Be the Best Shot Possible!

As the bull charged his way down the drainage I knew that today would be the day! With every step I could see the saliva dripping from his mouth and each time he bugled the steam would roll from his nostrils like a freight train roaring down the tracks in the cool, morning air. This “Gila Monster” bull, or so they like to call them in New Mexico, was on a B-line right for my position and I knew that the shot was going to happen fast.

Quickly I scanned the area looking for some cover to get behind so I could draw my bow undetected as the beast made his way towards me. A lone scrub brush was going to have to do, so I beat feet over to it. I can still remember just getting to that bush when this bull cut loose a bugle so close that it almost knocked me down!!! He was close and my heart was pounding out of my chest!!!

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We all dream of situations like this; our dream bull is headed straight for us and we know that we're about to get a shot. For some of us this could be a shot of a lifetime, or the most important shot of our life. Are we ready? Will we capitalize? Have we done all that we can do to make sure that all of our hard work, time and money will be put to good use AND that we will make this shot that we dream about when the opportunity presents itself? I've put together this blog with these “lifetime shots” in mind. In this blog I'm going to go over three things that I do religiously each off season that have made me a better archer AND allow me to capitalize when these moments present themselves.

Blank bale shooting

If there's one thing that I've learned over the years of shooting my bow, it's that perfect practice equals perfect results. So what I mean by that is that when we practice we must be making perfect shots in order to perform in the moment of truth. Just flinging arrows down range with no meaning will not yield perfect accuracy. Years and years ago I shot indoor archery professionally and had the pleasure of having some fantastic coaches. All of them preached about using blank bale shooting in the off season and I cannot tell you how much this changed my shooting for the better.

Blank bale shooting refers to shooting at a block or bale from close range, maybe 10-20 feet, with no target face or dot to look at or focus on AND I even take it a step further and remove my sight. Literally we are only working on our shot sequence and working thru the release.

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Basically we're reprogramming ourselves and our shot. We want a surprise release where we aren't anticipating the release going off, so blank bale allows us to only focus on ONE thing - aiming!!! Aim. Aim. Aim. Is what I'm always telling myself as I'm at full draw because I want the bow to do it's job and myself to do my job, which is to aim.

Blank bale shooting is a great way to rid ourselves of target panic and anticipation, which can both destory a good shot. It'll allow us to work on our form flaws and to practice making a perfect shot by only being worried about aiming and letting the shot happen naturally. By not having a target or a sight to focus on we now only focus on our form and aiming. Give this a try for a month, 15-20 arrows a day and I promise you that you'll see huge results from it.

Long distance shooting

How many of you have stated over the years that you'd love to make those 50-60yard shots feel like 20 or 30 yarders? How many of you have had a buck stand at 50 yards feeding, but you never released an arrow because your confidence is just not high enough at that distance? Well if you're like many archers I know, you've been guilty of both of these numerous times. So why not change this??? This year is the year and here's how. Start practicing 20-30 yards past where your comfort level is now and you'll be amazed how quickly you add 20+ yards to your hunting proficiency.

For example let's say your comfortable out to 40 yards, start shooting at 70+. Use a bigger target when you first start, so no arrows are lost and start practicing at these longer ranges each day. Shoot 10-15 good arrows at these longer ranges each day and you'll be amazed at how quickly your effective range will grow. Soon those 50 and 60 yard shots will feel like a breeze because you've been practicing at 70 and beyond.

 Curt, Eric & Colten practice 100 yard shots at the WCB Shewt!

Curt, Eric & Colten practice 100 yard shots at the WCB Shewt!

Shooting these longer ranges makes us focus more on the details of our shot sequence as well as focusing more on the shot because of the longer distance. This teaches us to take our time more and to aim better because of the length of the shot. This will then make those shots that were once difficult seem like a walk in the park because you've been shooting past that comfort zone for awhile now. Your confidence will go up and in my mind confidence is everything in bowhunting, especially when a longer shot is needed to punch that tag. These shots will challenge an archer to make himself better and to me that's what we should all strive to do each season.

Practice like you HUNT

This hunt had been grueling to say the least. After miles and miles each day on horseback we tracked this tom through some of the thickest, nastiest brush that New Mexico had to offer, but on day 5 we finally caught up to this mature lion and got him into a tree. The rest was now up to me!!! Quickly I tied my horse up and made my way towards the tree’d lion. Once I got to him I noticed that the tree he was in was very thick, which offered limited shooting lanes. I was going to have to go almost directly under the lion and make a tough, straight upward shot with my bow. Luckily before this hunt, I had practiced for this exact scenario and knew that I could make it! That practice sure paid off as I hit him perfectly and he was dead before he hit the ground. But what if I wouldn't have practiced this shot? Imagine how hard it would be to make that shot in that high pressure situation!

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My point here is that we need to prepare in the off season to shoot in the conditions that we may face during a hunt. Maybe it's steep angles on a mule deer hunt, or shooting from an elevated position to mimic a deer hunting scenario, or from our knees like we may encounter on a turkey hunt next spring. Whatever the case may be practice like you're actually hunting.

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Another good tip that I like to preach is practice with your hunting gear on. Wear the clothes you'll be wearing to make sure that string won't grab your sleeve, put your facemask on and make sure it doesn't alter your anchor points. Another one we forget as western hunters especially is to shoot with a pack on because a lot of times we will have packs on our back as we're spot an stalking or working towards an animal.

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Another thing I love to do to mimic a hunting scenario is to get my heart racing like it would be if a giant buck had just stepped out. What I'll do is I'll jog for a few minutes or do 30-40 pushups continuously and then grab my bow to shoot. This will simulate a racing heart and give us a good idea if we're ready to shoot under a high anxiety, pressure situation! Try this out- you'll be shocked at how realistic it is to the real thing.

Let us know how your shooting is coming this summer AND if you're using any of these techniques to make yourself a better shot. We've got a full lineup of badass guests and blog ideas coming at you this summer and early fall so stay tuned! As always GO SHOOT YOUR BOW. CHASE YOUR DREAMS NOT YOUR LIQUOR 👊🎯🍻


 

 

 

Five tips for Archery hunting Turkeys!

 

 

With the forest greening up and the song birds all coming back as the days grow longer and the temperatures go up I can't help but to think about those distinct gobbles from a roosted tom on a crisp, clear spring morning. I get goose bumps just thinking about those loud, hair raising gobbles piercing the air as I sit, motionless and patiently waiting for the sun to come up.

