Hunting season was a mixed bag of success for me and my wife, Shelby. We both took nice antelope in Wyoming in August. She took a nice 10 point whitetail in Nebraska and I had a lot of close calls.
Our farm in northeast Missouri has consumed a lot of my time, but it’s been a labor of love. Things are beginning to come together on the 166 acre farm. We developed another one acre food plot bringing us to 7 acres of food plots. And we completed 39 acres of timber stand improvement (TSI) for wildlife. The TSI portions of the farm look like a tornado struck it, but I’m hopeful it will develop into plush vegetation on the ground and existing oak trees will yield more acorns this year. We had a record crop of acorns this fall, they were everywhere. Even with all of the acorns, the deer still wiped out two fields I had planted with oats and clover.
The EHD outbreak in 2013 had some lasting effects this year. I saw quite a few young bucks that show promise for this year. And I managed to see a couple of record class deer that escaped my efforts to tag them. See the attached photo for one I let grow another year. If my farm is an example, the turkey season this spring should be very good. I have quite a few turkeys that I watched grow from poults to adult size.
For many years now I’ve shared with you the hunting equipment I use. Much of my equipment has been tried over several years and proven itself but each year I’ve found new things worth your consideration.
There’s nothing worse than a pair of boots that don’t fit properly or don’t keep your feet warm in cold weather. I’ve tried many rubber boots and generally have not been satisfied with their performance.
I do most of my hunting in the upper Midwest. Fall tends to be a little damp due to rain and frost or dew. The temperatures go from cool and downright cold as the calendar progresses. I’ve always wanted a boot that would work in all of these situations. And more importantly, I wanted a boot that would give me ankle support.
This year I learned about Grub’s Boots. I can’t explain why I haven’t heard of them before, they have been making boots for over two hundred years. Hint to Grub’s – get the word out, let people know about your boots.
Grub’s Boots has trademarked self-insulating INSU-FOAM ULTRA bootie construction. It is a neutral medium between the wearer and the outside. Also they put a micro bubble structure in their boots providing more waterproofing and giving it 100% more stretch. This translates into a more comfortable boot.
They use a 2mm natural rubber shell as a minimum covering and then add a hardened toe and extra layers of rubber on the boot where it is subjected to rough conditions, such as rocks and thorns.
Their products come in many styles from light-weight to heavy duty boots. I chose the snowline 12.5 super sport sub-zero field boot. I was pleasantly surprised how comfortable they were from the first time I wore them. Not once did I have to worry about blisters or crowded toes and I wore them many consecutive days.
No tears occurred despite the miles I trudged through briers and downed logs. The reinforced rubber in the ankle area was a blessing and made wearing them a delight. Often I wore them when leather boots would have worked fine, but they were so comfortable I didn’t want to take them off.
Much of my deer hunting is done from elevated blinds so my feet aren’t moving much for hours on end. I must say on those days when the temps were in the tens I put toe warmers in the boots to keep my feet warm. Was it necessary? I guess that depends on the individual. I like to have very warm feet and don’t take chances. I will say with a minimum of movement the boots will keep your feet nice and toasty.
Believe me when I say they are the BEST rubber boot I have ever worn. You can bet I will be wearing them in the future.
By now you probably know that the Pope & Young Club has made the use of lighted nocks acceptable for animals included in its record book. I am a senior member of P&Y and voted for this change. I have shied away from lighted nocks in the past because of this restriction. Now that we can use them and have our record book animals recognized by P&Y, I wanted to try them this past fall.
I chose the Nockturnal Nock after doing a lot of reading about the various nocks on the market. Consistently the comments I read were positive about the Nockturnal nock. Some of its features I found appealing.
- They are waterproof. When dealing with electronics under hunting conditions, this is a must.
- The battery life is 20 hours once activated. That’s a great feature if you have to leave an animal overnight and can’t take up a blood trail until the following morning.
- Easy turnoff. A small switch is located in the middle of the nock so you can shoot it in practice and turn it off between shots. The switch is a little tricky to reach but I either used the tip of my practice arrow or a small twig to turn it off and that worked fine.
The nocks come in different colors and sizes. Be sure to get the one that fits your brand of arrow. Try them and next time you’ll know for sure where you hit.
