LATE JULY TRAIL CAMERAS

By: Brennen Nading (@nadingbr)

July is the month when deer really put on the inches.  In June, it was all about the frame.  In July, the tine length explodes.  It is said that deer antler can potentially grow at a rate of 1 inch/day right now!  Growth will continue into August but for the most part, you should have a pretty good idea of what a buck is going to be by the end of this month.  By mid August, blood flow to the antlers will cease and the antler hardening process will begin.

That said, it is no surprise that trail cameras are a hot topic right now.  People across the country are flooding the woods with trail cameras and for good reason.  It is time to see what bucks are around, and trying to pin point the areas that they are living in.  Yes, the annual shift from summer range to fall range is inevitable but recon right now is not wasted.  Learning the area a buck is using right now will give you the upper hand if he holds onto his summer pattern into the early part of the season.

Trail cameras are an invaluable tool.  I can remember when I began hunting and we went to the woods and had NO IDEA what kind of bucks lived there.  Hunting back then was certainly more about optimism and the excitement of the unknown.  Trail cameras today give us a pretty darn good idea of what is living in the areas we hunt, and when they are moving through certain areas.  When used properly, we can effectively monitor areas with very little intrusion.  I am going to cover what I would consider to be the Top 5 places to hang your cameras right now to get the most use out of them.

1.) WATER SOURCE

Scientific studies show that a deer must consume 2 to 3 quarts of water per day per 100 pounds.  Yes, this number fluctuates but it will generally fall within that window.  With that knowledge, it is no surprise that water sources make the top of the list for places to put your trail cameras.  This source of water doesn’t have to be a pretty pond, or a bubbling brook for deer to utilize it.  A rain puddle will suit them just fine.  The important thing is to figure out where the deer are getting water on your property and this will allow you to get a solid inventory of what is around.

2.) SCRAPES

Often utilized during October and November when the breeding season draws near, but surprisingly overlooked this time of year.  Many people do not realize that bucks will frequent scrapes/licking branches for the better part of the year.  In travel corridors or around field edges, this is an excellent way to get them to come in front of your camera for a picture.  I like to make mock scrapes in high traffic areas where deer using the area almost have to check it out.  I have had luck with scrape inventory pretty much from May through the end of the year.  Yes, the activity isn’t as aggressive during the summer months but the bucks will still frequent these low hanging branches/limbs/vines to leave their scent behind for the rest of the deer in the neighborhood.

3.) BEANS/ALFALFA

In the midwest, bean fields and alfalfa fields are the destination food sources for whitetails and will be moving into early fall.  Deer will continue to hit beans until when they begin to turn yellow in late September…at that point they will slack off of them until they turn brown in late fall and harden…at which point they will start hitting them again.  Alfalfa takes the cake for summer food if you are lucky enough to have it on your property.  Alfalfa is packed with the protein and nutrients that deer need right now and they will hammer these fields into early fall.  Placing cameras on large fields can be tricky, but not impossible.  If possible, watch from a distance and see where deer are entering the fields in the evenings and start there.  If all else fails, I like to focus on corners and high spots where deer feel safe.

4.)MINERAL

As hunters, it is important that we have realistic expectations when it comes to supplementing the deer herd with minerals.  Minerals are put out for 2 primary reasons…the first is to help the deer meet nutritional requirements that they may not otherwise obtain through their natural diet.  The second reason is to get deer in front of our trail cameras for inventory.  In a wet year, when forage is plentiful, don’t be discouraged if your minerals aren’t getting the attention you think they should be.  These mineral licks are something that deer will visit on an “as-needed” basis.  Wet year, or dry year…these locations are always worth a trail camera.

5.)FENCE GAPS

Naturally, the phrase “work smarter, not harder” can be applied in the whitetail world as well.  Gate entrances, fence gaps, pond dams, ditch crossings…any spot that makes it easier for a deer to get from point A to point B.  These are great locations for trail cameras.  If there is an easier route, deer know about it and the trails that are beat down in these areas will prove it.  Trail cameras are highly effective in these areas, and I like to run mine on multi shot bursts with 5 second delays so I am not missing anything.