Turkey hunting is definitely one of my favorite times of the year and certainly one of my favorite animals to hunt with my bow in hand. The adventure of calling to these birds in hopes of getting them tricked into thinking I'm a love struck hen has always intrigued me. It's a beautiful time of the year and an even prettier bird to hunt especially when they're all puffed up, in full strut and headed your way! There truly is nothing better than seeing this sight and I hope that you all get to experience this each and every spring.

Since most of you are all diehard bowhunters I wanted to do a blog entry all about archery turkey hunting and a few tips and tactics that I've learned over the years to help you increase your odds this spring. Hopefully I'll be seeing a bunch of you behind some beautiful tail fans with those bows in your hand!

1.Use a decoy with a plan

Many times throughout my hunting career I've had a decoy help me kill a smart, old tom. But I've also had other times where a decoy placed in the wrong spot cost me a bird as well because it wasn't spotted by my prey OR because it wasn't spotted quick enough to give this bird time to see it and adjust. Let me explain the system that I use most of the time and why it works!

When it comes to decoying turkeys with a bow I believe a plan is definitely a must. For me, I like to put my decoy up past my location and away from the direction that this tom is heading towards me. What this does is it allows me to call this bird past me, with his eyes locked on my decoy. As the old boy walks by with his attention on the decoy I'll draw my bow back undetected and put an arrow through his boiler room as he walks away with no clue that I'm present! This takes his greatest sense out of the equation- his eyes! In order to kill him, YOU must beat his vision!

 Everyone likes a different decoy setup that works for them! Matt and Clark have it figured out! Photo Credit: Clark Cummings

Everyone likes a different decoy setup that works for them! Matt and Clark have it figured out! Photo Credit: Clark Cummings

 

2.Call less for more results

More times than I'd like to admit have calling TOO much cost me a bird. As a youngster I literally couldn't get enough of hearing these birds gobble and I honestly wanted to call to them at all times until I figured out that this was costing me birds. Turkeys are very curious and we must remember to play them on this weakness. Once a tom hears a hen that he's interested in he's expecting this hen to come to him. (Just like how it happens in the wild) So when we “shutup” and only call here and there this frustrates our feathered friend to the point where he will break off of his strut zone and come our direction in hopes of finding this hot hen! At this point is where calling less can play a huge factor in killing a stubborn bird that probably wouldn't have left his strut zone. Curiosity can kill a tom just like it can a cat! Get that bird hot and then wait him out instead of calling. Make him come find you and I promise you'll kill more stubborn birds that otherwise would never have left that strut zone.

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3.Do your homework to kill more birds

Everyone knows that I'm a huge believer in doing my homework long before all of my bowhunts take place. In my opinion preparing before a hunt and having a solid gameplan is the foundation for success on any bowhunt. Turkeys are no different!!! Figure out the roosting locations, how they pitch down, where they feed and locating good strut zones are all awesome ways to get ahead of the game and put my strutters in front of you this spring.

I love to get out well before the season starts and listen before daylight for those tom's to cut loose and gobble. This let's me know where the good roosting trees are and from there I can make a good prediction on how they'll pitch down. More times than not they'll fly downhill versus uphill, so keep that in mind when thinking about where they may pitch down. I've killed many birds right off the bat by being setup well before daylight in these good pitch down areas. Also I like to walk my hunting area before season and take note of where I'm seeing the most turkey sign. These are areas where strutters probably spend time in and where these birds are naturally congregating at. These spots are great spots to ambush a midday bird as well as good feeding spots. Glassing fields will tell us about what the local birds are doing and feeding on. This all puts the puzzle together just that much more for us as a bowhunter.

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4. Hunt from 9 A.M. till noon

If I was only given one time frame to hunt turkeys from the rest of my life I would choose 9-12 hands down without a doubt. Now before you all go into cardiac arrest let me explain why I've picked this time. I realize that most of us think about early, sunny mornings and lots of gobbling right off the bat when asked about turkey hunting. Rarely do we think about the middle of the morning or mid day as being as “turkey” type of time, but I'm here to tell you that in my opinion it's the best. Why is it the best?

In my opinion killing a bird right off the roost is tough. It's tough because more times than not he's already got a girlfriend with him OR he knows exactly where she's roosted at and if you're not with her or close by when he flies down you're basically up shit crick without a paddle. (Not good my friends) So then what do we do? Well we can try to call him off of her, which is slim to none or we can wait him out. Rarely will many hunters wait 2-3 hours, so a bunch will say “he's henned up we may as well go home and try another day.” At this point is where 9-12 comes into play!!! By 9 this tom that was henned up earlier should be single again and out searching for a new girlfriend!!! Also most of the hens are back on their nests by now and not taking strutters away from us. This is great because we no longer have to compete with the real hens like we do more times than not right off the roost, which usually hear our calling and take their men away from us.

In short 9-12 has provided me with a ton of punched turkey tags because it's a time frame where a lot is in favor of the hunter. Less hens, tom's looking for a new girlfriend, less hunters left in the woods AND it provides us from not having to wake up at 4am every morning which I'm sure a lot of you will like an appreciate. HUNT 9-12-youll be happy you did!

 Curt's bird was henned up all morning and started making a move just after 9A.M

Curt's bird was henned up all morning and started making a move just after 9A.M

5.Run and gun like you're a lunatic

I know some of you will say that blind hunting is the way to go especially with a bow and I'm okay with that, BUT in my opinion Runnin and Gunnin is the only way to bowhunt turkeys! I love the thrill of mixing calling + spot and stalk hunting together when turkey hunting. It's basically like the best of both worlds because it allows us to call and be patient at times and then at other times we take off and go close the gap or move to a better spot. This keeps the hunt more interesting and exciting in my opinion!

When running and gunning I like to cover ground especially if im not hearing a bunch of birds gobbling and giving me the opportunity to go hunt them. So what I'll do is I'll walk and call every 100-150 yards until I get a Tom to light up and gobble back (shock gobble calls like an owl hoot or sharp yelps and clucks work great to shock a Tom into talking). At this point I'll then pin point where I think he is and start moving in with a slow, methodical approach. I'll only call enough to get him to gobble and give away his presence, which will tell me whether I need to move again or stay put. Obviously if I think he's headed my way I'll stay put and get behind a tree or bush to block my movement when drawing. But if I think he's in his strut zone and not moving towards me I'll then make a plan to close the distance and make a move. Sometimes this move is all it takes to make a Tom buy into your calls and believe that you're without a doubt a real hen because you're moving around mimicking what a real hen does. This has worked time and time again for myself and many of my friends. Sometimes it's all it takes to trick the old boy into committing and heading your way!

