Just letting everyone know I just put up a new photo page under our "In The Field" label and it is simply called "Trophies". I'll continue adding pictures to the page after I post up each of my remaining stories of the bucks on my wall (3 to go!) as well some of Paul's once I take some good pics of them. I do want to point out that I am using the word trophy in this sense to describe the deer that we have on our walls. It is important to remember, though, that the Inside Out Team's opinion (and one we wish everyone in the hunting community would agree with) is that what is considered a trophy should be left up to each hunter. I know that I consider every deer I am lucky enough to take an accomplishment and still get a rush whether it is a doe or mature buck.
I came across this video on You Tube via HuntDucks.com Facebook page. Check them out on their website as well as the Facebook page. They have some cool stuff at both! This is one of the best duck hunting videos I have seen to date so I figured I would share it with everyone!
If anyone comes across other videos share them with us we always love to see them!
So early December last year (2010), I decided to hit the road and head from Charlotte, NC up to the state capitol - Raleigh for those of you in Faison - to enjoy a weekend of hunting the gamelands around town. I had to make the most out of being unemployed during hunting season the past few years, so hunting trips were my little way of relaxing. I met my buddy (and soon to be Inside Out team member) Chris at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday December 2nd and off we went to Butner-Falls of Neuse gamelands. Sneaking into a spot I scouted back in college, eventually we string up in a drainage not far from the road. I figured this little patch of land received little pressure during the year and I knew we were hunting in a spot most people would pass-by. After an afternoon of being surrounded by turkeys and squirrels, I had two does come under me right before legal shooting time ended. No horns equals no shooting for me that day since it wasn't either-sex there yet, but it did make me feel confident that I was putting us in good spots already.
The following morning saw us hunting with another buddy along the Haw River in a section of the Jordan gamelands. There wasn't much action atop my hardwood ridge until about 10 a.m. when two came trotting by me, skirting the hillside. Didn't even raise the gun as they never slowed down or came through an opening. That afternoon we decided head to another spot on Jordan, one that Chris had hunted in before. Chris and I headed down a drainage about a half-mile from the road and out towards the lake, in the area he had actually walked through a few weeks prior. I set him up in a prime spot, hardwoods surrounded by small thickets, and off I went about 200 yards out from him. After passing numerous rubs along the way, I set up next to the lake in a small opening also surrounded by some thick stuff, in particular a holly thicket to my North. After 20 minutes of sawing and having to use a tie down to physically nudge a beech tree off the oak I was set-up in, I settled in for the evening 10 feet off the ground in my perfectly hidden little spot. While I watched squirrels and birds play in the woods and fish jump in the lake, a shot rang out behind me around 3:30. My immediate thought was "Chris has finally shot a deer!" I can't tell you how excited I was as I have been trying to put him on deer the past 3 years while also giving him advice whenever he hits the woods alone; I just knew it had all finally paid off. I immediately call him and the first thing he says is "I think I missed her", followed by "I see another one, bye". After patiently waiting 5 more minutes, he calls me back and I ask him about her reaction, if he heard a crash, etc. He didn't, so I tell him to wait until 5 p.m. to climb down and look for blood since it was still early and they were moving out by him.
5 p.m. comes and I am in lala land hoping that he is finding blood when I suddenly hear and see a big, dark bodied deer running my way. I thought I saw horns, not wide but tall, but it was really hard to tell with all the small saplings between me and the deer. Before it hit the opening at me, the deer veered off and headed straight to that holly thicket before stopping. I grunted and even snort-weezed to try and bring it out to no avail. With Chris and I finding no blood nor hair and telling me "She ran, stopped, looked back at me, then ran off up the hill", we came to the conclusion that it was a clean miss and he must have hit a branch or one of the two trees he was trying to squeeze the bullet between. While not the best shot decision, he did make the ethical decision to not take a head on shot, which was very good to hear. After discussing the situation, we decided to leave the stands in overnight, planning to hunt that particular area again the next morning.
Fast forward to Saturday December 4th. Sunrise came and went with us not waking up, so after a really late start, we got in the woods and setup at noon: Me at the same spot as before and Chris up the ridge about 50 yards from where he was the previous afternoon. Being a bit of a weather nerd, I knew there was a chance of a little wintry mix that day, I just didn't think it would amount to much. Well around 2 p.m. the snow and sleet started up; at one point in time it was snowing so hard I could barely see the opposite lake shore which was only 250-300 yards away. Birds were active but that was it over our way. Our buddy who we hunted with the day before, however, had managed to see deer left and right over at the Haw River and harvested a cowhorn. By 4 p.m., there was a dusting of snow and sleet on the ground but everything switched over to an on and off rain/drizzle, soaking me in melted snow. I texted Chris that "I am cold and wet, but we are toughing it out this remaining hour and a half" and let me tell you, I am glad I did!