July is almost gone, and August will undoubtedly fly by as well.  If you don’t have your trail cameras out yet, the time is NOW!  Fresh batteries, a large SD card, and let the camera do the work for you over the next month and a half.  The less intrusion the better.  Have fun, be safe, and cheers to big velvet bucks!

HHAUSA – FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY

By: Brennen Nading (@nadingbr)

In mid-June, I got my first taste of a HHAUSA archery shoot.  I headed just north of Wausau to one of Wisconsin’s oldest archery clubs, Rib Mountain Bowmen.  The 3D course was beautifully laid out in the rolling terrain of Rib Mountain.  The course presented a wide variety of fun and challenging targets.  A long shot novelty shoot and over 40 silent auction items rounded out a great weekend for the entire family.

I arrived early in the morning and stayed well into the afternoon that day so I got to see first hand how many people were involved and had a hand in making sure this event went off without a hitch.  It was pretty cool to see an archery club take pride in their domain and have it ready for a busy weekend of archery fun.  The weekend was blessed with great weather to spend time outside, and the turn out was exceptional.  In the course of the 2 day shoot, HHAUSA had their biggest crowd yet, and was able to raise over $8,000 for our veterans!

I think a lot of people avoid 3D archery shoots because they are intimidated.  Many people think these events are for diehard target shooters, and they don’t think they will be able to compete so they avoid them all together.  I am here to tell you that you couldn’t be more wrong!  I watched people of all ages (kids – elders) go through the course and have a blast.  It was an extremely laid back environment and everyone was out there having a great time with their friends/family.  You could show up at anytime, and shoot the course at your own pace whether you wanted to walk through and shoot by yourself, or shoot with a group of friends.

There were 28 targets spread throughout the course.  Moose, Caribou, Elk, Bear, Deer, Antelope, Cougar, Python, Alligator, Frog, Jackalope were amongst the fun spread.  Most of the targets were set up at distances to shoot between 20-40 yards.  A couple of long shot targets were mixed in as well which allowed people to air it out at 50 yards.  Some people chose to keep their scores while others (including myself) just went through and shot the course for fun and it didn’t matter what the score was.  For kids, or someone not comfortable shooting at the distances the targets were set up at,  no problem…you could shoot each target at whatever distance you were comfortable with.

One cool thing that was set up, was a long shot target for a chance at some awesome prizes.  You could pay to shoot either 1, 3 or 5 arrows at a 70 yard moose target.  There was an orange bullseye placed on the target and for anyone that could hit it, their name was thrown in the drawing for some of the awesome prizes.  HHA sights, trail cameras and other goods were up for grabs on the long shot.

There are 3 more HHAUSA events left this year, and I highly encourage anyone that loves archery to try and make it out to at least 1 of them.  It’s not only a great way to show support to our veterans but it is a lot of fun just to get outside and shoot your bow.  Not to mention it is great practice leading into hunting season which will be here before we know it.  The remaining events are as follows:

July 3,4,5 – Chain O’ Lakes Conservation Club – Waupaca, WI

July 11,12 – Tomah Sportsman’s Alliance – Warrens, WI

August 22,23 – Blackhawk Archers – Custer, WI

A handful of us from TBP will be heading out to Waupaca tomorrow to join in on the fun.  A record setting turn out is expected on the 3 day shoot that is located on the winding Crystal River.  The Chain O’ Lakes Conservation Club is long regarded as one of the top 3D shoots in the state, and it should make for an awesome 4th of July weekend! We hope to see you there!

HHAUSA – SERVING THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED

By: Brennen Nading (@nadingbr)

I am honored to have met Chris Hamm, President of HHAUSA.  In 2019, Chris founded HHAUSA, a non-profit charitable organization serving veterans and active duty members of the United States Armed Forces. The HHAUSA mission statement is to show appreciation and create a community for veterans and active military through archery and the outdoors.

With a handful of events coming up in the next month and a half, I approached  Chris with a few questions to bring light on an awesome organization that is working its’ tail off to serve those that have served and sacrificed for each and everyone of us.  Here is what Chris had to say…

Q1: Where did you get such a heart for veterans?