 Doug & Curt did a mixture of Run and gun and hunting without a blind on their trip to Kansas.

Doug & Curt did a mixture of Run and gun and hunting without a blind on their trip to Kansas.

I hope all of these tips and tactics help you out this spring on a big, paint brush bearded bird. Make sure you tag us here at Working Class Bowhunter so we can see all of your turkey kills! We can't wait to see them start hitting the ground. Above all have fun and enjoy yourself this spring and DONT forget to keep an eye out for some sheds that you might have missed and the mushrooms that will start popping up soon. Those sure do go good with bacon wrapped turkeys breasts on the grill and a cooler full of cold buschlattes! Enjoy and go give em hell fellas!

GO SHOOT YOUR BOW

CHASE YOUR DREAMS NOT YOUR LIQUOR

WCB

Journey to kill "The Big Six"

With a steady Northwest wind blowing and the big storm finally over, I knew I needed to be in a tree on this Saturday evening. These deer would be hungry and I assumed there would be an early arrival to this field from many of the local deer including "The Big 6." Due to working overtime, I actually was running a little bit behind schedule, but had a well thought out entry route in that provided me with a discreet path to my new stand location, undetected. As I got nestled in for the evening sit a smile came across my face as the cold wind steadily hit me. I knew I had the perfect conditions with the snow and cold, so the stage was set for a showdown with my buck.

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The does started pouring into the field, like they always did, around 4:15 and it was evident that they were hungry. Quickly they ran into the field and started feeding. Before long 21 does and fawns were feeding in front of me and I knew it was just a matter of time. At 4:25 I looked up and from across the field I could see the giant frame that I've thought about for the last few months (everyday) headed my way. I knew it was now or never and I started mentally preparing for my shot opportunity. My favorite part of the hunt isn't actually releasing an arrow. To be honest, it's the few, fragile moments leading up to the shot that I live for. For me, everything slows down and I go into "my zone."

Frantically checking to make sure another deer wasn't paying attention to my movement, I grabbed my bow and got into position as the brute made his way across the field, step by step. He was on a mission, lead by his desire to feed and I knew that by being a slave to his stomach is what was about to make him so vulnerable on this day. Cautiously, he started to feed while checking his surroundings every few moments in order to ensure his safety. I knew I needed to wait for him to turn away in order to come to full draw undetected and once I saw a yearling headed his way I knew my opportunity was about to come into existence. He was a loner all his life and didn't tolerate other deer feeding close to his proximity….(to be continued)

Okay so now that I have YOUR attention let's rewind this story about two years back and start from the beginning.

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The story of The Big 6 actually starts in the spring of 2015. I was out strolling for sheds, like I normally do many days during the spring, when I decided to head to a farm that I have hunted most of my life and that usually produced a few good antlers. After walking about an hour or so I spotted what looked to be a good, heavy beam antler laying up ahead. Rapidly I scurried over to check it out! Low and behold my assumption was correct and I was holding a beautiful antler from what looked to be off a mature buck. My mind was now racing! “Which buck was this!?” Honestly, I had no clue what buck this was, nor did I have any pictures of him either. As I laid in bed that evening I remember how excited I was to get minerals and cameras out on that farm to try to find the buck that this antler belonged to. The obsession had begun!

Cameras and minerals were put into place and the anticipation for summer sightings and pictures of this brute couldn't have been higher. But, unfortunately this buck did not turn up one single time on camera or in person on my summer scouting missions! I was heartbroken. The only thing that I could think of was that he wintered here, but didn't spend a whole lot of time here during the spring and summer. “Hopefully in the fall I would catch up to him”, or so I thought!

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As that season came and went no pictures were taken of this ghost buck, but I did get a good glimpse of a heavy beamed, old brute during the rut two different times that I thought may have possibly been this buck. As the season came and went I ended up killing a great late season buck on another farm in December and so my thoughts switched gears to hopefully finding this ghost bucks sheds that next spring.

 

In the spring of 2016 while walking on this same farm where I found the shed from the year before I stumbled on what appeared to be a great set of antlers laying almost side by side down in a creek bottom! As I sprinted towards them I immediately in my head thought that maybe this was my buck from the previous year and boy did they sure look like it! With heavy mass, great time length and good beams I was certain this was the same buck and I couldn't have been more excited! Now it was time to put a trail camera plan           into action on this farm in hopes of getting some pictures of him in velvet.

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As luck would have it I started getting pictures of this buck right away in June and he was a complete stud again. He had heavy beams and long times, matched with a gigantic body and that “swagger” that only dominant bucks possess. I couldn't wait to hunt this buck and because this farm had soy beans on it this year I knew that he would probably stick around and give me a chance to hunt him. My plan was to continue running a few cameras and scouting this farm from afar in hopes that not pressuring him would keep him here all summer and early fall.

This plan worked like a charm as he was caught on camera and spotted in person numerous times that summer and early fall even after he shed velvet. My only problem was that I had a bigger buck showing up on a different farm that I also had history with. So my game plan was to hunt whichever buck was giving me a better pattern that first part of the season. As luck would have it, the other buck, a buck I named “Extra” was showing up more frequently and thus I decided to hunt him first.

Extra decided to read the script perfectly and let me put an arrow thru him at 27 yards on the opening night of bow season during the 2016 season. He's still my biggest buck to date and I couldn't have been happier to kill him, but as the season went on I often wondered what had happened to the big framed ghost buck on my other farm. With only having one buck tag in Ohio, i decided to pull all of my cameras and stands on the farm where this ghost buck was on in an attempt to give him nothing but space and no pressure. I was hoping he would stay on this farm and once again leave his sheds behind for me to find that spring.

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During the spring of 2017 I searched and searched for this bucks sheds only to come up empty handed. I even gained permission from the neighbors to shed hunt, but came up short and never found his antlers. Standing corn on a farm I had no permission to hunt must have kept him occupied for most of the winter and I figured that's where his sheds would be as well. My only hope was that he would return to my farm this spring and summer to feed on the luscious beans that I would be planting for him. Thankfully this is exactly the way it panned out!

