Fierce Outdoors Blog-Feeder 04/01/2016

Hey Everyone!  April is here and so is my excitement for turkey season.  I can’t wait to put some of my new camera gear to work. And it never seizes to amaze me how much work needs to be done in the off-season.  if there is one piece of advice I would give to any hunter it would be to write down a list of things you want to accomplish and work towards them every chance you get.  The last thing you want is for it to be the middle of the hunting season and you have a bad case of the “shoulda-woulda-couldas”.  Obviously, there are always things we can improve on and hindsight is 20-20.  However, I am making a constant effort to check off as many tasks as possible on my hunting checklist.  So make a list and start working on it today!  Anyways, I found some really cool hunting and filming articles to feature in this weeks blog-feeder.   Hope you guys enjoy! Stay fierce and keep hunting!  

Fast Food Plot Tips From Jeff Sturgis by Mark Kenyon

Thank a Farmer Today- Here’s Why by Ariel Wiegard 

Robot Cameraman by Bowhunting.com  

How To Film Your Own Hunt by Chad Stillman 

 

Why I Started Filming My Hunts

Why I Started Filming My Hunts

I can remember the first hunt I brought my camera on.  It was actually not my hunt at all.  I was 18 years old and my buddy Jake invited me to accompany him on the first day of Michigan’s youth deer season.  This was Jake’s last year to hunt the youth season and I was passed the legal age to hunt. Even though I wasn’t hunting, I was just happy to be in the woods and even happier to be in pursuit of whitetail deer with my long-time friend.  And ever since I started my hunting and filming journey, I have always been more focused on capturing my experiences and memories that can only be made in the woods.  There is a lot more to hunting than just the kill and bragging rights.  Everything leading up to the moment of truth all the way to the end of the blood trail- these are the experiences worth documenting.

Jake and I sat at opposite ends of a giant hayfield on a frosty September morning.  We were hunting an area deemed the “Coffin-Corner”, and this particular part of the woods had been laying many deer to rest- even several Pope and Young quality bucks.  Fortunately, that morning God blessed us with the presence of six shooter bucks.  Four of which I was able to get on film crossing the hayfield and working their way right towards Jake.  To make a long story short, the “Coffin-Corner” didn’t fail us as it presented not one, not two but three opportunities at harvesting quality bucks.  Let’s just say Jake learned the valuable lesson of checking to make sure his gun is sighted in before taking it to the field.  To make things worse, I managed to document nearly everything that happened, and needless to say, Jake wanted to burn the DVD after watching it.

Despite our failures that morning, I managed to document an unforgettable morning of hunting.  That particular hunt served as the catalyst for my passion for filming my own hunts.  In my college English classes, I would write mainly about the outdoors or hunting whitetails.  And I felt that most of my friends or colleagues couldn’t fully connect with me on why hunting is so involved in my life.  The experiences are easy to talk about, but the feelings are difficult to explain.  So instead of just trying to talk or write more about my experiences, I made the conscious decision to begin the journey of documenting my hunts on film.  I knew it was going to be challenging and I was very much correct about the difficulties of filming.  I understand the concept of seeing is believing, and I believe that providing a visual is a more effective way to communicate with others that don’t grasp the hunting lifestyle.

Turkey Hunt 2015

In addition to sharing my experiences, I find that filming my own hunts is an entirely different level of hunting altogether.  Due to my competitive nature, I would say that this is the main reason why I carry a camera to the woods.  Hunting has always challenged me and self-filming is most certainly pushed me to another level.  I have a hard time with being content.  I literally get antsy if I feel that I am not pushing myself.  Documenting my hunts has not only challenged my hunting abilities, but it has brought me closer to the intricacies of the outdoors.  Hunting is no longer just a walk to and from the tree stand with hopes of seeing an animal.  Filming has pushed me to strive for success and to capture the details of the outdoors that I appreciate so much.  If I am without a camera while hunting, I have a noticeable feeling of emptiness and complacency that I just don’t care for.  Call me crazy but it’s the way I hunt and I love it.