Chris Hamm: “I have always had a strong sense of patriotism and respected those who have served our country. As HHA Sports and our brand continued to grow, we began receiving more requests from active duty and veterans about a military discount. That made me realize how many veterans were into the outdoors and also showed me the benefits that it brought to them, specifically those who suffered from PTSD. Attending the Department of Defense Warrior Games in 2016 and 2017, I saw firsthand the impact that archery was having on combat wounded veterans and knew that I wanted to do something to help out. It was becoming more and more evident that I was supposed to use my gifts, talents and connections to give back to this very deserving community.”

Q2: How did the program get started?

Chris Hamm: “After meeting then Milwaukee Brewer, Jonathan Lucroy, in 2012 or 2013, I began following him closer and was made aware of the Honor Flight Network from his involvement with the Stars & Stripes chapter. Soon after, I began as a ground volunteer for the central Wisconsin chapter (Never Forgotten Honor Flight) and immediately fell in love with the organization and their mission of sending World War II, Korea and Vietnam veterans to Washington DC. Driving home from the airport one night after a flight, I thought of how I could use our presence in the archery industry to raise funds for the Honor Flight. That following spring, we put on our first shoot and did 3 events that year, raising $15,000. I continued to work as a volunteer for them another 2 years and ultimately decided to start HHAUSA, allowing us to have an even larger reach in the veteran community.”

Q3: Where does the money go?

Chris Hamm: “Our first 22% is divided equally between three other veterans non-profits that work to get men and women of the service into the outdoors on hunting and fishing experiences. The E3 Ranch Foundation, Kniestedt Foundation and Wounded Warriors in Action do a wonderful job of this and we are proud to partner with them. The balance of our funds go to Honor Flight chapters here in Wisconsin closest to where our archery fundraising shoots are held.”

Q4: Where do you see this going in the next 5-10years?

Chris Hamm: “While the next few years will see us continuing to perfect our model and grow these events here in our home state, HHAUSA has the potential to one day become a national organization with chapters in states across the country. Our goal is to help as many service members as we can through outdoor experiences and fly as many as we can to DC to receive the recognition and homecoming that they deserve for their service to our country.”

Q5: What’s the rest of the summer look like with the current Covid situation?

Chris Hamm: “Thankfully, we have only had to cancel one event so far and 8 of our 9 shoots for 2020 will still be taking place. With our indoor season already complete, the remainder of our shoots are outdoor 3D and social distancing will not be an issue. On average, we will draw 75-125 shooters per weekend so the crowds at any given point will be small and spread out, similar to a golf course. The participating clubs will be encouraging social distancing, providing sanitizer and masks and following all other precautions to make our events as safe as possible for attendees.”

First of all, I would like to thank Chris Hamm for taking the time out his busy schedule to answer my questions that I presented him with.  Second,  I encourage everyone to head over to the HHAUSA website and check out the upcoming events and get involved!  If you are unable to attend any of the scheduled shoots, there is a portal on their website that allows for donations to the organization.  Simply click HERE to donate to an outstanding cause!

GIFT IDEAS FOR DAD

By: Brennen Nading (@nadingbr)

Father’s Day 2020 (June 21st) is rapidly approaching!  Have you thought about what you are going to get your dad yet?  If your dad is an outdoorsman, I have plenty of gift ideas for you here in this blog entry.  I have compiled a list of gift ideas that any outdoors dad would be glad to be on the receiving end of.  I have hand selected items for any budget ranging from $20 to $300.  I have included clickable links for each item..enjoy!

GIFT IDEAS UNDER $50:

Of course, TBP swag is always a great gift idea!  Head over to our store where you will find stylish hats, shirts, hoodies, can coozies, decals, and more.  Any dad will stroll the streets with more confidence when he is rocking some fresh TBP gear.

Another affordable gift idea is anything/everything over at Venado.  Venado is a clothing brand designed for the outdoorsman.  After all, the company was founded to provide hunters with clothing that looks good and feels good all while representing the outdoor/hunting lifestyle.