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Low and behold on the first camera check of the year, BOOM there he was and what an old, warrior he had turned into. He was now a main frame 6 point, with heavy, long beams and fantastic mass, which made his frame look gigantic. A huge body capped off his presence and solidified himself as the dominant buck of the area and one that I would hunt for all year long, if need be. I remember walking back to my truck that day tingling with excitement. I had always wanted to kill a big, old 3x3 and this buck literally was like a dream come true. His dominant presence won my heart over from first sight and bow season couldn't seem to get here soon enough

Trail camera pictures and sightings in the beans were a normal weekly event all summer long with this buck. I really thought if he stripped velvet and stuck around that I would have a great chance to kill him during our early season, the end of September. But as my luck seems to always go at times, this was NOT the way this story goes and unfortunately I lost this buck at the end of August right before he peeled his velvet off. I was now spinning my wheels the entire month of September trying to figure out where this buck had gone.

A week before our season here in Ohio started I got a tip from a local guy that a giant bodied buck with a large frame ran out in front of him one evening right before dark on a farm close by. Eager to see what buck this was I gained permission to hang some cameras and scout this farm. On my second evening glassing fields I found “The Big 6!” He was with two other smaller bucks that I had pictures of on the other farm and I was certain that they had switched gears because this farm still had green beans due to being planted late. I now had a new gameplan on a new farm and couldn't have been more pumped!

 

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During the end of September and into October I had numerous pictures of “The Big 6” and even had him in front of me twice!!! Once it was past legal shooting light and another time on October 30th he was at 52 yards, but never presented a shot. After hanging some more stand sets for the rut I was hoping November would be my month to settle the score with this old, bruiser.

November unfortunately came and went with three more sightings, BUT no shot opportunities. I had now saw this buck on the hoof 5xs AND STILL had never drawn my bow back yet. To say I was frustrated would literally be a huge understatement. This buck was driving me insane and I couldn't stop thinking about him. My only hope was that the cold and snow would put him on predictable patters to hunt. After a long, hard rut I knew his stomach would be the only thing on his mind and I certainly would key in on this weakness.

December came and with it brought freezing cold temperatures and lots of snow. For a bow only, late season lover like myself, the weather conditions couldn't have been any better and I was extremely excited to see those below “0” temps and lots of white stuff on the ground. I knew these sits would be long and cold, but I also knew that these were the conditions I needed to get this buck on his feet before daylight.

On December 30th, after months of chasing this buck around in multiple stands I FINALLY had him coming my way and on a straight line towards my perch, high up in an old, oak. Frantically I kept checking my watch as I knew light wasnfading fast. With the East wind hitting me in the side of my face and all the other deer out in front of me I knew the conditions were good to hopefully get an arrow in this buck. Slowly he marched into range, directly facing me head on as he fed. And he fed some more. And he fed some more!!! A nightmare was about to take place as the light faded right before my eyes and I knew it was going to hurt. This buck literally fed in front of me for 15 minutes as light faded away only to finally give me a quartering away shot as legal shooting time had already expired. For the second time this season I had this buck in range, but was not able to kill him because of shooting light running out. Discouraged and feeling defeated I walked to my truck that evening hanging my head. I knew this was a perfect opportunity that had just slipped thru the cracks of my fingers. I was mind blown. 

As January came once again this buck changed his routine and bedding area and was now entering this bean field from a different direction. This was bad for two reason, #1 being that my stand was now in and iffy spot for the correct wind that he liked to move on and #2 I was now unsure of my entry and exit routes into this field because of his new bedding area. North and East winds were the only winds suitable to kill him on so on a cold, January evening with a South wind I opted to not hunt and glass from afar to see if I could spot this buck entering the field. As my watch read 5pm that afternoon I looked up and saw my buck with 5 does heading towards the field and then something hit me, something I had never thought to do before up until this point popped into my head. “I need to go into his bedroom and see what this buck is seeing,” I thought. As crazy as this sounded it was the perfect scenario-all the local deer were already in this field and so was my buck. With a backdoor entry into his bedroom I knew i could go in undetected and hopefully figure out something I was missing. So I jumped into my truck and quickly headed towards the other side of this farm.

From the moment I got into this bucks bedroom it all hit me and made perfect sense. As I crossed a ridge and went over a saddle towards my stand this buck, from his bed, would be able to see me pop over the top. Due to probably watching me do this from time to time it caused him to hit this field later than normal. This led to my buck being on edge and is why he always got to me so late AND why it took him so long to walk across that field. He knew at times something was in the area that shouldn't be and that thing was me! I needed to hang a new set and come up with a new approach to get to and from this spot.

January 13th a frigid, snowy day that I'll never forget and soon won't stop thinking about. On this day I matched with with “The Big 6” and came out on top.

 

……(continued from the beginning)

As the yearling fed closer and closer to my buck I knew exactly what was about to take place. “The Big 6” was a loner and never was found of other deer feeding in his area let alone right beside him. Many times during the summer, fall and winter I watched him run other deer off that came to close to his feeding proximity and I knew this time would be no different. Meticulously I checked my surroundings to make sure all of the deer were still in front of me. With the wind piercing my eyes and face I knew I had all the odds stacked in my favor and it was time to get back to full draw.

 

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Cautiously I lifted my bow off the bow hanger and calmly rested it on me knee. I was now entering “my zone” where I really try to slow everything down so no mistakes are made. I remember saying to myself right before I drew back, “this is it Clint, make it happen tonight" I knew the time was now and I needed to capitalize on this opportunity. Slowly I bent back the limbs on my Mathews bow and finally got back to full draw. I nestled the string against my nose and began getting ready for the shot. Around this time the yearling had finally gotten too close and the buck tore after her making sure that she left his feeding space. At this moment is when it really hit me that I would be getting a shot and I checked my anchor points one final time before beginning my shot sequence. Effortlessly I began squeezing my back muscles together, like I have done in practice sessions a million times before. I had my pin set to the exact yardage of 37 and I was determined to bury this pin on the bucks chest as I continued to squeeze...squeeze….squeeze….until the bow broke and my arrow was off! 

