Perfection is what happens when you continue to practice over and over again. This picture was taken in my backyard where I shoot everyday. I am not the best shot, but I rely on my physical capabilities and my mental toughness to make each shot count. Now, I just have to apply these shots to the field when it really counts!
The Tampa Chapter of The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is having their 18th Big Game Banquet this Saturday, July 31, 2010 at The Tampa Letter Carriers Hall at 5:30 p.m.
RMEF is committed to: Conserving, restoring and enhancing natural habitat. Promoting the sound management of wild, free-ranging elk, which may be hunted or otherwise, enjoyed. Fostering cooperation among federal, state and private organizations and individuals in wildlife management and habitat conservation. Educating members and the public about habitat conservation, the value of hunting, hunting ethics and wildlife management. (http://www.rmef.org/)
The Banquet will be catered by The Texas Cattle Company. There will also be a live and silent auction as well as plenty of raffles. It’s a great time for a great cause. To get your tickets now, click on http://www.tpaelk.org/BGB_Info.htm. Hope to see you there!
This is just two examples of how I strengthen my core throughout my training. A strong core will help prevent injuries to the lower back which almost 80% of the population will experience at some time in their life. The movements are slow and controlled to ensure that I am focusing on the correct muscle groups.
The first exercise performed is known as the flag. I am raising and lowering the body while perched on my shoulders. My torso and legs form a straight line and there is very little movement at my hips. This exercise primarily focuses on my abs isometrically, meaning my abs are in full contraction throughout the exercise with little to no movement. I then go into the exercise known as the corkscrew to engage my obliques. There is very little momentum utilized to ensure that I am breaking down the muscle effectively.
The last exercise that I perform is the back extension. I am focusing on muscles known as the erector spinae, glutes, and hamstrings. I am holding two 45 lb. plates and if you notice that my ears, shoulders, and hips are in line, resembling perfect alignment.
These exercises are advanced, but through practice and determination, progression has and will continue to take place. I have had to make some tough shots in difficult positions throughout my hunting career and having the strength and flexibility in my core has allowed me to complete the job. HUNT STRONG, TRAIN TO HUNT!
Stay Tuned as I will be adding other demonstrations to help you better your success!
My father and I headed up to our property in northwest Georgia to scout and set feeders for the fast approaching up coming season. Our main goal was to find a centralized area to place our home-made feeders, and to set trail cameras to see how big the bucks are becoming as they grow their antlers. Along the way, we input GPS coordinates and took pictures of food sources such as White Oaks, Red Oaks, Water Oaks, Muscadine vines and Persimmon trees that were in full bloom. We input these coordinates on a map to see which was the best rout to approach these areas. We also used technology like Google Earth on my phone to find funnel areas where the deer are most likely to travel and possible areas for stand locations. This was only our second visit to the property, so we tried to absorb as much information as we could gather to be successful. Welcome to the never ending fun of scouting.
Let’s recap! We sat down back in May when we decided to move forward with this property to draft a well thought out game plan. The first step we made was to get topography maps and tree surveys to see how the land was laid out. We tagged certain areas that looked potentially great so that when we are there, we can actually walk them out. We built some feeders for supplemental feeding to keep the deer accompanying those areas. In the state of Georgia, by law, you have to be 200 yards and out of sight of any areas that are baited, so placement is key. Once the feeders were placed, we then went out 200 yards with our GPS units and flagged trees to be in compliance with the law. We now know where we can and can’t walk when we are setting up our stands.
We have chosen to get deep in the back part of the property where most others will not travel in hopes that the deer are less pressured and more abundant. During our scouting we found a lot of good signs including deep trail ruts, some old sheds, deer waste, and old rubs from the previous year. While we were searching in these bottoms, we saw some deer and were blown at on several occasions, which was promising that deer are in the area.