Here is a no brainer.  You can get your dad a BaseMap Pro Membership for only $30 for the entire year.  BaseMap wants to empower everyone to spend more time outside doing what they love.  They want everyone (including your dad) to be able to go for a hike, go fishing, or even just explore your own hometown with their product.

Your dad a bowhunter?  The next 2 items are affordable and he is sure to love them.  Pick him up a 3 pack of Lumenok lighted nocks.  Nothing more aggravating than not being able to find your arrows…with Lumenoks, that problem is history.  Another power hitter gift idea is making sure dad heads to the field with a broadhead he can count on.  Several of us at TBP choose to shoot the #207 100 grain expandable from Swhacker Broadheads.  A 3 pack of heads comes with a practice head, you can’t go wrong with the “green machines”!

Is the back yard archery target looking beat up?  If dad is spending more time looking for arrows that pass-thru his target than he is shooting, it is time for an upgrade.  Morrell Targets offers a variety of targets ranging from bags, to foam, to 3D.  An affordable bag target that is going to last is only a click away.

GIFT IDEAS $50-100:

Is dad shooting the same old raggedy release that he has been for the past 10 years?  It is time to show him what a difference a new release can make.  Cobra Archery makes a wide variety of products but they specialize in the release aid game.  The NEW Maverick  is a state-of-the-art design that combines ingenuity, simplicity, strength, and accuracy.

Need a new map of the family property, or dad’s favorite parcel of public land that he hunts?  Karta Maps makes high quality maps with the idea of taking you farther and getting you closer.  Dad is sure to take pride in a high quality map of his hunting area.

Who doesn’t like to come home and show their family and friends what they have seen while in the field?  Many times, wildlife encounters are at a distance and cell phone pictures just don’t do them justice.  Not anymore!  Pick up a Phone Skope kit that dad is sure to love.  Phone Skope allows you to quickly and easily attach your smartphone device to binoculars or spotting scopes to capture high quality images and video clips that dad can be proud of.

If your dad spends as much time in the woods in the fall as we do, a comfortable tree stand is a must.  After all, comfort is the key to staying in the tree longer.  Rivers Edge makes a wide variety of hang on stands, and ladder stands.  An affordable home run in this category is one of our favorite stands…the Big Foot XL is just what the doctor ordered.

GIFT IDEAS $100+:

At the end of the day, safety is and always will be #1.  Is there a better way to tell your dad you love him than giving him a gift that ensures he will make it home from the woods safely?  Pick up your dad a new safety harness from Hunter Safety System.  You could throw in a Lifeline from HSS to ensure that dad stays connected to the tree from the time he leaves the ground until the time he comes back to the ground after the hunt.

If your dad is a ground hunter, you’re going to love this next one.  Hook him up with a Barronett Ground Blind.  Our favorite blinds are the Ox4 and the Ox5.  These oversized blinds are the best on the market and dad will be sure to enjoy his time in the field and out of the elements.

For any outdoorsmen, good optics are essential for a quality experience while in the field hunting or scouting.  Vortex has a variety of choices from binoculars, to rangefinders, to riflescopes and more.  Good glass is the key to good optics, and Vortex spares no expense in building a quality product that is built to last.  He is sure to love the 10×42 Diamond Back HD binoculars.

Last but certainly not least, the HHA Tetra bow sight is a must have for any serious bowhunter. Over two decades of technology come together to provide one of the most versatile, lightweight and rugged sights available.

Time is ticking, Father’s Day will be here before we know it.  Cheers to getting your dad something that he will love this year!

WISCONSIN WEEK 6

By: Brennen Nading (@nadingbr)

Week 6 – The Beatdown.  We have made it a tradition to get together at ‘Camp Strutzone’ on the final weekend of the season each year.  The plan for the final hoorah is simple..have fun, kill birds, and drink beers.  We gathered at camp on Thursday evening, and planned to stay through the weekend.  With camp being right on the shore of the Wisconsin River, we made sure to wet the lines shortly after arriving.  Several fish were caught but the highlight of the night was when Mark hooked into his first every muskie.