 

I knew the moment my shot broke that this buck was dead. It just felt perfect and I knew what that usually meant as I watched my Gold Tip Pierce Platinum shaft and rage broadhead bury deep into the brutes chest. Immediately I saw blood flying from his body as he tore off down towards the creek at the bottom of the field. Frantically I hung my bow up and grabbed my binoculars in hopes of watching him go down right before my eyes. Once at the creek he stood motionless like a soldier in lineup, then he proceeded do walk slowly down into the creek. An attempt was made to climb the steep bank, but after making it about halfway I watched him stop and then flip over backwards back down into the creek and I knew that I had FINALLY DONE IT. The Big 6 was dead! 

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I'll never forget grabbing my phone and calling my dad to let him know the news. I could barely talk and honestly was so shook up that I had to sit down and just relax before ever even climbing down. But this is why I bowhunt, this is why I hunted over 95+ days for this buck, this is why I kept going and stayed hungry, this is why I battled 15 hour days in the rut and -15 degree days in the winter. It all came down to this evening, on this day and to me, there is no better feeling OR moment in time than to be sitting in a tall, old oak tree on a frigid January day knowing that you finally killed the buck you've been after for so long. This is why I do it and this is why “The Big 6” will always be extremely special to me. I hope you all have enjoyed the story on my encounters with this buck. It was a rollercoaster ride full of emotions, but that's what makes this buck so special. The WCB gang and I will be doing an in studio podcast later this week all about this buck and my quest to kill him. I hope you all enjoy it and thanks again for the continued support! We can't thank you enough. As always GO SHOOT YOUR BOW and Chase your dreams, not your liquor!

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What “The Big 6” taught me

-Mature bucks will and do winter in different areas each year solely based off of the available food sources no matter how much cover one farm has over the other. Food is the king.

-Bucks that are loners will usually stay that way and rarely will change their demeanor throughout their life

-Old, dominant bucks do EVERYTHING for a reason. Figure out those reasons and he's a killable animal

-Entry and exit routes are key ingredients to killing mature deer and have to always be planned accordingly due to changes in a bucks pattern or behavior

-Thinking outside the box and doing something different can sometimes pay off in a huge way even if it's something you've never done before (going into his bedroom was a key factor in killing this buck)

-Patience AND Persistence will always pay off (95+ days were needed to kill this buck)

-Determination and Grit are needed if you want to match wits with an old buck (it's not usually an easy task to kill a dominant, old buck)

-Documenting the wind and using trail cameras are key pieces to putting together a solid gameplan on how to kill an old buck regardless on what season you're in.

-Embrace the grind. It'll all be worth it in the end.

-NEVER EVER GIVE UP


 

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2018... YOUR Year!

2018 - A new year with new hopes, dreams and goals for all of us diehard bowhunters across the country! So many of us always say, “this is our year that we're going to do things differently” or “this year I'm going to make sure I go on a bowhunt for elk” etc etc. But how many of us actually follow through? Do we stick to our guns, or do we let all kinds of other things distract us and take us off course? Well my friends, this blog entry is all about WHY this year needs to be YOUR year to chase your dreams and accomplish those goals.

The Why

Why do we bowhunt? For myself, I bowhunt because it is a passion that burns deep inside me. Literally, its on my mind everyday and I honestly cannot get enough of it. My life wouldn't be the same, or nearly as fulfilling without having a bow in my hands and I know must of you feel the same. So, WHY aren't YOU carrying out your goals and chasing YOUR bowhunting dreams? Listen ladies and gentlemen I'm here to tell you all that life is short! I'm going to repeat this, “LIFE IS SHORT” so therefore time moves faster than we want to accept, let alone understand. So, why do we need to follow through with our desires and dreams when it comes to bowhunting? Well, simply because we never know when this is our last year, or last season to bowhunt. So “The Why” is this - why wait? We never know when this is our last year or season or hunt and that's the reality of the beast! Don't wait! Go after it and chase these dreams and goals relentlessly.

The How

A bunch of guys that I know always tell me this, “ man I'd love to go on some different style of bowhunts like you do, but I just don't know HOW you find the time or money etc” Well here's the blueprint that I use for success when it comes to sticking to my guns on following through on things related to bowhunting that I want to accomplish. First and foremost it all starts with a plan! Maybe the plan is to kill a mature buck this fall, or bowhunt mule deer in Colorado. Either way we need a plan to start this all off. Many months before these hunts take place a plan of action needs to be in the works. Maybe you need to research a unit for a tag, OR maybe it's about walking a piece of property in preparation for a new food plot. Regardless, we need a plan and from this morning that we need to make deadlines to keep us on track. I always try to make a detailed list of deadlines for myself when it comes to a plan of action. Remember this is YOUR dream, or YOUR goal that we're talking about making a plan for. From here it's all about executing our plan and sticking to our guns. Don't get complacent, or allow yourself to give in if things aren't going as planned. It'll all pay off, trust me.

The Drive

To me, this is the most important aspect of accomplishing a goal, or living out a dream. DRIVE and passion has to be in place. In today's world it's so easy to make excuses, or come up with reason as to why we cannot accomplish something. Well we haven't break that mold. We all bowhunt for different reasons and have different reasons why we love to bowhunt. So with that being said, one could say we have to have the drive to be successful at bowhunting. Well that drive is what we all will need to accomplish anything in life, no matter what aspect it is. Having drive will keep us on track of our goals and desires and it will allow us to make these dreams a reality. Of course there may be obstacles along the way, it will probably be tough, or even down right stressful at times, BUT it's our drive that pushes us to continue on. I honestly think 2018 is going to be my best bowhunting and writing year of my career. I have the drive and determination to make sure that it happens and most importantly the confidence in myself. The whole gang here at Working Class Bowhunter has that same mindset. To bring you all the best podcast and blog material possible is our goal and we damn well will make sure we do our part and stick to the plan.

 

So what are your goals for the year? How are you going to achieve them? I recently just accomplished a goal of mine, which was to pattern and kill a mature, old warrior of a buck here in the Ohio late season. It took grit, determination, passion and drive to accomplish this feat, but I stuck with it. We'll get more into this in a future blog, but my point is I accomplished a goal and forfilled a dream by sticking to my plan and continuing to hunt this buck. Are you going to stick to your plan? Will your dreams be accomplished this year? Are you going to go on that dream hunt you've always wanted to go on? Or kill a big Tom with your bow like you've always wanted? Or will you sit back and let time go by watching other hunters do the things you dream of doing and wishing YOU were them? That choice is yours!

