Reducing your Property Search

If you’re not where the deer are, you won’t shoot any.

The first “trick” in being a successful deer hunter is hunting where the deer are. If you do not have access to hunting land, then you need to get access.

A rough way to find where to get land in your state is to look at the various end of season reports on how the deer kills went this past year. Right about now you should be able to find your local outdoors magazines posting these reports.

If lots of deer, and/ or, lots of big bucks have been shot in an area, then its probably pretty good. In my experience, fishermen lie about where fish were caught, but do not lie about which county their deer are shot in; even if they are not specific about exactly where.

One thing to keep in mind about these hunting reports is that places with lots of deer killed may be more a result of their being lots of hunters in that place.

Did you know that most shark attacks occur on friday, saturday, and sunday?
This is not becasue the sharks get hungry on weekends, but is instead a result of their being more people in the water on those days.

When I look at the results of the deer killed in my state of Wisconsin I often see lots of deer killed around Dane County. This is because there are lots of deer in that county and because Dane county is home to Wisconsin’s capital of Madison. And Madison is one of the largest population centers in Wisconsin.

Lots of hunters in in one area means lots of deer killed there, and lots of big bucks.

Lots of hunters means lots of competition for deer too. That competition can be fixed by just being better than your neighbors. This isn’t too hard to do. (Read my book for help in that area.)

The bigger problem comes from having more land buying completion, and therefore higher land prices.

A wise idea, when looking for land is to pay attention to big bucks mentioned in magazines, and elsewhere, that are shot in less populous areas. I often hear of big bucks being shot in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin. This is a much smaller population than Dane county, and yet I often hear of big bucks shot in the county.

Areas that not uncommonly have big bucks have good potential to be good places to hunt. And the less populous areas can be better places to buy land than the places that have large populations.

How to Identify Good Hunters

As it turns out, there are three ways to identify good deer hunters.

The first way is to notice the guys who wear their hunting clothing outside of the woods.

“I’m a hunter, proud of it (or to cheap to buy another coat), and I don’t care about all the smells I’m adding to my hunting clothing,” they seem to say.

The next way to identify a good deer hunter is to notice how many of his hunting products have TV show logos on them. Because if you don’t have the logo of a TV show on each of your things, then you have low quality stuff. And your stuff certainly won’t attract all the deer and girls, or whiten your teeth while you sleep like stuff with TV show logos on them do.

The most important way to identify good deer hunters is by seeing if the guy has lots of stickers on his truck advertising all the companies from who he bought all of his stuff.

No truck stickers = Not a good deer hunter

That reminds me; always remember to wear hats that have the name of the company of the bow you have, or aspire to have. Otherwise I won’t know if you’re a good hunter.

Buy a New Bow

Now, as the season winds down and ends, it is a good time to buy a bow. Much like new cars, new bows come out every year. In order for the sellers of bows to make room for the new bows they need to get rid of last year’s new bows. So these retailers will sell their overstocked bows at a discount around this time of year.

You and I don’t care if our new bow is a 2013 or a 2014 model. Some new bows from each year are good, and some are bad.

So, now is the time to buy a new bow.

Actually midway through the season was probably the best time to buy a new bow because midway though the season the retailers were already dropping their prices, and yet still had lots of bows to sell.

Around now, December, many bow models may well be sold out.

It may not be available anymore, but PSE’s Brute X is a good 2013 bow ($500). It weighed too much at 4.7 pounds, but it was excellent otherwise. If you can find one, I’d recommend it. (But do throw the sight and quiver that come with the package deal away and get better versions. The Whisker Biscuit, stabilizer, and wrist strap are good though.)

brute-650

In my brief time spent setting up bows in a bow shop, I’ve heard of two guys who shot bucks with bows that I set up. And I think that both were shot with Brute X bows. (I should have asked them to send me pictures to post here, but maybe I’ll hear of more.)

I did recently happen across an interesting website that discusses bows and how they are sold.

Hunter’s Friend

Their “Bow Selection Guide” is very informative and interesting. I suggest reading the whole thing.