Even with all of the challenges that come with filming my hunts- the end goal outweighs them all.  I want people to see what the hunting heritage has to offer.  People need to see the excitement and purpose of hunting.  I hope to encourage others to try hunting or engage in conservation.  If God blesses me with children, I hope to one day have documented experiences to show them and pass on the lifestyle that I love so much.  Filming for TV, Youtube or whatever is great and all.  But I find more value in preserving our heritage through the means of digital media so the generations to come have something tangible and authentic to refer to.  If I am successful at documenting my hunts then maybe one day little Johnny will want to do the same for his children and our hunting traditions will continue to be passed on.

Fierce Outdoors Blog-Feeder 03/18/2016

I had an exciting week of scouting and shed hunting here in Michigan.  I found my very first Michigan deer shed!  I have walked many miles on Michigan soil and never found a shed until the of the 2016 shed rally.  Perfect timing!  I only found one shed and it was small, but it was exciting never the less.  I would love to see the results that other people are having.  You can post them on the FB page or send me an email at tfoutdoors@gmail.com and I can create a post to share your findings.  I am hoping to be traveling down to Ohio next weekend to search for some property to hunt and to shed hunt as well.  I will need to have my Door Knocking Skills on point.  Anyways, here are a few of my favorite blogs and videos from around the web compiled together in this weeks blog-feeder.  Thanks for reading!

GPS Tracking Provides New Insights Into Rut Movements – by Bernie Barringer

How Far Can Deer See in the Dark? – by Bill Winke

How to Cure Target Panic – by Jeff Sturgis

White Gold: Top Tips for Finding Sheds – by Jeremy Flinn

4 Scouting Resources and Tools to Help Plan Out Your Deer Hunting Season

4 Scouting Resources and Tools to Help Plan Out Your Deer Hunting Season

Any successful deer hunter will tell you that scouting, planning and preparing plays an important role in their operating rhythm.  Over the years, I have gathered from whitetail experts that in order to consistently harvest mature deer it comes down to knowing the herd and knowing the land.  In order to uncover pertinent information, one has to scout, study maps and document their discoveries.  As die-hard hunters, we all know how much time and effort we put into scouting.  Additionally, we also know that there is a lot of information about the locations we are hunting.  The amount of information can be overwhelming and I find myself unorganized more often than not.  When this happens, I may find out after the fact that if I prepared a little more, or took the extra step to simply organize my planning, I could have had better results than I achieved.  With this in mind, I thought it would be beneficial to talk about the tools that are available to us that would help organize the information we collect while scouting and planning for the upcoming season.

GIS Mapping and Plat Maps

If you are unfamiliar with the acronym “GIS”, it stands for Geographic Information Systems and it is the electronic form of a Plat book.  Plat maps are phasing out simply because it is much more inexpensive and efficient to have everything electronic.  If you want to find the GIS mapping for your county just type “GIS Your County, Your State” and it will populate a link to the county’s website.  There you can search through your county’s GIS data library and pick what area you wish to research.  You will be able to see the road names, land owner names, acreage and water system names.  Not all counties are operating with GIS mapping, but it is no secret that everything is moving to 100% electronic.  So if you cannot find GIS mapping for your county you will need to revert to a plat map.  What’s great is that you can print off the desired page of parcels you want to take with you on the road when you go scouting or door knocking.  Take notes on the back of the page about the people or activities in the area that might help you with planning your hunting locations.  If I find out that the neighboring land owner likes to log trees frequently during the fall, which will drive deer away from that particular area, and I will make a note to remember this when setting up my stands.

Google/Bing and Paint

Two great online mapping sites to use would be Google or Bing.  I favor Google over Bing because based on my experience Google updates their imagery more frequently than Bing.  Although my buddy would argue that Bing is better because of its “Bird’s Eye View” feature, which enhances the details of the land features in the image.  Either one you use you can’t go wrong.  When using this tool you are simply looking for key land features; such as funnels, pinch points, crop fields etc.  This will give you an idea on where to start your scouting. Once you have scouted a particular area, you should save the map image you found in Google to your computer.  You can do this by pressing the “Print Screen” button on your keyboard once you have your desired image within the frame of your monitor.  This will “copy” your desired image and allow you to paste it in another program.

I suggest using paint or a similar program to map out everything you find and what your plans are for that particular area.  Create a key as I did in the image below.  You can draw out everything you find and save the image once you are done so you can go back and analyze your findings.  This will lay everything out so to speak, and really give you an idea of not only what the deer are doing within the area, but also where you may need to setup for a shot opportunity. You can mark where your potential stand locations would be, or where you want to setup up a trail camera. This really helps put the pieces together to display the big picture for you on one screen.