Friday morning rolled around and it was all business.  Per usual, the roost hunt was a bust.  Shortly after, Mark found himself making a play on a group of birds that were out in a field.  He used the terrain to his advantage and slipped over a rise inside gun range and got us on the board.  A few hours later, I made a play on a bird that was strutting out in a different field.  I popped onto the field about 200 yards from the strutter and inched my way closer and closer with the domeinator.  It didn’t take long before the tom got upset and made his way into 20 yards.

Later that afternoon, we found another group of toms out in a field on a piece of property that we just picked up permission to hunt.  2 of the toms were a couple hundred yards off the wood line and a lone tom was pretty close to the field edge.  Mike popped onto the field with the domeinator and the lone tom came charging into 10 yards.  Last call for the day now and we found 2 more strutters out in a large field with a few hens.  Mark headed into the field with 2 tags and after several hundred yards of crawling across the wide open field, both of them were punched.

Day 1 ended with 5 longbeards down.  We were ready for the following day.  Another bust off the roost for us on day 2.  We began driving around once again and it didn’t take long for Mike to find a group of toms out in a field.  He domed up and they came running.  He dropped the hammer on 2 of them.  The next few hours were pretty uneventful.  We were just getting ready to break for lunch when a buddy called and said he had a strutter in the field behind his house.  A quick play later and I knocked down my 2nd bird of the weekend.

The weather got hot, and we said that we were content with what we had accomplished in essentially a day and a half of hunting.  We decided to pull the plug on the weekend, and on the season.  We spent the rest of the weekend drinking beers, hanging on the sandbar, and just having a relaxing time at camp.  It has been a hell of a spring and we can’t wait to do it all over again next year.

The east side boys were also still getting after it this past weekend.  Brandon broke the 6th season ice for the boys and Hunter followed up the next day and knocked down their 8th bird of the season amongst the trio.  They came out of the gates hot and kept it rolling all spring.  We hope you all had a safe and successful season this year, thank you for following along with us!

WISCONSIN WEEK 5

By: Brennen Nading (@nadingbr)

Today marks opening day of the 6th and final week of the Wisconsin Spring turkey season, which means it is time to recap the 5th week.  After sitting on the bench the first 4 weeks of the season, we decided that week 5 was a good time to bust out the domeinator and get aggressive to knock down some late season birds.  The method proved effective and as a crew we were able to knock down 4 more birds this past week.

On Thursday evening Rand (@bschrage3) and Goolash (@dguelig) were driving around looking for birds and they spotted one in a field that they had permission to hunt.  The boys snuck through the woods and popped out into the field where the tom was strutting all by himself.  Rand threw the domeinator on, and crawled out into the field with the lone strutter.  Meanwhile 2 hens popped onto the field and the strutter began heading the other direction towards the hens.  Rand acted quickly and crawled through waist high water to get on the other side of a ditch to put him in a better position.  The tom and hens turned around and headed his direction.  At 15 yards Rand rocked his world.

On Saturday morning Goolash was up to bat.  The roost hunt was a bust so at around 6am him and Rand began driving around in search of birds.  The boys found a group of 3 toms and made a play on them with the domeinator.  The birds came 30 yards from Goolash but he didn’t shoot because he wasn’t sure if Rand was on them with the camera.  They backed out and continued to search for more birds.  They found 2 more toms strutting out in a field they had permission on.  They snuck through a chunk of woods and popped onto the field with the domeinator.  The toms came on a string and Goolash dusted one at 7 steps.

Meanwhile, we had Alex Comstock (@whitetail_dna), Josh Smith (@wildcarrotjosh), and Scott Spitzley (@scottspitzley88) at camp ‘Strutzone’ hunting turkeys with us for the weekend.  Alex would be the first to get in on the action.  We found a tom strutting with several hens in an area that we were very familiar with.  Knowing that the birds generally leave that area and head to a big alfalfa field, we got in position to cut him off.  JP (@aaronskrzypczak) and Alex were working down the field edge when a hen popped into the field at less than 20 yards.  They hit the deck and got ready.  Sure enough, the tom wasn’t far behind and made the mistake of stepping out at 15 yards.

