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    Prepping for Deer Season: Our Hunting Checklist

    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.

    Making Your List

    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.

    Tree Stands and Scent Eliminators

    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.

    Calls and Lures

    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?


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The Pro-Tracker® Transmitter is a rechargeable, lightweight, water resistant transmitter that disengages from the arrow upon impact; allowing for pass-throughs. The transmitter hooks into the animal’s hide and begins sending Radio Frequency (RF) signals every three seconds for the duration of the battery life (10-12 hours). You will need the Pro-Tracker® Receiver to read and track the signal.




The Carrier is what screws into your arrow and holds the transmitter. It is aerodynamically designed to compensate for the weight and shape of the transmitter. Meaning minimal adjustments to your equipment for the same precision. This item comes in a pack of four.





ReceiverYAGI Antenna

The Pro-Tracker® Radio Frequency (RF) Receiver is a compact system with an easy to attach antenna. This state of the art receiver can track up to 6 different transmitter signals at the same time. Displaying signal strength, transmitter number, current time, time spent tracking, and current battery life, all on an easy to read LED screen. Available only in the Pro-Tracker® System



Carrying Case

The Pro-Tracker® custom metal carrying case helps you keep track of your Pro-Tracker system and ensures everything stays together. Its lightweight and durable design ensures your equipment is protected while being as easy as possible to carry during your hunting trip and recovering your trophy.




This dual-charging station allows you to charge up to two transmitters at a time. It includes both a USB and outlet adapter. The outlet adapter allows you to charge your transmitters at home while the USB adapters allow you to charge your transmiters in your truck for extended hunting trips.




The patented Pro-Tracker® Recovery System will help you locate your kill with durable, state of the art technology. The compact system can track 6 different transmitters while using the same RF receiver with an easy to read LED screen. Best of all, our transmitters don’t require the purchase of batteries and can be recharged both at home and out in the field.



The Pro-Tracker® System has been field tested by top experts in the archery industry. With the Pro-Tracker® Archery System you’ll see virtually no difference in the trajectory of your arrow because of the aerodynamic carrier. Tests have shown the Pro-Tracker® Recovery System will give you many hours of use and the precision to recovery your trophy.



deer hunt
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. When the studies first began, the amount of animals wounded and lost is 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).

pro-tracker bow huntIn 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.

Literature Cited:
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:

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