KS DIRT

With the Iowa tag punched, Mike and myself hit the road for Kansas to see if we could do something about the KS tag in my pocket.  Mike had spent a considerable amount of time on OnX looking for public spots to check out.  The first day was bitterly cold, we did a hang and hunt in a funnel area and froze our asses off, and got skunked by the deer.  With a fair amount of fresh tracks in the snow through that funnel, we elected to give it another try the following morning.  By mid morning, the activity was slow and we knew we had to make a move.  We packed out of that area completely and moved to a different piece of public.  We slipped in, hung our double and climbed into the tree midday.  Shortly after getting settled we began to see deer.  A little while later this buck snuck in on us and gave me a golden opportunity that I just couldn’t pass up.  Tagged out in KS.

GATEWAY

This year I elected to stay out of the Iowa trees until November.  I was hopeful that no October pressure would give way to some incredible sits in November.  After 5 consecutive “action packed” sits on the main farm, east winds would mean plan B on the morning of November 8th.  Dylan had been with me behind the camera the previous 5 days but he had to get back to Wisconsin.  Mike rolled in on no sleep and we headed straight to the woods.  We crawled into a virgin set that overlooked a gateway where deer crossed back and forth between ag/crp and good bedding.  The cell cam showed consistent activity over the week prior and the wind was good, so we were optimistic.  A couple hours after daylight, a shooter read the script and came cruising through the gate, he piled up about 150 yards later.

HALLOWEEN MAGIC

Ryan and Dylan picked up a new lease for this season in Wisconsin.  Trail cameras went out mid summer and when season rolled around they were rather disappointed in the lack of mature deer that were showing themselves.  In fact, mature deer were nowhere to be found.  They kept busy elsewhere throughout the early part of the season but with the concentration of does on the farm, they felt that late October would surely bring some mature deer cruising.  Sure enough, a couple nights ago they caught a glimpse of a shooter just before dark out in the beans.  Hunting the right stands on the right winds and throwing caution to their entry and exits put them in a good spot on the morning of October 31.  The same shooter they had seen in the beans about ran them over in the timber and Ryan made the shot count.  Moral of the story goes, anything can happen on Halloween.

SODAK DOUBLE

Mule deer were definitely on our radar this year.  Brandon and myself snatched up tags for South Dakota and planned a trip to head west.  We would be hunting with Grant Shearer, a cattle rancher, and long time friend of Mark’s father.  My first time on this property was several years ago when I tagged along to film Mark on his first ever mule deer hunt.  I fell in love with the area, and the spot and stalk style hunting.  This trip we would be accompanied with Dylan, and Zach (Brandon’s younger brother) running the cameras, and Mark’s dad would also be in camp helping us out as far as navigating the property and finding deer.  Less than ideal conditions the first few days had us handcuffed.  We were seeing plenty of deer, and several good bucks.  The kicker lied in the fact that there was virtually no wind, making spot and stalking nearly impossible.  With cooler temps and high winds in the forecast, we opted to play it smart the first few days and not push any stalks and educate the deer.  On day 5, the wind finally began to rip.  At 8:30 in the morning, Dylan and I were able to sneak within 30 yards of this great buck and I was fortunate enough to sink an arrow in the sweet spot.  He ran 40 yards and I had my hands on my first ever muley buck.  We no more than got back to the truck to grab everything we needed to pack him out, and I got a text from Brandon that he had just stuck a nice buck himself.  After 4 slow days, the conditions turned, and within an hour we had both arrowed great bucks.  This is a trip that we will never forget, both of us were able to wrap our tags around our first muleys.

PUBLIC SUCCESS

Opening weekend yielded 4 hards days of hunting for Mike in western North Dakota, and a long drive home with a tag still in his pocket.  After a week back at work, Mike decided to head back west for round 2, this time he would have Dylan with him running the camera.  With a long weekend worth of experience under the belt, Mike had a better idea of where to start this time around.  It didn’t take long for the guys to get eyes on deer, and a couple of nice bucks.  This buck laid up in a perfect spot with another buck, and the boys came up with a plan.  A quick stalk later and they were able to slip in above the buck that laid against a bank beneath them.  The smaller of the 2 bucks bumped out, causing the larger to run out to about 20 yards and stop to see what was going on.  When he paused, Mike released an arrow and it found its’ mark.  Here Mike sits behind his 1st ever archery mule deer buck.  There isn’t much more rewarding for a bowhunter than to be successful on public land after starting from scratch.  This won’t be our last trip to this part of North Dakota to chase mule deer, granted we can get our hands on the tags again.