Scoutlook

Scoutlook has been around for quite some time and they continue to improve their application.  You can do many of the actions that I suggested in the Paint program using a Google image.  You can track your stand locations, trail cameras, and mark other waypoints, but I haven’t been able to draw out the details that I wish to in Scoutlook; which is why I still like to use the Google image and Paint.  Truthfully, I use Scoutlook more during the season because it provides critical information about wind direction, temperature and barometric pressure in near real time.  I can also use Scoutlook to determine ahead of time what stands are good for a certain wind direction, and based on my scouting efforts and trail camera pictures, I can choose a location to hunt efficiently.  These resources help make organizing the information collected in the offseason much easier; which ultimately aids in making educated decisions about where to hunt during the season.

Wunderground.com and Weather Data               

Do you ever go back through your trail camera photos and wonder why a buck made an appearance at a certain time? I am sure all of us do this, and finding the answer is next to impossible simply because there are many uncontrollable variables that influence deer movement.  The variables are more irrepressible during the rut when bucks are focused on breeding.  However, I have learned through other experts that data tracking may provide some clues to help pattern deer movement during parts of the season when they can be patterned.  Wunderground.com is a weather based website that not only provides real-time weather information, but it also provides historical weather data as well.  You can find the temperature, barometric pressure, and wind direction etc. for any day of the previous year.  So if you have a buck appear in daylight on October 15th, and you want to know what the weather was during that day or week, you can search Wunderground.com’s historical weather data to see that information.  Perhaps a cold front moved through during that timeframe, or there was a significant pressure increase that week.  There are a number of conclusions that can be drawn by collecting this data and comparing it to deer movement.  This not only useful during the offseason, but it can also be beneficial during the season to help make timely decisions.

There is one drawback to wunderground.com.  The weather information is pulled from a major city’s airport, so really the historical weather data is reporting the weather at that specific airport. So if your hunting location is nowhere near a major city’s airport then this information may not do you any good.  However, if you hunting location is nearby then this data is going to be more relevant for you.  There is another way to collect relevant and applicable information to your hunting area.  Unfortunately, it will require a little work on your part however, this can be very beneficial.  Simply create an Excel spreadsheet that lists all your stand locations and organizes the pertinent weather information.  You look at the weather each day during the season right? Record the wind direction, temperature, barometric pressure etc. for each day of the month.  It’s an extra step in the process, but you will be happy that you captured this information when planning your strategy both in and out of season.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, these resources are something you will consider using for this coming season.  I know at first glance it sounds like tedious, desk work and no one likes that.   We want to enjoy the outdoors and the experiences that we have on the hunt.  However, I can assure you that a little time spent organizing yourself utilizing the aforementioned tools will pay off big time for you in the fall.  These are tips that myself and many experts have used in the past to be successful.  If you have any tips that will help with offseason scouting please share them in the comments section below.  I look forward to hearing about your success in the woods next season.  Until then, stay fierce and keep scouting!

Fierce Outdoors Blog-Feeder 03/11/2016

Hey Everyone!  Sorry I neglected to post to the blog feeder last week. I made a special trip to Iowa to attend the Iowa Deer Classic and I had a lot of fun.  You can learn a little more about my experience at the Iowa Deer Classic by clicking here.  Anyways, there is a lot going on at Fierce Outdoors and I feel like I never have enough time in a day to accomplish what I want to.  I have an endless list of spots I need to scout, doors I need to knock on and places I need to plan to hunt.  I know that when I am running short on time I need answers quick. So I provided below some helpful hunting resources and maybe one of them will help you on your next hunting project.  Additionally, there is a link below to the Midwest Whitetails internship program. I believe anyone who is interested in pursuing a career in the outdoor industry would benefit greatly from this program.

Enjoy the resources! I hope they are helpful!

 

Midwest Whitetail Internship Program

 

Bowhunting Habitat Strategies for Predictable Hunting by Jeff Sturgis

 

Three Places Where All the Sheds Have Gone by AJ Derosa

 

Shed Hunting The Perfect Closure to Every Bow Hunting Season by G5 Outdoors

 

Best Places for Deer Sheds by Buck Advisors LLC

 

10 Tips for Creating Fruit Plots by Bill Winke

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