Scent control has been on my mind as of late. I’ve read many articles and asked for others opinions on the importance of it but I can’t bring myself to spend hundreds of dollars on new scent control clothing and scent eliminating sprays that claim to make me invisible in the woods. Why? Because I’ve never been able to specifically test the products to verify that they work. Sure, a manufacturer can put together fancy advertisements and literature filled with claims of miraculous scent controlling wonders, but in order for me to believe it I would need to see it work first hand.

Consider the scent filled scenario I found myself in this past weekend. It actually began earlier in the week – say Wednesday or Thursday. Somewhere along the way I came into contact with my least favorite plant of all time – POISON IVY. As a result, I woke up on Saturday morning with itchy arms and legs. Unfortunately, I am not stranger to this terrible plant. We have a long and storied history together filled with calamine lotion, baking soda baths and Prednisone medication. I doubt there has ever been a more one sided relationship on the history of this earth (kind of like my history with girls in junior high). Why won’t it leave me alone?!?!

I’d gone through approximately half a bottle of calamine spray by the time I loaded up to go hunting. Although good for relieving itching, I have my doubts about its effectiveness as a scent control technology. It was about this time that I opened my truck door only to discover that I had accidentally left a to-go box of left over fries in the cab from dinner night before. The pungent smell of old fries consumed my senses and I knew my hunting items that sat in the cab with them all night were covered in a heavy layer of the scent. Great.

Not one to be deterred, I ate some fries and started driving. It is times like this that will really make you think twice about your scent control strategy (or lack thereof). Fortunately for me, it started pouring as soon as I got to my stand so instead of smelling like a sick combination of calamine lotion and old fries I smelled like a soaking wet sick combination of calamine lotion and fries. Surprisingly, I didn’t see any deer that night.

It’s clear that the foundation for a good scent control strategy begins with staying out of the poison ivy and throwing away old French fries. If you can do that you are well on your way to becoming the scent-free assassin the advertisers want you to believe you can be. If you can’t do that, focus on hunting downwind from a deer trail or next to the town dump. Either one will work.

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When I saw Justin share a picture of his first archery buck on twitter (@RtHunter365) I had to ask him if he wanted to share the story of how his successful hunt. Justin lives in Pennsylvania and with a little hard work in the offseason he was able to secure permission to hunt a farm and it paid off! I hope you enjoy the read, I know I did.

I began hunting in the fall of 2011 while on a test drive with my wife for a new truck. Yes, it is a weird way to start hunting but when you wife agrees to purchasing a new truck and follows it up with the ultimatum, “if we buy you this truck, you have to start hunting” you don’t argue.  Fast forward to this year; one of my friends was lucky enough to meet a farmer that has 175 acres of farmland about 20 minutes from where we live and after helping him with some electrical issues in one of his barns, he granted access for both of us to hunt his property this coming season.  The property is an old school campus that has grown up over the past 20 years and has 6 fields of standing corn, good topography, and plenty of areas for bedding, feeding, and travel routes from one to the other.  An absolutely perfect place to hunt deer. ...continue reading

Stonewalls and Oak TreesTonight I am sitting in a new place along an ancient stonewall that cuts a straight line through towering oak trees that may be almost as old as the wall. Their very existence reminds me that I am not the only one to ever step foot here. Someone, a long time ago, placed each one of these stones by hand for some reason. If they could speak I wonder what they would say. And the old oaks that have watched this wall crumble over the years - I wonder what they would say.

Maybe they would tell stories of guys like me who sat in this same spot for hours on end. I can almost imagine an old man sitting on the wall under the big oak as the sun sets over the ridge behind him. His tired shoulders and weathered face tell me everything I imagine he’s thinking. After a long day of work and a hard life he’s come up to his favorite pile of rocks to sit and think. He’s thinking about his wife and kids, his work, and his faith. Before long I realize that I’m staring at a reflection of my older self. ...continue reading

AcornWell, let’s just say it’s been a slow start to the season. The busyness of the summer had left me with no time to scout so when the archery season opened on the 15th I headed to the woods with only the history of previous years to use in determining where to sit. When I arrived at the property I noticed a heavy crop of apples. Normally this is a good thing –but after a few hunts I am not so sure. Here is a recap of my first four hunts and what I have learned so far.

Hunt 1: September 15th – When opening day arrived I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to hunt. On Monday's my wife has to work late so that means I am on childcare duty but a last minute offer by my mother to watch Sam allowed me to head to the woods. With no scouting under my belt my gut was telling me to head to a permanent stand that has produced many deer in the past. However, my sore toe told me to head to another permanent stand a little closer to the truck so that’s what I did. I ended up seeing three deer that evening. One was a spike still in velvet and I couldn’t tell what the other two were. The evening ended without any of them wandering close enough for a shot and I headed home wondering what I’d find when I eventually made it further into the woods.

Deer poopHunt 2: September 17thOn this evening my toe and my gut told me to head back to the same stand. After all, I had seen three deer from it the evening before and there were droppings all around it. Surely something would come in.  But as darkness fell and with no deer sightings for the evening I left still wondering what was deeper in the woods. I had arrived a little earlier than the last hunt which gave me some time to scout around a bit, although still not very far from the truck. I discovered an oak loaded with acorns which made me even more curious. Acorns are a double edged sword in my opinion. ...continue reading

Checking Cams with Sam

 Some days are just fun. Last Saturday was one of them. I love my little boy and last weekend we were able to spend a morning together in the woods "hunting". The night before he was so excited for his hot chocolate that he didn't fall asleep until 10 pm. His normal bedtime is 7:30, but around 9:30 when Steph went in to his room to try and quiet him, I overheard him tell her about the cup of hot chocolate he was going to have the next morning. :) 

 

First Taste

This was Sam's first sip of hot chocolate. It's funny he was so excited the night before because he hadn't ever tasted it before and I'm not even sure he knew what it was! ...continue reading