 

NEW TERRITORY

After several seasons of hunting whitetails in North Dakota, Mike and myself decided to get in the lottery for the statewide ‘Any Deer’ tag.  This tag gives us the option to hunt whitetail or mule deer.  Upon being successful in the tag drawing, the planning began.  Mike made an early season scouting trip earlier this summer with his fiancé to check out the area that we planned to hunt.  We landed in a particular area due to being tipped off by a good buddy that used to live in the area.  With a 4 day weekend, we had high hopes of getting on some good bucks. The first 2 days of the hunt consisted of covering a lot of ground, doing a lot of glassing, and just not finding the bucks that we were hoping to put our tag on.

On day 3, we would finally begin to make some headway.  It was mid morning when Mike glassed up a shooter nearly a mile away with a group of does.  After watching them for awhile, they split apart and the buck bedded alone high on a hillside.  We circled the hill, got on top and gained 30-40 feet of elevation on the bedded buck before slipping in closer.  With virtually no wind at all, we were able to slip into 40 yards and the buck busted out of his bed before Mike could get to full draw.  Later in the day, I glassed up another good buck bedded in a drainage ditch all by himself.  It was getting to be later in the day so we knew we needed to close the gap before the buck would stand up and begin moving for the evening.  We were able to get to 100 yards, with a well thought out plan for closing the remaining gap, when the buck fed out of his bed.  Game over.

On the final morning of the hunt, we were able to glass up a couple more good bucks and try another stalk attempt.  However, with another calm day and no wind, it was nearly impossible to get within bow range.  Although opening weekend would leave us empty handed, we learned a lot about an area that was completely new to us.  We have every intention of figuring out this public land piece of heaven over the next several seasons.  Mike plans to return next week for round 2, hoping for better weather conditions.

BACK IN NODAK

Finally, the wait is over!  Labor Day weekend typically means summer is over and the kids are back to school.  It also means, opening weekend of deer season in North Dakota.  The crew headed Northwest in hopes of capitalizing on an early season whitetail.  It would be on evening number 2 when Brandon would break the 2018 ice and get the crew on the board with a beautiful northern plains buck.  With several more tags for the state, and the season being young, we plan to make more noise in the state before it is all said and done.

 

SPEED GOAT

Kick the season off early? Hell yeah! Dylan headed to western Nebraska to hunt with Cody Kuck at Heartland Pride Outfitters.  This would be Dylan’s first time hunting antelope and he was excited to get to camp.  Little did he know, this hunt would be short and sweet.  Day 1 consisted of 9 hours in the blind, and on day 2 it would only be a 5 hour wait before this great buck along with 2 others would make their way across the prairie towards the water hole.  A well placed arrow at 43 yards, and Dylan laid his hands on his first ever Antelope.  What a way to kick off the 2018 season, and Season 6 of the show.

 

WILD CARROT Q & A

Wild Carrot? What the hell is Wild Carrot? That is EXACTLY what was going through my head when Dylan said he was in communication with one of the co-owners of a new company in the outdoor industry called Wild Carrot Scents.  The first thing that crossed my mind was probably much like what is going through your mind right now…these guys make a deer attractant out of wild carrots?  I couldn’t have been more wrong!

The conversations began when the Wild Carrot Instagram handle @wildcarrotdeerattractant began “liking” the photos we were posting on our Instagram handle (@bpointtv).  One thing led to another, and we ended up meeting Josh Smith (@wildcarrotjosh) a few weeks later when we were at the Archery Trade Association (ATA) show in Indianapolis.  At that time..Dylan, Mike, and myself were still extremely confused about what exactly this product even was.  This called for a bar meeting over some beers, so that’s exactly what we did.  After a long day in the convention center, we generally don’t waste too much time finding a tavern.  We met up with Josh, and he got to explain to us a little more about the company that he and his family had going.  Upon talking with Josh for awhile, we knew darn well that he was good people.  In conversation, it was very apparent just how passionate he was not only for their business, but for the outdoors in general…he was just like us.