Feeder #1 we put in the ground was a tough one. We placed this one exactly 374 yards next to a creek bottom where two massive hills came together. We found areas where the deer have been bedding down, so we figured this would be the best fit. They weighed about 100 pounds a piece (just the frame), but were more bulky than anything. Along with hauling the feeder back there, we had to haul 120lbs of corn, post hole diggers, the drill with srews and nails, the trail camera, and of course a machete just in case. The payoff will be priceless when I am holding a massive rack of the ever so smart mature white-tailed deer. It was a challenge to get it done, and just proves that you must to be in shape not just during the season but all year round.
Feeder’s #2 and #3 were placed in bottoms as well, but to get to these two areas, we had to travel down a 150-200 foot steep slope to get there. We placed these two feeder next to creeks that were lined with multiple tracks. Now, they have exactly what they need to survive: food, water, and shelter. We are very confident there will be some big bucks taking some dirt naps along these funnel systems this fall.
For each feeder we built, we took two 8ft 4×4′s for the post, 3 2×4′s with one to attach the roof on and the other two for the half barrel to sit on for support, a 4ft by 4ft piece of plywood for the roof with tar paper, a 55 gallon drum cut in half, and some camouflage paint. That’s it! We buried these posts in the ground approximately 2 1/2 foot with post hole diggers, put the roofs and barrels on and filled them with whole corn. We placed the barrels high enough so that the hogs could not get access but the deer can. It worked in our previous property, so we figured if it works, don’t fix it. On our last property the does would stay within the areas where the feeders were and once they went into heat the bucks would cycle through running the does to mate.
As the season approaches, we are just taking one step at a time to properly prepare for success. The more we step into the woods to learn them along with the pattern of the deer, the closer we get to harvesting a mature deer. The process of scouting is never ending, constantly questioning the whys. Why did the deer come from that way? What they are eating? Are they grazing or on a mission? As the season progresses, their patterns will change too, so we will have to make a journal of what we saw on each hunt and what the deer were doing. We can’t wait to get back up there to set our stands and to see how big the bucks are getting. “The difference between a good hunter and a great hunter, is DESIRE.”Hunt Strong, Train to Hunt! Stay Tuned.
Within the first hour of being on the property, I crossed paths with a timber rattler. As you can see, I was taking all pre-cautions by wearing snake boots. That is one less snake to worry about. You have to be very careful and observant this time of year because these critters are on the hunt for food. This snake had a total of 11 sets of buttons and was approximately 4 1/2 ft. long. That’s big enough to put me down for a few days or even face death.
We had a great time yesterday at the Big Buck Expo presented by Southern Trophy Hunters in Lakeland, FL. It is always great to be in a place where all types of people share a passion for the best sport on earth, hunting. There was a great turn out among participants, exhibitors and outfitters. It’s pretty cool to see the latest and greatest of what the outdoors has to offer: from products to get us closer to wild game, to food preparation, to clothing, to some cool mounts. My family makes this an annual event, after all, a family that hunts together, stays together.
The one feature that stuck out most in my mind was a guest speaker by the name of Billy Berger. More and more now, you hear hunters reverting back to the basics of hunting and utilizing only the bow for their weapon of choice. Billy takes it one step further and only hunts with a wooden bow, hand crafted by no-one else but him. Not only does he hand craft his bows from materials found, he also makes his own arrows, fletching, and arrowheads. The arrowheads that he uses are handcrafted out of chert, flint,agate, obsidian, and even hand-made glass. And yes, these are just as effective as today’s technology.
We shared stories amongst each other about hunting and how challenging it can be at times. Going primitive just makes the odds a little more tough to be successful. Getting close to game is just the start of the physical challenge. It’s amazing how successful the Indians were at harvesting animals for food. Could you imagine how fast we would starve to death if we solely relied on this type of hunting today. For the indians, it was all they knew, it was just their way of surviving.
We discussed how much practice plays as a key role in making sure that when one opportunity presents itself, you will be ready to make an ethical shot. Your success rate is not as high as if you were using the technology available today, but when you are successful, its like winning the mega million lottery. I am a strong supporter of going back to the basics, becoming a true hunter and gatherer; living off the land physically and nutritionally I commend Billy Berger for his passion as a true primitive archer and reaching back to the ancient warrior. Thanks Billy for the inspiration. I look forward to staying in touch with you.