Around 4:30, I took a look out towards the holly thicket mentioned earlier and saw movement. Then legs. Then a whole body. The deer is real light colored and I ease up the gun. Just like I thought, my scope was fogged up but I could still see through it enough to tell it was a doe (and that was tough to see at that distance). With nothing dry to wipe it off with, I knew I was going to have to get a deer in close to take a shot, which I needed anyway since the furthest I could possibly shoot was 50 yards. I continued to look towards the thicket and see another, darker colored deer before finally seeing yet another large, dark colored deer step out into a large opening beside the other two. I immediately thought "That is the deer from yesterday!". As I was saying that to myself, the deer picks its head up and I saw horns, good ones at that. To say I was praying for them to work my way is an understatement. With my attention fully on him now, I watched this buck feed his way right to me. Every now and again he'd stop and look my way while I was trying not to shake from the cold. Oh, let me stop right here and mention that I had taken off my wet gloves to try warm my hands next to my body. Ever hold a cold, wet gun bare-handed in 30 degree weather and try to keep steady while the biggest buck you have seen while hunting is standing a mere 50 yards away? Yea, that was a moment of mind over a matter.
As this buck came closer, I noticed the doe was directly in front of me, so I eased the gun around in the direction he was in while making sure to not get caught. At 20 yards, he stopped under a large holly tree that was beside me. "5 more feet, just 5 more feet is all I need". Nope, he turned around, but headed straight towards another opening. Foggy scope and all, once he hit it and stopped, I put a 150-grain Remington Corelokt right through both lower shoulders and his heart. The beautiful 10-point dropped like a rock, the other deer scattered a little ways and I was shaking like a leaf from a combination of the cold and my largest buck laying dead 20 yards from me. As I called Chris, the other deer eased around in front of me, so I tell him they are headed for his general direction. Not that it matters much, but the other dark deer turned out to be a spike for those of you wanting to know. Unfortunately, they do not head his way. After trying to calm down and calling Paul to tell him to get our processing stuff ready as well as my mom to spread the good news, I tried to stay in the stand 15 minutes. I promise, I really did. But I couldn't take it, after about 5 minutes I said to myself "Whatever, I have to get down, get warm and grab those antlers!" I like to think that I set a new world record climbing down that tree and literally running to my buck. As the heavy sleet and snow commenced again, I just had this huge smile knowing that my plan for that weekend had come together.
As promised, we want to keep you up to date with local wildlife news, specifically here in North Carolina. Recently the North Carolina Wildlife Commission approved for review about 55 changes to the current wildlife regulations. What does this mean? Well, in short, there are public hearings held throughout the different districts of the state, sometimes specifically in the areas where the proposals are for (if only for a particular county). A list of the hearings can be found here.
A document listing all of the proposed laws can be found here. What follows is an excerpt from one of the news updates:
"House Bill 432, which was passed by the General Assembly in June, removes this practice from G.S. § 113-291.1 and gives authority to the Commission to regulate electronic calls for all game animals and birds. The law goes into effect October 1. In order for hunters to continue using electronic calls for crows and coyotes after September 30, the Commission must pass temporary and permanent rules to maintain the status quo. If approved, the temporary rules will go into effect on October 1 and would likely be replaced by permanent rules on January 1, 2012. The Commission’s public hearing schedule appears below.
House Bill 432 also changes the status of feral swine to wild animals and deletes the term “wild boar.” All wild animals must have a season set by Commission rules to make hunting that species legal. The Commission is proposing a temporary rule which declares feral swine (hogs) as a species with no closed season and no bag limits. This temporary rule would also go into effect October 1. An identical permanent rule is proposed to go into effect January 1, 2012.
Please note that as of October 1, all persons shooting feral swine (hogs) must have a hunting license or a depredation permit, except for people who are otherwise license-exempt."