 

Tell us about YOUR goals and dreams and what you're planning on doing to accomplish them. Stay hungry and stay motivated-2018 is not just my year, BUT it's YOUR year too! Go out and get it ladies and gentlemen. As always chase YOUR dreams, not your liquor and GO SHOOT YOUR BOW!

 

Listen and subscribe to The Working Class Bowhunter Podcast!

How to avoid a rut, in the RUT!

Crunch, crunch, crunch were the sounds of oak leaves beneath the old bucks feet as he quickly approached my line of sight after what had seemed like an eternity of listening to him walking around in the darkness before daylight. Brrrrppp, brrrrppp he let out two long, deep grunts as he paused to check a nearby scrape only a mere 25 yards away. I can still remember the steam coming off of his glands and the musky smell of rutted buck that lingered in the frosty morning air. Drawing my bow back I couldn't help but think of all the trials and tribulations that had lead me to this point. The ups and downs of November had consumed me, but after 15 long days I was finally, about to seal the deal on a mature buck.

The rut is the time that we live for as a bowhunter. Mature bucks are on their feet and the anticipation of what may walk by has never been higher! My goal here in this blog are not to explain the rut, as I'm sure that most of you have already read, watched and experienced the rut and it's concepts. But in this blog I want to help keep YOU out of your own rut in November and by RUT I'm referring to the act of doing something over repeatedly even if it's not the right move.

I hear the stories and see this scenario year in and year out from hunters all over the Midwest, "I chased this buck around all November and hunted the same 2 stands, but he never showed.” Now immediately you may be thinking, "well Clint what's wrong with that philosophy that you just mentioned?" Well, the problem is the people telling this story got into their own "RUT" and it probably cost them a filled buck tag. Hunting the same stand or stands day in and day out if you're not seeing bucks, is a great way to NOT fill your buck tag and here's why.

During the rut their are several stages that the does and bucks will go thru and a good bowhunter will evolve and adapt to these changes. This means that a stand which was super hot in the pre rut stages during late October, necessarily isn't going to be worth a damn November 6th. The smart hunter will realize this, but some will keep hunting this same stand or spot. Naturally we as humans don't like change. "We saw deer here 2 weeks ago, so why wouldn't it be good now?" Well, I'll tell you why! Constant human pressure, educating the local doe population and different stages of the rut will all lead to this stand or spot not producing anymore. At this point it's time to move and get back into deer!

In my opinion the rut is a magical time to hunt, BUT it's also one of the hardest times to try to kill a specific buck because you have no clue where he's at or where he'll head. Patterns for bucks are non existent now, so the best bet is to try to keep tabs on the does. Staying up to date with what the does are doing and where they are bedding will keep you out of your own rut and back into the bucks. Find the does and you'll find the bucks. Period!

New areas, different stands etc will keep you fresh mentally and your hunting ground fresh as well. Burning out a spot only educates deer and burns you out as well, remember the rut is a marathon, not a sprint. It produces highs and lows, as well as fast paced action and super long, slow days. With this being said, it's very important to mentally stay in the game, so changing scenery is mentally a great thing to do for our minds and to keep us from going insane.

So how do I avoid falling into a "Rut" during the Rut? Simple- I try to stay ahead of the deer by using trail cameras to do my homework and by going off of MRI- most recent information! What I mean by this is when I start seeing a spot burning out, OR deer starting to do something else I make a move and stay with them. Maybe it's a cornfield nearby that's just been picked and drawing all the does in, or maybe I see bucks chasing like crazy, which tells me a good funnel or saddle would be a great all day sit. Either way, I'm moving! I want to stay with the deer herds and especially the does because where the ladies are is where Mr. Big is going to be as well. This is basically YOU making educated guesses on what the deer will be doing or are doing instead of being a step behind them.

The rut moves rather fast and although a 10-14 day window sounds like a lot, it realistically isn't. For a bowhunter this means that being a day or two behind can cost you seeing the buck you're after. It's very important to have the courage to move when necessary and not be stubborn and just "stick with it" in the same location. Many times this philosophy will end up leaving you steps behind what deer are doing currently and that takes a bowhunter out of the game.

Go hunt that ridgeline or saddle that you've been watching deer use the last two days. Hunt that creek crossing that's 300 yards away from you where you've witnessed bucks crossing on recent hunts. Pack that climber in and go after the buck that your trail camera had pictures of two days ago in a new location. Climb into the stand you've never hunted on the new piece of property you just got last spring. Etc. Etc. My point here is don't be afraid to try something new and change up your tactics if they're not producing what you're looking for. It's that simple. Would you keep driving a car whose engine blows up every week? No! So why are you hunting a farm or area that's been dead for three days in a row? MOVE! Do it now, you'll be happy you did.

Clint Casper

I wrote this blog because in years past I fell into this "rut" trap and it cost me tags. Flat out there is no other excuse or way to put it besides myself being stubborn and dumb to not move spots and change tactics. Learn from my mistakes and avoid this costly behavior!! As a November bowhunter you must learn to adapt quickly and strike when the iron is hot. If the iron isn't hot in your woods after a day or two it's time to move on and find the hot farms or area. It could be days until this recent area heats up again because does will cycle later on for the second time if they weren't bred the first go around, but this could be weeks from now. Stay in the game and stay with the does and i guarantee that youll stay out of a "rut" and punch more tags during our favorite time of the year -the whitetail RUT! As always we appreciate the support and feedback from both the podcasts AND the blog. Tag us with your trophy pics and make sure to update us on how YOUR season is going. Don't forget- chase your dreams, not your liquor and GO SHOOT YOUR BOW

 

Listen and subscribe to The Working Class Bowhunter Podcast!

