently still researching which type she would like to try, though she did mention she was leaning towards either the Lumenock or Firenock. When we asked her why, she replied that they had the longest battery life, were also the most recommended on various forums, and that the Firenock “comes in pretty colors.” Though she did request that we see what feedback she can get from all of you to ensure she makes an educated decision.
So, that bears the question: Which brand do you prefer and why?
As hunters there is nothing we love more than wild game. The satisfaction that you have used blood, sweat, and occasional tears to fill your families table gives you a sense of pride that is nigh unmatched. Every time you bag a buck, you give yourself a rousing pat on the back, clean it, and load it up to be taken home anticipating all of the delicious meals it will make along the way. For any type of game, there are given rules for prepping these delicacies that have been passed from parent to child for generations: double check to make sure you got all of the feathers, don’t overcook your game etc. Yet it seems sometimes those rules are made to be broken. For as long as we can recall, we were informed that you should always trim deer fat. We were under the assumption that deer fat had a bad flavor and went rancid quickly, therefore fat should be either left for wild animals to claim or used in some other manner. However, after stumbling across an article by David Draper on the Field & Stream blog, we began to wonder: Does deer fat make the meat taste gamey?
In order to help us answer this question, we sought out the blog post by Hank Shaw that inspired Draper’s post. In Shaw’s article he explains that, as with all game animals, there will always be a variation of flavor based on both the region and that specific animal’s dietary preferences. That being said, Shaw goes on to explain that since deer are ruminants they have a much narrower diet than many game animals; causing their flavor range to be narrower as well. While the flavor range will be narrower, however, a deer that eats more acorns or lives in an area with a larger variety of grains will taste better than one in an environment with a sparser food supply (Shaw, 2014).
In Shaw’s post, he explains that while he will use the caul (the fat surrounding the intestines) in certain recipes, he does not use the suet (the fat surrounding the kidneys). He explains that the fat in areas where there are little working muscles is much harder than the fat over top the working muscle groups. Luckily for us, birds love suet and it also makes amazing candles and soaps. Shaw does use the fat in muscular areas (like the hind quarters) to cook with. He explains that deer fats are very high in Omega 3’s, thanks to their diet, and are also thought to have the highest level of stearic acid in any food animal. Deer fat has a higher amount of saturated fat than you would find in deer, pork, or lamb, which initially may worry people. Yet, there are different types of saturated fats, and the saturated fat found in deer is the healthy type. Plus, the stearic acid decreases bad cholesterol levels and might even increase good cholesterol levels; though the latter has yet to be proven (Shaw, 2014).
Shaw does go into detail about how the deer must be treated in order for the fat to taste good and to prevent it from going rancid (essentially, it has to be below freezing; otherwise the Omega 3s cause the fat to oxidize, which makes it go rancid quickly). He also has a check list to follow to ensure your deer fat is tasty. The one drawback Shaw mentioned was the fact that the stearic acid causes the fat to coat your mouth; which can be off-putting (Shaw, 2014).
Using Shaw’s guidelines, we decided to test out whether or not leaving deer fat on worked for us. In order to try this, we enlisted the help of one of our staff members who loves to cook. She opted to make a venison roast as “it’s chilly out and that’s some darned good comfort food,” and here is what she decided.
So in conclusion, we have decided cooking with deer fat does have a huge impact on the flavor. Overall the flavor is fantastic if the deer comes from an area where there are good, flavorful things for it to eat. However, our staff member did say that while her husband had no issue with the feel the fat left in his mouth, she really was not a fan and would likely trim the fat for that reason. What are your thoughts on this? Are you guys pro deer fat or con deer fat?
1. Draper, David. “Do You Eat Deer Fat.” October 31. 2014. The Wild Chef. Field and Stream Blog. Website: http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/the-wild-chef/do-you-eat-deer-fat
2. Shaw, Hank. “Demystifying Deer Fat.” October 13. 2014. Honest Food Blog. Website: http://honest-food.net/2014/10/13/cooking-deer-fat/
As a bow hunter, we appreciate the skill required to take an animal. We enjoy the smell of fresh air and the morning chill that seeps into your bones as you sit quietly and wait for an animal to wander into view. We understand the importance of a steady hand and careful aim; there is no feeling better than letting that arrow fly and hitting your mark. As bow hunters, we also understand the frustration when your perfectly aimed shot seems to go awry (i.e. hitting a branch or an unexpected object). If you miss, you go find your arrow and try again. If you wound your animal you can spend hours or days tracking the blood trail, hoping the weather holds until you find your kill. The sad fact though, is that while many times you will find your quarry, there are just as many times that an animal is unrecovered.
Looking back, you will find studies related to deer loss rates in bow hunting dating back to 1989 or earlier. When the studies first began, the amount of animals wounded and lost is almost astounding, but as bow hunting equipment has improved, the number of animal losses has decreased substantially. Unfortunately, even with these decreases, the ratio of unrecovered animals is still causing concern within the bow hunting community and general public. We wanted to look deeper into deer loss rates, and focused on information obtained in two of the better known studies done by Stephen S. Ditchkoff et al and M. Andy Pedersen at al. One study found that of 104 bow hunters, there was an 18% wounding rate. Within a normal hunting season these hunters hit a total of 908 white tail deer, recovering only 746 (Pedersen et al 2008). In another study, it was determined that there was a 50% wounding rate and of that number 14% weren’t recovered. Of these deer 4% died annually from these wounds, while the rest survived (Ditchkoff et al. 1998).