Not even an hour later, Josh was making a play on another bird 10 miles away.  The guys were driving around and found a lone tom on a field where we had permission to hunt.  Having killed several toms off that same field in the past, Mike (@mjmancl) knew where they needed to get in order to cut the bird off before he left the field and got in the woods.  They covered ground quick and got in position.  Just as Josh slipped around the corned of the field, the tom rounded the corner at the same time.  The bird knew something was up, but it was too late, Josh already had the bead on his head.

This week was a good change of pace.  We have been sticking to our guns and trying to do set ups and call birds to the decoys for the past 4 weeks.  This was our first time all season where we scrapped the set ups for the most part and started making plays with the domeinator.  Although we had several failed attempts, we found ways to get it done.  This is the second year in a row where we have had a full camp for the 5th season, and we certainly had a good time with it!

For anyone that has followed us over the years, you all know what week 6 looks like for us.  This coming weekend is what we like to call ‘The Beatdown’.  We are going to kick off the festivities on Friday morning and hunt through the weekend.  The plan is simple, pack our pockets full of tags and fill as many of them as we can.  Last year we had an exceptional year and killed 14 birds during The Beatdown in just 2.5 days of hunting.  If you haven’t already, you can watch that episode right HERE.

This year we have decided that we are not going to try and beat the record we set last year.  Instead, we are hoping to focus more on getting high quality kills on film for you all to watch.  For anyone that is still out chasing them this last week, good luck!  If you have thrown in the towel for the year, hopefully you still find a way to get outdoors and enjoy the holiday weekend coming up!  Stay tuned for a Beatdown Recap coming next week.

 

WISCONSIN WEEK 4

By: Brennen Nading (@nadingbr)

Another season comes to a close when the sun goes down in Wisconsin. 4 seasons down, and 2 to go.  Anyone else get their ass kicked again this week?  Several of us took to the woods the past 7 days and we only turned up 3 birds.  Tough hunting to say the least.  Can’t even blame it on the sheer number of birds, because we are hearing plenty of them off the roost in the mornings.  The problem is, after they hit the ground, they won’t talk.  Not just in the early morning when they are with hens, but seemingly all day long is a ghost town in the woods again this week.

Dylan and Brandon were chasing them on the east side of the state.  On Thursday they made a play on a group of 4 gobblers that had come within 100 yards of their set up on Wednesday evening.  They set up right next to an opening in a fence line where the birds always seemed to cross.  With the birds being on such a pattern, the boys chose not to use decoys, and called very little.  The birds continued on their pattern and shortly after they flew down they walked through the opening in the fence line and Dylan lit one up.

Mike and JP spent the week running around in central Wisconsin trying to get one killed on public ground.  The challenge of public land hunting this late in the season is something that Mike was looking forward to facing.  After 3 days of running and gunning, they racked up over 700 miles on the truck driving around from public piece to public piece trying to find a bird that wanted to work.  A couple close calls but never able to seal the deal.

On day 4, they were in between checking public parcels when they spotted a bird on a private piece that Mike had permission to hunt.  After 3 days of tough hunting, they decided to put the public land chase on hold and go after the bird.  It didn’t take long and they were in a good position.  A few yelps later and Mike had the safety off and finger on the trigger.

I spent 4 days chasing them on the west side of the state with my father.  The activity for us was minimal, we heard gobbling but no close encounters the first 3 days.  On Saturday evening, we struck up 2 gobblers and they finally began working our direction.  As luck would have it, they circled the ground blind and came in behind us in the woods.  With how the action had been to that point, we weren’t going to pass up the opportunity at a bird in range.  In quick fashion, I opened the back window of the blind and my dad dumped the bird at 25 yards.

I wish I had more to say about the action this past week but that is all I have to report for now.  Several of the other crew members took to the woods this week and got taken to school by the birds as well.  Still hoping something clicks and we can finish the season strong.  We have the 6 Packs n’ Racks crew joining us at Strutzone later this week and we hope to knock down some birds in central Wisconsin.  Good luck to everyone still chasing them!