Hunters YOU Should Be Following

   With a few cooler evenings and shorter days upon us, that fall feeling is finally in the air my fellow bowhunting freakshows! I hope you're all as jacked up as I am to get this season underway. Currently I'm making the final adjustments to all of my gear before I head out west for a two week long adventure chasing speed goats in Montana and then mule deer in Colorado. I literally cannot wait. For this month's blog I wanted to change it up a bit and do something different, so the gang and I came up with the idea to do a blog on some badass hunters that YOU all should be following on social media. We each picked out a few people and I'm sure you will all enjoy learning about these guys and gals. Trust me, they all deserve your "follow". As always enjoy the blog and podcasts, we've got some awesome stuff coming your way in the near future that won't surely disappoint. Also remember, always chase your dreams, not your liquor....and GO SHOOT YOUR BOW

 

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CLINT CASPER'S PICKS

 

Brian Barney

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"Adventure Bowhunter" lookup this term and I'll bet my bow that you'll find a picture of Brian under the definition. From Hawaii to Mexico and everywhere in between this bowhunting-only fanatic can be found chasing animals relentlessly. As a main writer for Eastman's Bowhunting Journal and the host of Eastman's Elevated podcast, Brian has quite a busy schedule, but always finds a way to get it done. Brian  runs his own construction business, Barney Construction and is also a father and husband. His high energy personality and never give up attitude are a testament to his many bowhunting and writing accomplishments. Brian is a plethora of knowledge when it comes to hunting western big game with his bow on public ground and his writing and podcasts showcase many of his tried and true techniques and tips. What has always really drawn me to Brian are his creative writing(which I've been reading for years), hardworking-work ethic and his contagious personality. The guy is always having fun and loving life, which shows in his social media accounts. For those of you who live for bowhunting AND adventure, Brian is a guy you all need to be following along with his podcast. You'll be happy you did!

Follow Brian below:

 

 

Skyler and Nicole Richards

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For those of you who love giant mule deer and a passion for public ground hunting, look no further than this dynamic duo. Born and raised in Utah, these two have cut their teeth chasing all sorts of big game around the public grounds of the west. From taxidermy work to guiding hunts these two are about as busy as it gets, but still find a way to get tags punched year in and year out. I've always been drawn to both of these two because of their passion for the outdoors and their ability to combine hardwork and dedication into everything that they do. Whether it's Nicole guiding a mule deer hunter, or Skyler finishing up a masterpiece mount for someone, they both always put 110% effort into whatever they're doing and this has lead to a lot of success for this pair. Some fantastic companies like Sitka Gear and Stealth Cam have noticed this burning passion that these two posses, which has lead to ambassador positions for numerous companies. This dedication and commitment shows in their impressive trophy room and hunting accomplishments from over the years. Recently Skyler and Nicole started a very popular YouTube channel called "SkyNic hunting" where they creatively video and showcase their hunting adventures from finding sheds to a recent Stag hunt and everything in between. If you're looking to follow hardcore hunters who get it done consistently, year after year, then YOU need to be following Skyler and Nicole Richards.

Follow Nicole & Skyler below:

Craig Temple

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If you're a whitetail junky like myself, or just love to see some absolutely beautiful photography look no further than my man Craig Temple. This hardworking father and husband has an absolutely unreal list of giant whitetails that he's taken from his home area in and around Alberta, Canada. With numerous trophies and some extraordinary photos, Craig has made some fantastic relationships with companies like Hoyt, Sitka, G5, Easton and Spypoint trail cameras. As a supervisor for the oilfield near his home in Edmonton, Alberta Craig certainly stays busy, but always finds time to spend outdoors. The guy just flat-out gets it done no matter what tag he has in his pocket and the animals always seem to be amazing trophies like his buck from last year, which has kickers, stickers and matching droptines on both sides! Craig also finds time in his busy life to write blogs and articles for Eastman's Bowhunting Journal as well as being a guest on podcasts. His knowledge and experience are very easy to pick up on after reading just one article or blog from him. The man knows his stuff and has a great way of expressing it in words and some amazing photography, which has always fascinated myself along with many others. Craig can be found on Instagram and Facebook and i highly recommend you give this guy a follow!

Follow Craig below:

CURT GEIER'S PICKS

 

Steve Alderman

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I recently got hooked up with Steve while on a work trip out to Idaho. If you have an interest in hunting mule deer or already love hunting mule deer, then Steve is someone you MUST be following online. An expert on DIY public land mules, writer, film maker and producer. Steve has a large collection of 200” + public land mule deer and in the short time I got to spend with him I learned a lot about hunting the west.

You can follow Steve below:

 

 

Clark Cummings

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If you don't already know Clark from Respect The Game Tv on sportsman channel or from the Working Class Bowhunter Podcast episodes then you need to be following along. Clark is an expert Whitetail hunter and continues to get it done season after season. He is one of the most humble people you will meet and he will give you the shirt off his back. Its easy to see his passion and love for the outdoors, his family and friends. His son Matt Cummings is following along right in his footsteps also, putting down a 196” giant whitetail last season. The entire hunt can be seen on Respect The Game Tv.

You can follow Clark Below:

 

The Lindsey Way

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Jeff and David Lindsey are very well known in the outdoor industry but I had to include them in this portion of the blog. These boys are so humble, friendly and knowledgeable. Not to mention they are very enjoyable to watch on tv. They have done several podcast episodes with us and not mention podcasting in their booth at the Iowa Deer Classic last year. From following these guys online you definitely benefit from their knowledge, big buck photos, lots of giveaways online, snack tips from Jeff, and a lot of laughs.

You can follow the Lindsey Way Below:

STEPHEN MOLLER'S PICKS

TJ UNGER

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I follow him because he always has a positive message and great photos. Tj is an absolute superstar and one hell of a guy. He is always putting a positive message with each of his posts. Everything he does is purely awesome. I'm sure that his name will be heard more and more as time goes on.

You can follow TJ below:

https://www.carbontv.com/shows/the-virtue/

 

BAKER LEAVITT

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 Let's face it Baker is the man. He never fails to crack me up. He's had some awesome hunts in Africa and always seems to knock down turkeys every year. Plus he goes on rants every now and again and those are just pure gold.

Follow Baker below:

 

Ross Bigger

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You've heard him many times on the podcast. He's got a great beard and is just plain man pretty. He's always on big deer and puts out some great content. He's a big deer killin, hard workin, good friend. He is one of the first guys I look for when I open my Instagram.

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ERIC HAMANN'S PICKS

 

Philip Vanderpool

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Phillip hosts the show “The Virtue” on carbonTV.  We had the opportunity  to meet Phillip and the guys at the Iowa classic last year and you could tell right away these guys were very passionate and proud of what they do.  If you guys have not had the opportunity to meet or see the show, immediately go watch “Dads Sweet 16” on carbonTV. I guarantee anyone that watches this episode will get exactly what I’m talking about.  Phillip is all about sharing his story about harvesting giant sad daddy’s and the values of American tradition. One thing I really liked about the podcast with Phillip was that he cares about other people being in front of the camera just as much as he is. He says that he loves being behind the camera and giving his cameramen the chance to be in front of the camera.  Another thing I like about this show is that they show emotion, they show the misses, they show the bad times. It is as real as it gets when it comes to Phillip and this group of guys.  So go check out all the episodes on CarbonTV under the Virtue. Big shout out to Clint Schwach and Brandon Dority.