Public Hearing for Proposed Temporary Rules for Crows, Coyotes and Feral Swine (Hogs)
Centennial Campus for Wildlife Education
1751 Varsity Dr.
Raleigh, N.C. 27606
Also, season dates have been decided on for dove and other webless migratory game birds, as well as September seasons for teal and Canada geese. The season dates can be found here. I'm excited and can't wait to get out and do some waterfowl hunting this year!!!!
Have questions about the above? Let us know and we can try to contact the commissioners for more information as well as pass along any specific questions.
So just wanted to post two quick reviews of the camera gear I ordered and finally got in the mail (of course both pieces of equipment had to come in while I was working in Mississippi these past two weeks!).
First up is my Vanguard Alta+ 263 AT tripod. I chose this tripod because of the price ($110 new on Amazon), reviews and specs. It met the requirements I was looking for in a tripod, from everything like in the field photography and videography to "studo" interviews. It's light enough to throw over my shoulder and carry back in the woods without too much fatigue setting in while also being sturdy enough to not shift when panning the camera, though the first leg setting isn't the best for this (need the middle leg setting for the best stability it seems). All that being said, let me list out some of the specs (you can find more after following the link above):
Weight: 3.31 lbs
Leg Sections: 3
Leg Lock Style: Flip Lock
Feet: Rubber with retractable spikes
Leg angles: 3 (25 degrees, 50 degrees, 80 degrees)
Extended Height: 60 1/4 inches
Folded Height: 22 5/8 inches
Max Load: 11 lbs
Features: Hook to hang bag/counterweight, padded leg wraps, rubber shock mount to protect equipment if center column slams down, carrying case
Now we have the one item I wanted last year that I just never got: A LANC remote. I won a Varizoom VZ-Rock for a steal of a deal on ebay ($62 lightly used; these are $250 brand new!) and am very pleased so far with it after a little testing. The side-to-side rocker for the zoom control is smooth and very controllable while the focus rocker works decent too; I am just going to have to get used to it in order to get smooth focuses though. The only complaint I have with this remote is that the button to turn on/off the data on the LCD screen doesn't seem to work. No big deal though since I am used to all of that being up there anyway, plus for $62, who can complain about that? If I really wanted to get it fixed, I could send if off to Varizoom and they would fix it for $70, which would still put me over $100 less than a new one. All in all, it does the job intended and is a great addition to our video arsenal this year!
All that is left for me to get are a Zoom H1 for the Go Pro (audio is the key ingredient to good video and the Go Pro's on-board mic is seriously lacking), a set of wireless mics (a big investment and might not happen this year) and Beachtek adapter, and finally a light for those early morning/late evening "camp" shots as well as nighttime recovery. Got an opinion on the items I touched on in this entry? If so, let your voice be heard and leave a comment!
If you shoot a rifle, muzzle loader, or other high-power firearm, then I have a cool product to share with you. I have a Browning BPS 12 gauge shotgun that I shoot Lightfield Hybred-Elite 3" slugs out of. These slugs have great knock down power for deer but also produce quite the kick. I also have a CVA Accura inline muzzleloader which I load with 150 grains of powder behind a 300 grain CVA Slick Load Sabot. As you may already know, each of these firearms needs a strong scope base and rings if you choose to hunt with a scope.
With that being said, I've yet to find any rings that are as good as the DuraSight Z2 product line. The difference? These mounts are 50% stronger than the common aluminum alternatives! I've put these mounts on each of the firearms I mentioned above and have had nothing but good things to say about them. They also won't break the budget, although they are a bit more expensive than some of of the cheaper mount systems that you can find; but, as the saying goes, you really get what you pay for with these.
They also provide multiple options such as one piece and two piece mounts as well as see-thru mounts which allow you to use your open sights along with the scope if you choose to. The season is approaching fast, so if you are in the market for a new scope mount system then I highly recommend you try these out.
Ok guys, time to give you a heads up on a little idea we've been kicking around that is going to launch starting August 1st. As those of you who have blogs yourself know, maintaining readership is a big part of why we do what we do. The Inside Out team wants to share our experiences, opinions, thoughts and ideas with anyone of will listen, but we also want you guys (and gals) to leave us your thoughts as well. To be honest, you guys need to step it up! I know you have comments that just want to be let out and shared, so in order to give you a little nudge towards doing so, we will be giving away an outdoors related item at the end of each month (I know I have shared all of this info before, but it's been a while). Basically, leave a comment and get your named entered into the drawing, with a maximum of 4 entries per month. Come the last day of the month, we'll put all the entries in a hat and whoever we pull out will be getting a sharp knife, new grunt call, pack of broadheads or maybe even a camelback daypack to use the rest of their lives! Now are you gonna leave us a comment?