I particularly enjoyed reading about the comparison between bow brands; starting with this:

YOU MAY BE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF A MIND-ALTERING DEVICE: The archery industry is often plagued by a “better than your bow” mentality – as brand loyalty sometimes gets out of hand. Some bow manufacturers even seem to develop a cult-like following of shooters – who’ll openly malign any other brand of bows (just visit an online archery forum). This is unfortunate for beginning archers who’ll surely hear brand-biased advice, which may or may not be helpful (or accurate). Of course, this kind of brand bias is to be expected. In fact, the expensive process of training you to prefer one brand over another is precisely the point of most marketing campaigns.

In any case, you absolutely do not want to buy a used bow.

DO NOT BUY A USED COMPOUND BOW!

Every single used bow that I have seen to get worked on in the shop has been worse than my now 15 year old first bow.

Nearly all need new strings and cables ($120), many smell bad, many have issues, hardly any can be adjusted to fit the new owner.

“But the guy who sold it to me said that it was worth $300 and he sold it to me for $150! Isn’t that a great deal?”

Sure. But if you gave that bow to me I’d be happy to sell it for $20.

I don’t want a used, beat up, smelly, bow that does not, and will never fit me.

This past year you could have bought a Bear Encounter Package for less than $400. That cheap new bow is massively better than any ten year old bow, and still better than most five year old bows.

The only reason for which you should consider a used bow is if your best friend buys the newest bow each year and you get his last year’s model.

For any other reason, never buy a used bow. If you still want to consider doing so, may I suggest blowing that $150 on alcohol or something else instead?

Compound bows do not increase in value, their worth drops like a rock as they age. But you need a good bow and $400-$600 for just the bow, or a bow package that you’ll need to have some things replaced on will have you well sorted until you decide to buy another bow (5+ years).

Hunting vs. Everything Else

I’m pretty good at shooting hunting whitetail deer. I generally do better than everyone that I know. Excepting a few guys twice my age, I’ve shot more an bigger deer than anyone that I’ve met.

One reason for this is because I have spent more time in the woods than anyone that I know.

My dad decided long ago that he would spend his time hunting whitetail deer and catching muskies. Rather than do everything “half-assed” he decided to get good at two things only.

An awful lot of people try to catch all types of fish, hunt all kinds of animals, watch all sorts of TV, and so on.
Spending your time split amongst lots of things means that your experience in any one of them will be limited and your results will suffer.

If you only spend a few days per year doing something, then it will take you a lot of years to get any good at it.

I’d guess that I spent about as much time in a tree as the average guy does in five years. I’m getting five of their years of experience in one year. That means ten of their years of experience in two years. Very quickly my increased experience should hugely surpass the average hunter. Even if I’m not as smart, not as talented, more stubborn, etc. the vast experience that I have in the woods should give me an advantage over the average hunter.

Another way that spending your time on few rather than many hobbies improves your success is in the costs associated with participating.

Buying a rifle, and a muzzle loader, and a bow is expensive. If I also need to buy a fishing boat, a snowmobile, a motorcycle, a big tv, a big house, travel the world, etc, then the only way I can do everything is do do everything on the cheap. Most of us cannot afford to by all of the best stuff for every hobby that we have.

Buying lots of cheap stuff means we’ll end with lots of junk and nothing of quality. This will negatively affect your success. If you don’t know the name of your riflescope and I have a Swarovski on mine, then I’ll gain maybe a half hour of extra time at the beginning and ending of each day when it is too dark for you to see. Big bucks rarely appear during the day, and often appear at dawn and dusk. If I can see them and you can’t then don’t be surprised when I shoot more and bigger bucks than you.

One more problem with spreading your hobbies around is that you’ll often miss the best days.

As far as hunting and fishing goes some days are awful, many days are bad, some days are good, and a few days are awesome. The more days in the field, or on the lake, means that you’ll be more likely to hit the best days.

When its cold, windy, raining and you’re watching football, I’ll be up a tree.