I’ve written about Eagle Seeds in the past and have used them for years. Yes, I like them. This year I used the Managers Mix RR soybeans. As the name implies these beans are Roundup Ready. The benefit is obvious. After getting the ground ready by fertilizing, adding lime, if needed, and properly tilling the soil, I broadcast the beans. If you have a row planter that’s even better, you will use less seed and have fewer wasted seeds. You can lightly harrow the soil or use a culti-packer to embed the seeds in the soil. Despite your best efforts pesky weeds will likely pop up. That’s the time to spray with Roundup or the generic glyphosate alternatives. A word of caution about spraying, if you are concerned that your herbicide product may hurt the soybeans, don’t hesitate to call Eagle. I’ve found the people in the office to be very helpful.
The Eagle beans have a long root structure and are very drought resistant. Typically the beans will grow to waist height or even higher. I’ve had them grow to at least 4 feet tall, some people report even better results. Deer love the large Eagle leaves and the seed pods. Soybeans are high in protein and make great feed to keep your deer herd healthy. My experience has been that the Eagle beans stay green longer than other soybeans. This year other bean fields in my area were brown in October, the Eagle beans were green until the first week of November. Although deer will eat beans, green or brown, they prefer the green ones. Once they turn brown, the deer will return later in the season and feast on the pods. This is usually in the late season. Eagle soybeans tend to hold their seeds longer than other beans which shatter as they dry out. I know by spring my bean field will be barren.
Check their website and see which products suit your needs best. They may be a little more expensive but I think you’ll like the results you will achieve.
One of the products I used this year was produced not far from my farm. Mrs. Doe Pee is located in southeastern Iowa and is owned by Sam Collora and his wife, Judi. You may have heard Sam’s name before, he’s been on the cover of North American Whitetail several times posing with monster Iowa whitetails he’s taken.
Sam owns a herd of whitetail and elk that he uses to make his products. He prides himself in packaging quality attractant and cover-up scent that has been meticulously kept pure, fresh and undiluted.
From Sam’s brochure he offers the secret behind good natural scent lure. “When a whitetail doe is in heat, she secretes a mucous from the birth canal. As she urinates, this secreted mucous which contains the “pheromone” that attracts the bucks for mating, is picked up in the urine. We call this our “Doe in Estrus” urine.”
“Pheromones can be destroyed by heat and certain chemicals. The effectiveness of pheromones can be altered by preservative used to halt the growth of bacteria. Through much research and field testing, Sam and his staff have found keeping the urines pure, undiluted, and freshly collected allows for hunters’ greatest success. In order to deter bacterial growth, our flooring system does not allow the clean urine to be in contact with fecal material. We high pressure water wash the facility daily.”
I used a couple of his products this past year. The Land Mine, is buried in the ground and a wick is pulled out to emit the scent. Also, I used the Continuous Scrape Set which is poured on the ground in a mock scrape. It works. I had too many scrapes this year to hunt them all. And if you are in doubt about the effectiveness of his products check out some of the heads he and his wife have collected over the years. In addition to elk and deer products they also sell scent cover-up and clothes washing products. The Colloras are nice people willing to share their secrets with you to make your hunt successful. I was impressed by their products and I think you will be too. Give them a call.
Other Tried and Tested Products – My gear includes some of the tried and proven products I use year after year. They include:
I have two of them and they have traveled a lot of miles and held up to the abuse.
RazorTrick broadheads by SLICK TRICK: I love these cut on contact heads and the way they fly like a field point. Unfortunately, I learned at the ATA show that they will no longer be making them in the future. I’m glad I have an ample supply of them to last me for a while. Fortunately, Slick Trick makes several styles of great heads so I won’t have to worry once my supply is gone.
WILDLIFE RESEARCH CENTER: – it’s hard to beat their Scent Killer for hiding your scent from nosey whitetails.
MATHEWS: this past year I used a Creed. I’ll be shooting the new HTR no cam bow this year. I admit it, I’m partial to Mathews due to the quality of their products and their support of the National Archery in the Schools Program. NASP is great for introducing archery to kids.
Well that’s it for this year. I look forward to trying more new products in 2015 and reporting back to you. Be safe and maybe I’ll see you in the woods.
For more please go to: Roy K. Keefer