 

Without further ado, I thought this would be a great opportunity to ask Josh some questions that will give readers a better understanding of exactly what Wild Carrot Deer Scents is, and why you need to add it to your arsenal of tactics this upcoming season! Here we go..

Brennen: Is this a family venture or who is all involved? Who ultimately came up with the idea behind the products you make and how did it come to fruition?

Josh: It is indeed a family business! My Dad and I share in the operational oversight as co-owners, and my grandpa and uncle share ownership as well. My dad actually developed the system. He’s got a drive to make things function well, and it connected with years of using fresh doe urine from deer we’d killed as a scent attractant for bucks. He set out to develop an easy to use scent system that would replicate the quality of a harvest fresh urine while keeping a great shelf life and this was originally just to keep ourselves stocked for the season. It evolved into a super simple deployment/storage system that we decided to take to market, but only after receiving our patent and testing deer urine from a great number of farms in search of the best collection methods.

Brennen: Wild Carrot is possibly one of the most unique brand names in the entire outdoor industry. When coming up with your brand name, how did you guys settle on “Wild Carrot”? 

Josh: Well as a company in an industry that is rich with a hard-ass, bad boy mentality, we believed that unique would be a fresh perspective. As important as it is to make a positive impression for the future of hunting and recruitment we thought Wild Carrot would allow us to do that while keeping our brand identity light hearted and focused on one of the reasons we hunt in the first place, to have fun. We worked with a marketing firm early on to develop branding, and they actually came up with the name as part of a group of potential options. We thought it was a great fit and liked the organic feel and grassroots appeal that we felt would be representative of our system of “small-batch” style deer urine attractants.

Brennen: What can people expect when they buy Wild Carrot attractants? What sets this company apart from other companies that sell deer urine?

Josh: When a hunter purchases Wild Carrot, they can assume they’re getting an “artisan quality” deer urine, in a packaging system that simplifies several methods of scent use on a high level, with no mess. Should someone find otherwise in one of our pouches they can assume a member of our family will be there to listen, and to make it right. There are many companies selling quality deer urines, what sets us apart is that ours also includes your drag, emits scent for weeks when hung, stays collection fresh all season, and is completely mess free. There is no need to purchase anything additional for multiple applications.

Brennen: What time of the year should I start using Wild Carrot? Is summer too early? Or Should I wait until pre rut/ rut in my area before I use the product?

Josh: We’ve had success bringing deer in on trail cams during all times of the year, and we’ve been hanging them year round for quite a while (be responsible for your trash). Deer are social by nature, and can easily detect urine from an unfamiliar deer. Our scents are a great way to get some velvet inventory early season, and really shine when pre-rut comes knocking.

Brennen: How long does this product stay “fresh”? And when is it manufactured? If I am going to be using it this fall, should I wait to buy it or can I buy it now and count on it being fresh in the fall?

Josh: We have early versions of our packaging that have been successful bringing bucks in nose-down on a scent trail after 5 years on the shelf. The packaging itself is patented, and allows zero light or air transmission, and our urines are refrigerated from collection through packaging (once packaged no need to refrigerate). Though our products keep extremely well, we package fresh every August to provide premium quality. Orders placed beginning August 1 will receive the current season’s offering.

Brennen: Is this product something that I want to use while I am in the field and take with me when I leave the field or should I leave it in the woods when I am not there?

Josh: This depends on your style of hunting. If you’re hunting static setups on private land and will be hunting those same setups repeatedly, leave the lures hanging! In my experience, the scent has a calming effect on deer and can actually prevent the potential negatives of “overhunting” certain locations. If you’re hunting public land, take the used scent out with you each day. Our 10/packs are resealable, and contain individually sealed lures. Dump the lures into your hunting pack and use the resealable pouch to store the used lures when finished. No mess.

Brennen: Any big plans or releases for Wild Carrot that you can discuss that might be coming down the pipeline?  Attractants for other big game animals, etc?