Binoculars

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I don’t use binoculars while hunting deer. Part of the reason I don’t use them is because I don’t want more “stuff” in the tree with me. I can certainly appreciate the usefulness of having them.

If you are scanning a large area, (you’re not in dense enough cover for big bucks) you’ll want to see across a large distance, and binoculars are the way to go.

Waving your rifle around is dangerous and easy to see. Moving a smaller object that is tighter to yourself is less dangerous and less likely to be noticed by deer.

Seeing something in low light can be done better with good binoculars, and is harder with bad ones.



Many people do not know much about binoculars; so here you go:

The name of the game in optics is brightness; if its too dark to see, then optics are no good.

There are three ways to get brightness in binoculars: increase the lens size (let in more light), decrease the magnification (physics), and/ or increase the quality/ price.

(The eye-cups stay in for those who sport glasses and come out for those who don’t.)

The standard sizes in binoculars are 8×42 and 10×42.

The first number is the amount of magnification. An 8x magnifies the things you see through it 8 times. The objects will appear 8 times bigger and/ or 8 times closer. They also magnify any wiggle your hands have 8 times.

The advantage of 8x, over 10x, is you get more light to your eye (because of the way physics works) and you get a bigger field of view (the amount of stuff that you can see through optics).

The advantage of 10x, over 8x, is that things look bigger/ closer.

For hunting whitetail deer you want the maximum low light brightness and the quickest target acquisition (you can see more stuff with a bigger field of view).

For hunting whitetail deer get 8x binoculars. Buy 10x binoculars, maybe, if you are going to bird watch or you are going to hunt things that you expect only to see very far away (like more than 400 yards). There is not much difference in magnification between the two, and certainly not enough difference to warrant buying dimmer optics.

The second number of a binocular’s size is the diameter, in millimeters, of the lenses. Bigger lenses let in more light and are therefore brighter. Brighter is better. But size is an issue. 42mm is a standard size, but 50mm is better for brightness, and 32mm is better for carrying around.

42mm lenses seem to be the standard size, I would imagine, for a reason. So I would suggest going no smaller, unless you will be doing a lot of hiking to your hunting area and every ounce counts. Going to 50mm lenses is better if you don’t mind the extra weight.

Buy 8×42 binoculars.

How about quality?

I work part time selling bows and binoculars. I’ve looked through lots of binoculars, and I own several riflescopes to compare. My imaginary binocular store would consist of a limited number of binoculars in a range of prices to accommodate any budget.

I want to buy binoculars for around 50 dollars.

Don’t bother.

For around $100.


Leupold Yosemite 8×30


For around $200.

Vortex Diamondback 8×42

For around $350

Zeiss Terra HD 8×42

For around $500.

Many good options. Which do you like looking through the best?

For around $1000.

Save for better.

For around $2000

Swarovski SLC 8×42

I want binoculars that are as good as it gets.

Swarovski EL 8.5×42 or Swarovski EL 10×50

EL-85x42-W-B-i5006134.Image

Q&A

Are $2000-3000 binoculars worth it?

Yes.

Are they the ones you lust for?

Well…yeah. But I wouldn’t mind the Vortex Talon HD 8×42 ($500).

series_bin_talon_hd

Many people don’t like those; they’re too big and heavy.

Don’t care.

What’s the extra “focus wheel” (often near the right eye cup) for?

The dioptic adjustment is adjusted to compensate for dominant eyes or some eyes being different from its partner. Close right eye, adjust main focus wheel, close left eye, adjust dioptic, the end.

A Resumption of Posting

I haven’t posted here in a while. I was hunting deer. How would I get good at it if I spend all my time writing about it rather than doing it?

I plan on resuming my posting here (now that most people have stopped being interested in the subject until next year).

I did acquire some digital versions of some of the deer that I have shot in the past.

New interesting posts beginning tomorrow.

2nd Buck

2nd Buck

First Buck with a Bow

First Buck with a Bow

Deer Tim Gun 2007 a

Deer Tim Gun 2011