Inside Out Team
In my honest opinion, a good flashlight is one of the most important pieces of equipment any hunter (or outdoorsman) can invest in. Every hunter knows you need a reliable firearm, matched ammunition and good comfortable clothing; however one of the most over looked pieces of equipment is the flashlight.
I have to admit I was in this same category for quite awhile. Last year while I was bow hunting with Cory and our friend Chris, I shot a doe about an hour before dark. We heard the doe go down out of sight; however by the time we got the climbers off of the trees, found the arrow and packed all of our gear up, it was already pitch black out. We found a blood trail and started to track the downed deer. As the blood trail became scarce I found myself on my hands and knees in areas trying to find the next spot of blood. This difficulty was due to the lack of a good flashlight. The lights we were carrying were not bright enough to make the tracking easy.
Once we had admitted defeat we got Chris and headed back to the trucks (a solid mile away) with our gear so we could fetch a brighter light. We walked back to the area we thought the deer had gone down in and started to scan with our light and we found her quite quickly. Let me pause for a quick tip: When looking for a downed deer in the dark, scan with your light from left to right slowly and look for the white under belly and the glow of the eyes from the light. This trick has saved me more than once!
After that trip I decided I needed to spend the money on a good flashlight so this would not happen to me again. Over the past couple of years the technology of flashlights has advanced immensely. The market is flooded with terminology such as LED (Light Emitting Diode), which can make the average outdoorsman cringe with tech lingo. Some of the things to look for when shopping for a solid light are as follows:
1) Multiple brightness settings, a low and a high will be fine for most people.
2) I prefer a light that runs on regular AA or AAA batteries as these are usually less expensive than other batteries and you can use a rechargeable battery as well as they are easy to find at any store!
3) I would recommend an LED light that has an output of at least 100 lumens. I purchased a Browning Hi Power light that can be found here for about $75. In my opinion, the brighter the better!
The Browning light I purchased runs on two AA batteries, is 145 lumens (measure of brightness) and reaches out to about 150 yards. It is also compact enough to fit in a cargo pocket and does not weight a ton! With my new light it makes getting to a stand in the morning much easier not to mention tracking and finding downed game!
So if you are looking for your next hunting investment, think about making it a good quality flashlight.
I just wanted to share a recent experience that I had with CVA. I bought an Accura from CVA about two years ago. I used the muzzleloader for a season, harvesting a very nice 8 point buck during the open day of gun season in New York while my Step Dad harvested a nice doe on one of the last days of the season. My overall experience has been great with this gun as it shoots very accurately. I'll leave the details of the gun for another post; however I do want to share a good experience I had with CVA's repair service.
After the first season, I noticed that the firing pin was not recessing back into the breech face bushing. Basically, once the gun was fired it could not be fired again without pushing the firing pin back into the bushing. I concluded that the firing pin spring must be either broken or dirty. I tried again and again to remove the breech face bushing....without success. Fortunately CVA offers a lifetime warranty on all of their rifles! I packaged the gun up, filled out an easy form found here and mailed it back to the factory for repair.
To my surprise, within 3 weeks I had my gun back! The repair was free of charge and the shop performed the following:
- Repaired the bushing and cleaned the firing pin and firing pin hole
- Cleaned the entire gun (top to bottom!!!!)
- Sent a tube of good grade cleaning gel
- Best of all they attached a 30% off VIP discount coupon good on one item...even one of their rifles!
Customer service like this is what keeps folks coming back to buy more guns as well as recommending these guns to fellow hunters and shooters. I was very impressed with the job they did and the speed in which they performed the repair.
I'll get off my soap box now and let you take a look at their rifles...if you are in the market for a new muzzle loader, take a look!
Sometimes the great ideas that we have just need something to bring them to the forefront. The Inside Out team will be putting our talents to work and sharing our knowledge and love of the outdoors with anyone who wants to listen.
Curran's Outdoor Adventures
GoBlog (Get Outdoors)
Grants Blog (Growing Deer TV)
Hunt Like Your Hungry
inFOCUS (Campbell Cameras)
inMotion (Heartland Bowhunter)
Make It Happen Outdoors
Taking a Walk on the Wild Side
The Rivah Blog
The Will to Hunt
Wired to Hunt