 

WISCONSIN WEEK 3

By: Brennen Nading (@nadingbr)

We closed the door on the 3rd season of the Wisconsin Spring Turkey hunt yesterday.  I was personally glad to see it go.  Over the course of the past 7 days, I have been worked both physically and mentally by these silly little 20 pound birds.  Although we struck out a whole hell of a lot this past week, we did find some success along the way.  When most probably would have thrown in the towel, we stayed the course and persistence paid off in white meat.

Wednesday and Thursday were uneventful to say the least.  We heard decent gobbling off the roost but birds flew down with hens and went silent shortly after hitting the ground.  We continued to hop around to different areas and had no luck at all striking birds.  It seemed like we couldn’t even find birds out in the fields early on in the season, it was tough!  For the first couple of days, I am pretty sure we didn’t hear a gobble between 7am and 6pm and we were hunting hard the entire time. High winds certainly did not help.

Friday was a little bit different story. The weather broke for us.  The high winds laid down,  it warmed up just enough and the sun poked through.  Around 8:30 in the morning we finally found a bird that was fired up!  He was gobbling on a hillside, and gobbling a lot.  We hurried to get on the ridge above him, and worked until we were about 80 yards from the crest of the hill.  He hammered as we were setting the decoys.  A few soft yelps and he was in our lap. Mark lit him up at 20 paces.

A couple hours later Mike and JP found a little success of their own in the central part of the state.  They walked into a piece of ground, got to the edge of a field and gave out a call.  A bird hammered inside 200 yards so they quickly threw the decoys out and got set up.  Within 10 minutes the bird worked across the field and into the decoys.  Mike dropped the hammer.

The boys got Mike’s bird hauled back to the truck and they drove to a different farm.  The intentions were to walk and call along a crick bottom and see if they could strike a gobble.  As luck would have it, a group of birds were already out in the field where they wanted to go.  The terrain allowed them to use the rise to close the distance.  JP hid behind the strutter decoy and Mike hung back with the camera.  They inched into gun range and JP knocked down their 2nd bird within the hour.

We continued to hunt hard on Saturday, and Sunday and the results were much like the first couple days.  Good gobbling off the roost, and then nothing at all.  Decided to take the morning off on Monday to go and scout a couple new areas.  Got back out to hunt in the evening on Monday.  We did strike a few birds that sit, but nothing wanted to work into our field.  We would head into Tuesday, which just happened to be Cinco de Mayo so we had to stop at the taco truck for good luck.

Tuesday was different, it was like a light switch had been flipped in the turkey woods.  We had birds gobbling at every place that we went.  Although most of them didn’t work to the call, it was definitely nice to hear them throughout the day!  We had a couple close calls in the morning but came up short.  Early afternoon we planned to do a walk-and-call on a large tract of public.  We struck a bird across a large valley on our 2nd stop.  We ran back to the truck and made the 10 minute drive to get around to the other side of the valley where we had heard them.

We got in position and gave out a call.  As luck would have it, the birds hammered on the side of the valley where we just came from.  They must have decided to go check out where we had originally called to them from.  Either way, we turned them around and they started coming back to our side.  After about 10-15 minutes, 3 strutters came onto the field a couple hundred yards away.  They worked beautifully across the green field and into the decoys before Dylan torched the lead strutter.

Although 3rd season yielded 4 birds for us, it has been an extremely tough week of hunting.  Seems like the hens aren’t nesting like they should be, and they are keeping the toms tied up for the better part of the days.  I said it last week and I will say it again today, something is going to break soon and the hunting is going to get really good.  Fingers crossed that this is the week when shit gets crazy in the turkey woods.

WISCONSIN WEEK 2

By: Brennen Nading (@nadingbr)

The 2nd season of the Wisconsin spring turkey hunt comes to a close at the end of the day today.  It was a roller coaster of action for us in the turkey woods this week. You can see all the action right HERE in this weeks “Turkey:30”.  Wednesday presented itself with high winds and an overall pretty slow day for us as far as encounters go.  We did hear good gobbling in the morning off the roost but they were pretty quick to go silent not long after they flew down.  Not long after the winds began to pick up and continued to blow hard throughout the day.