You are on the last day of a six day hunt. It’s cold, wet and you are at full draw with a 160 inch mature whitetail buck broadside at 40 yards. You release the arrow from your bow, thwack, only to find you just impaled a sapling. The monster buck runs off and disappears into the thick brush. You ask yourself what went wrong, what just happened? You stare at your bow as if it was its fault, but in your head you know it was neither the bow nor the arrow. It was the hunter behind it. I refer to this scenario as a hunting error, just as a major league baseball player would chalk up a bad hop on a ground ball as an error. We all make errors, its how you overcome them and what you learn from them that separates the amateurs from the professionals.
You are not guaranteed to be successful on every hunt. Failure is reality, but how you work through it will determine your success. If you are afraid of failure, you will lose the drive to keep trying. Some hunters are extremely hard on themselves after a near miss. Keep your head up. What if just after you missed that 160 inch trophy buck, there was a 180 inch behind it? Would you be ready? Overcoming your mistakes allows you to build mental toughness. When a plan is in your favor, we are all tough. The meaning of toughness is being successful when real challenges present themselves before us; whether it is an impossible shot, the weather, or the emotional roller coaster of a never-ending stand-off between you and your patience. You have to keep your composure and keep on improving. After all, the most successful hunt lasts just five minutes longer!
The key to a fatal shot is practice, practice, practice. Just as an infielder takes ground ball after ground ball from various angles to prevent an error, we as hunters must shoot from different positions and angles with obstacles in our way to achieve a fatal shot to the vitals. You never know from when or where the next world trophy buck will appear, and you cannot predict how your body will respond to the excitement. Practice shooting when your heart rate is elevated to mimic the adrenaline flow you will experience when a trophy buck is in range. For example, drop down and do as many pushups as you can immediately followed by a shot to your 3D target. Practice shooting your bow while facing into the glare of the afternoon sun, or in the rain or wind. Practice holding your bow drawn back for a long period of time before releasing the arrow. All of these exercises will help you to be successful when the bigmoment presents itself.
Hunting is different from every other sport because we have no control over the object of the game. We have no control if the trophy animal approaches us from this trail or that one, quartering away or quartering to you. When should you draw, how fast or slow? You have to be mentally tough and constantly prepare for the unexpected to overcome obstacles. If you miss, which you and I will, brush it off and perfect that shot. If you do fail, it only takes one more encounter to succeed. Every successful athlete critiques their actions to conquer a dream, a dream of VICTORY! The most important product is You. Hunt Strong, Train to Hunt!
It’s officially here. The Big Buck Expo is back again this weekend July 9 through the 11th in Lakeland, FL. There will be over 250 outfitters and exhibitors along with The Muzzy Hunting Camp. The Muzzy Hunting Camp will be featuring The Backwoods Life crew, flint knapping and primitive archery with Billy Berger, Equip 2 Conceal weapons course, and much more. Visit me and my friends with Arrowhead Archery for the latest products in bow hunting and tips to help you become a better archer.
A very good friend of mine, JD, bought me this painting at a NWTF banquet. The artist who created this is Jack Paluh, titledA Soldier’s Prayer. It hangs in my office as a constant reminder that it is a privilege to have the opportunity to enjoy what we love most, the great outdoors. This painting portrays a hunter giving thanks after a successful bow hunt. If you look closely at the hunter, he is wearing an identification tag around his neck and he also has a POW-MIA patch on his right sleeve. The silhouette of the soldier standing over him is that of his brother, a hero lost to the Vietnam War.
There is not a day that goes by that I don’t just stop for a second and admire this painting. It is a constant reminder of the freedom that was fought for by our fallen and serving soldiers. I want to say a special thank you to all the veterans and soldier’s who protect and defend our country’s rights by putting their lives on the line each and every day. They are this country’s true heroes! Through their sacrifices, we as outdoors men and women continue to reap the pleasures of the great outdoors that God has provided for us. When you see a soldier, give thanks, after all he is fighting for your family and mine. Rest In Peace Fallen Soldiers. May we forever be thankful. Have a Happy Independance Day!