Follow Philip below:

https://www.carbontv.com/shows/the-virtue/

 

 

Bill Winke

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As everyone knows I am a Iowa native so this was an easy choice. Midwest Whitetail is one of my favorite shows and always has been.  You can tell by watching the show Bill is very passionate and serious about hunting and not only does he share his knowledge on the show, but he also does an awesome job in his blogs. If you are from the Midwest and are wondering about anything whitetails this guy knows it and he has probably done a blog on it. Everything from food plots, strategies, scouting, small properties, big properties, creeks/ditches, archery gear, and basically anything and everything you will ever  need to know about whitetails. On their website you can find 39 pages of videos and articles about hunting whitetails and if you cant find what you are looking for there is even a “Ask Winkie” tab where you can submit a question directly to him. Bill is a plethora of knowledge that anyone and everyone can learn something from. I highly recommend you start following Bill and his content.

 

Follow Bill Below:

 

Thanks everyone for checking out the blog! these are some of the hunters we've enjoyed following. of course there's a lot more we like to follow and that will lead us into a pt. 2 of this blog eventually. let us know who you enjoy following, and good luck to you this season! until then check out the working class bowhunter podcast on itunes, facebook, instagram and more!

 The NEW Go Shoot Your Bow Tee! Click the image to check it out!

The NEW Go Shoot Your Bow Tee! Click the image to check it out!

MONTANA BOUND

MONTANA BOUND

Seat 24A was the numbers I read while I was given my last boarding pass which would take me from Denver to Bozeman. The anticipation couldn't have been higher, as it always is when I board that final plane before I reach my destination. As many of you already know I've become obsessed with traveling the world with a bow in my hand and this trip was definitely one that I couldn't wait to get started. As the plane took off I couldn't help, but stare out of the window and think, "man I wonder what kind of adventure and experience Montana has in store for me." I was soon about to find out that I surely wouldn't be disappointed.

(Click blog title for full blog, images & videos)

Spring Time Is The Busy Time!

Spring Time Is The Busy Time!

Well now that I've been able to sit down and take a small breather from all of the shed hunting and turkey traveling that I've been doing around the country, let's get caught up ladies and gentlemen. Spring time for me, each year, brings a ton of things to put on a guys plate that is a bowhunter. Shed hunting, pulling stands, turkey hunting, food plots and the list goes on and on. In this blog I'm going to give you a little insight on my spring so far this year. The highs and the lows will be documented.

(Clint Blog title for full blog, images & videos)

Top 5 States For DIY Turkeys

Top 5 States For DIY Turkeys

"Chalk, chalk, chalk, chalk" I softly made the soft, sweet sounds of a hopefully good looking hen. Grabbing my hat to mimic this gorgeous female flying down I had high hopes this bearded ninja would give up his location soon. Sure enough, halfway through performing my fly down like a conductor orchestrating his symphony, the ridge above me erupted! Not only was my bearded friend here again this morning, but he had a few buddies with him.

(Click blog title for full blog, videos & images)

What is The Camo Collar?

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Welcome my friends and fellow bowhunters to THE Camo Collar blog presented by THE Working Class Bowhunter!

As some of you know my name is Clint Casper and I'm an arrow slinging, deer chasing, turkey tracking, mule deer glassing, elk bugling, shed antler addicted, freelance outdoor writing, good old boy from a small town in Carrollton, Ohio. Growing up, my dreams were to have huge adventures with my bow in hand, which led me to having an absolutely obsessive (ask my fiance) addiction to bowhunting. As long as I can remember I've been reading hunting magazines and books stating "Someday I'll be in these magazines." I recall saying this to myself thousands of times while reading the adventures of other bowhunters, which is what lit my fire for becoming a freelance outdoor writer. This dream of mine, I have been chasing down now for almost ten years and have had just as many ups as I have had downs, but I wouldn't trade where they have led me for the world.

I was lucky enough to meet the Working Class Bowhunter gang at the Archery Trade Association show a few years back and we all seemed to hit it off right away. We soon were talking about past adventures, upcoming hunts, future ex girlfriends like Eva Shockey and Miranda Lambert (who still just won't let it go), favorite bow companies, arrows, Dancing with the Stars (Eric is a huge fan) and of course one of my personal favorites - BEER. I felt at home with this bunch of hooligans and quickly wanted to get on a podcast with them as soon as I could. A few podcast episodes later with these three and it was no surprise that I needed to join forces with them. So I pitched this idea of starting a blog to them and luckily for me they loved the idea and so The Camo Collar was born!!! I literally cannot thank Stephen, Eric and Curt enough for allowing me to not only be on their podcasts, but to be a part of this awesome and, may I say, quite handsome (mainly Stephen) group of guys. I honestly can't thank them enough because to me, writing a blog for them is all a part of living out my dream of being a freelance outdoor writer. I'm blessed to have this opportunity and to hunt down my dreams with a bow in hand and then write about these adventures for the world to see.

The Working Class Bowhunter guys in the "Buckatorium Studio".

These blogs are going to be informative, entertaining, straight forward and above all FUN. We're going to shoot for at least one blog a week which will cover lots of different topics that I want all of YOU to comment on. The point for us and this blog is to bring hunters together on various topics, to entertain, to inform and above all to just have a place where YOU all can laugh and get enjoyment from during your day.

We all want to thank each and every one of you for listening to the podcasts and those of you who will be reading these blogs each week. In closing, I'm going to ask these questions and hopefully I get some awesome feedback.

  • What are your hunting dreams and what drives YOU to chase them? 
  • I want to know what motivates you to wake up on a cold morning at 4am to head to a treestand?
  • Why you would throw a pack on your back and walk up a mountain in the pitch black just to maybe see, or hear a bull elk bugle in the cold, frosty morning air? 

I can't wait to read some of these responses and as always I'm going to leave you with this-always chase your dreams and GO SHOOT YOUR BOW

Click Link Below to comment.

http://www.workingclassbowhunter.com/camocollarblog/what-is-the-camo-collar