Josh: We are releasing our synthetic scent for this fall for those that choose not to utilize natural urines. We also are working on a line of food plot/kill plot mixes for spring 2019. We kick around other big game products as well, but at this point in our infancy we want to make sure nothing takes too much focus off of our standard of quality for our current products.

Brennen: Any big hunting plans for this fall? What states will you be hunting?

Josh: Of course! I’ll be hunting a new early season here at home in East TN. TWRA passed a 3 day archery season for late august this year. I’ll also head to Kentucky in early September chasing velvet again. With any luck I’ll find my way to North Dakota this fall as well. I also plan to hit CO for archery elk the third week of September. I’m trying to stay busy early season, as we’ve got baby #4 arriving mid rut this year!

I want to thank Josh Smith for taking the time to do this Q and A, hopefully it cleared up any questions that you might have had leading into this blog.  If you haven’t already, you need to check these guys out!  Find them on Instagram , Facebook , or on their Website

SUMMER INVENTORY – LESS IS MORE

Turkey season is a thing of the past and the dog days of summer appear to have arrived whether we were ready for them or not.  If you’re like me, the next couple of months are the most dreaded months of the year.  Hot weather, and nothing is in season.  Sure, there are things to do to pass the time in the summer but bonfires, fishing, and golf just don’t suffice.  One thing that keeps us hunters mildly sane in the summer are those velvet bucks that we start picking up on the trail cameras.  But this also poses a lot of questions..

When should I be putting my trail cameras out?

There is no right or wrong answer here.  Some people will run their trail cameras year round, and that is absolutely fine.  I typically pull mine after all the bucks are shed out sometime in March.  I do leave a few out during turkey season but the bulk of my cameras get a few months off before heading back to the woods in late July.  I choose to wait until July for a few reasons.  I like to leave the woods as undisturbed as possible during the late spring/ early summer months because this is when deer are starting to calm back down and settle into their summer routines.  If they are left alone, the better the chance of them getting comfortable on the ground that I hunt.  I also wait until late July to put them out because this is typically when the bucks become recognizable. I don’t see a sense in getting inventory before then on deer that have knobs on their head, I rather stay out of the woods and let the growing season take its course uninterrupted.

How often should I be checking my cameras during the summer?

Weekly? Bi weekly? Monthly?  Again, this is a controversial topic.  No matter the circumstances, I would say weekly is not doing you any favors in the summer.  The longer you can hold out in between card pulls the better.  It’s not like you are going to be hunting anytime soon, so you might as well let the cameras soak.  A fresh set of batteries and a large SD card will suffice for a long time in the summer, even on a mineral site.  I try and wait 4 to 6 weeks in between checking trail cameras in the summer.  That said, I still don’t check them without throwing caution to the wind.  Mid day checks in the rain are ideal.

Aside from mineral, where are the best places to hang my cameras this time of year?

Bean fields are becoming more and more appealing every single day now, these field edges are a great place to start.  Water is often over looked but whitetails have to drink several times a day, a local pond, or stream crossing is another great place to gather summer inventory.

What can I learn from summer pictures?

I take summer pictures with a grain of salt.  It gives you a good idea of the bucks that are going to be in the “area” in the fall but not necessarily the bucks that will be living on or near the ground you hunt.  Sure, there are cases where you will get particular deer on camera all year long, but most times the deer will split from their bachelor groups in late August/ early September and set up their fall home range.  This is when people begin scratching their heads wondering where the bucks they had on camera all summer vanished to.

Besides checking cameras, what else can I be doing during the next couple of months to ensure that I am ready for the season when it arrives?

There is no better time to burn up the foam.  Shooting your bow needs to become a daily thing during the summer.  Build up your muscle memory so by the time fall comes, you are ready.  I read an article awhile back that related target shooting, to shooting an animal.  Practice at twice the range that you would consider shooting an animal at with your bow.  If you are going to plan to shoot at 30 yards, practice out to 60.  If you are going to plan to shoot 40 yards, practice out to 80.  Shooting a target is one thing, but when the moment of truth presents itself this fall, it’s not worth leaving anything to chance.

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