We battled it out for the better part of the day on Wednesday but came up empty.  Nothing makes turkey hunting more complicated than high winds.  The turkeys couldn’t hear us calling and we couldn’t hear them if they were responding.  Our best bet was to get a visual on birds and then attempt to make a play.  We did see a few birds out in the fields but they just weren’t in locations that presented us with a high percentage play on them so we opted to leave them alone for another day.

However, Dylan Guelig found a way to make it happen on the east side of the state Wednesday evening. Him and Brandon slipped into a secluded field close to where they had heard a bunch of gobbling off the roost early that morning and posted up for the evening.  Sure enough, a group of toms showed up and 2 of them made the decision to come check out their decoy spread around 6pm.

Thursday was different, the winds had calmed down quite a bit and the birds seemed to be a little more jacked up because of it.  Late in the morning, JP and Dylan found a few strutters that were flirting with the boundary on a piece of public ground.  They were able to sneak through the CRP/red brush and get in position for the strutters to see their decoys.  JP laid with the strutting Jake decoy and manually made the decoy go in and out of strut.  This was just enough to make the birds leave the private and come to investigate.

Mike and myself had several close calls on Thursday but we just couldn’t seal the deal.  Friday morning rolled around and the conditions were once again looking really good.  The roost hunt was once again a bust, the toms flew down with hens and did their own thing.  Shortly after, Dylan and JP moved to a field where birds have been spotted a lot in the past couple weeks.  3 long beards came onto the field with their hens and couldn’t help but come check out the decoy spread.

Mid morning, Mike and I found a group of birds that we had seen the day prior but only they were in a much better spot to make a play on them.  There was a chunk of woods in between us and them that allowed us to sneak through the timber and get set up on the edge of the big field that they were in.  We knew it was a matter of time before they had to eventually work back in our direction.  Sure enough, a couple hours later, a lone tom came over the rise in the field and seen our decoy spread.  Minutes later, he was strutting in the decoys at 12 yards.

With each season, you must apply new tactics and always be willing to adapt to the weather conditions.  Toms were still hanging with groups of several hens this week, and we have yet to kill a bird off the roost this year.  I expect that to change in the coming weeks as hens will begin laying on their nests more and more.  Again, patience is key.  Go into the areas that you know birds are frequenting and stick it out as long as you can.  Even if those birds don’t come straight to you in the morning, they will remember where your calling was coming from and when they leave their hens, they will likely come back looking for you.  Just make sure you are still there when they do!

WISCONSIN WEEK 1

By: Brennen Nading (@nadingbr)

You just never know what you are going to get when you draw a 1st season tag in Wisconsin.  Some years you are looking at a foot of snow, other years you are looking at sunshine and 50 degree weather.  Thankfully this year didn’t include the snow.  We had a handful of tags spread amongst the crew this last week and fortunately for us, we were able to fill all of them over the course of the past 5 days. Check out this weeks action by clicking HERE to watch this weeks Turkey:30

As expected early in the season, the toms are spending a lot of time with the hens.  Roost hunts are extremely difficult unless you can find a way to get set up in between the toms and their hens.  Simply put, it is hard to call a tom away from real hens. With this being the reality of early season hunting, you can’t let it get you down.  This is the time of year where patience is king.

Many of the birds are still running in larger groups (10-15) birds.  They have yet to split up, and they are fairly patternable this time of year.  Scouting pays dividends right now.  Find out where the birds are roosting, where they are feeding in the morning, and where they are feeding in the evenings before heading back to roost.  The run and gun tactics, even though it is our favorite way to hunt in the spring, usually isn’t the way we find success the first week or 2 of the season.

Gobbling was good in the tree this week, and fair at best during the rest of the daylight hours.  This is going to continue to change as the weeks progress and the hens begin leaving the toms to go lay on nests.  Until that time gets here, stay patient and post up in the areas that you know birds are frequenting.  It’s turkey hunting, action can from from 6 to midnight before you know it.  Stay with it, and shoot straight.

 

 

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