In the reports, we found that while many of the deer either die (Ditchkoff) or are recovered within 24 hours (Pedersen), that some can survive 5-7 days with wounds before they perish. When looking at these numbers and percentages for any individual state, the number of animals that are not recovered seems miniscule. However once you look at the entire population of bow hunters within the United States alone, the amount becomes much more significant (Ditchkoff). This more significant number of unrecovered animals has been causing animal rights and anti-hunting activists to state that bow hunting is both cruel and inhumane. It is because of this that the Pro-Tracker was invented. Our goal is to eliminate the possibility of losing even one animal while maintaining the integrity of the hunt. Pro-Tracker has been in use since 2010 and thus far we have a 100% accuracy rate in animal recovery. The Pro-Tracker system, while not ideal for every hunter, is thus far supporting the goal of striving to ensure bow hunting is appreciated for the skill it requires and given the support it deserves, rather than seen in a negative light. With technology and advancement in the archery industry, we can help in recovering the animals wounded and work to improve the loss rate. We all have a responsibility to the natural resources we are given; no one is perfect every time. Accidents do happen, and we need to be prepared for those occasions.
Your Pro-Tracker Team
1. Ditchkoff, Stephen S., Edgar R. Welch Jr., Robert L. Lochmiller, Ronald E. Masters, William R. Starry, William C. Dinkines. 1998. Wounding of White-tailed Deer with Traditional Archery Equipment. Proc. Annu. Conf. Southeast. Assoc. Fish and Wildl. Agencies 52:244-248. Website: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ronald_Masters/publication/237609363_Wounding_Rates_of_Whitetailed_Deer_with_Traditional_Archery_Equipment/links/54c63cdf0cf256ed5a9d4dfe.pdf
2. Pedersen, Andy M., Seth Berry, Jeffrey C. Bossart. 2008. Wounding Rates of White –tailed Deer with Modern Archery Equipment. Proc. Annu. Conf. Southeast. Assoc. Fish and Wildl. Agencies 62:31–34
This was Pro-Tracker’s first year at the ATA Show with our new invention the Pro-Tracker, an archery tracking recovery system! We had a working sellable product and I’ll tell you ATA was an adventure! We have attended for the last couple of years (doing our homework) and were glad we did. It really helped us be prepared for the onslaught of interested buyers and retailers that came up to us at the booth. There were a couple of questions that came up over and over again and we would like to answer them for everybody.
The Pro-Tracker System consists of three components:
These three work together with your tracking skills to recover your animal faster after the shot.
The Carrier and Transmitter weigh 100 grains. It’s groundbreaking design screws into the shaft, keeping the majority of the mass in the center of the arrow at the front of the shaft. The added weight gives the arrow more kinetic energy to penetrate deeper into your animal. Its location also helps keep the arrow balanced and allows the arrow to rotate to keep your shot true to your target. When your bow is drawn the carrier raises the arrow about 2 mm to help compensate for the additional weight. The system comes with practice dummies so you can make sure you’re pins are set correctly to be accurate with the system, you will not be disappointed with how the system affects your accuracy.
The Receiver has a digital display that tells you how far away the transmitter is, what number transmitter you are following, the time of day, how long you have been tracking the animal and the battery life of the receiver. You are able to program 6 different transmitter numbers into it, making it a system that can be shared by the whole family or with your hunting buddies. The display is easily read in the daytime and has a backlit display that can be turned on at night to track that last minute giant buck that emerges from the trees at dusk. Nothing more fun than tracking your animal in the pitch black woods!
The Pro-Tracker system uses a plastic shear pin system to connect the Transmitter and Carrier together. The transmitter stays secure in the carrier when the arrow is released and the shear pin connection is broken when the arrow impacts your animal. It only takes the impact of hitting your target to break the shear pin connection. If you shoot a crossbow a special carrier and shear pin is available. Watch this video for exact instructions.
The Transmitter is rechargeable and it’s charger uses a USB cable for power just like your cell phone. While the transmitter is connected to the carrier it uses no power until it is attached to the animal. Once it is attached to the animal you have 10-12 hours to find and recover your animal. Plenty of time to do what you need to do.
We decided to use Radio Frequencies in our transmitters for a number of reasons. First is the varying terrain that hunters encounter in the wild sometimes does not lend itself to finding enough satellites to bounce the location off of. Second, the battery size needed to power a GPS system is too big to fit inside of our transmitter and keep it’s weight low.
We’ve tested it thoroughly… It’s huge… It works… It holds up with the impact….
Better Big than no trophy
The Pro-Tracker Archery Tracking System easily screws into your arrow of choice.
The transmitter attaches itself to the your animals hide with the hook and starts transmitting its’ radio frequency signal immediately to the Pro-Tracker receiver.
This video will show you how to install the transmitter into the carrier on your arrow.Continue Reading
6010 South 4300 West
P.O. Box 160
Rexburg Idaho 83440