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Teresa McCullough, the owner of Lady Bowhunters on Facebook, shares her experience from this past September’s ladies hunt. Teresa and I have spent all six of the annual hunts at Double Deuce Ranch in Powersville, Missouri owned by the Helbing Family. We have shared some really great times, as well as some lows. Teresa is always encouraging the ladies who join us at the ranch to make the hunt their own and enjoy themselves. Here is Teresa’s

Ladies, if you ever have a chance to hunt at the Double Deuce Ranch, DO IT! This is an annual all ladies bow hunt. This place is absolutely AMAZING! It’s a five-star lodge with comfortable accommodations and delicious meals served family style. The Helbing family make you feel like friends from the moment you arrive. The deer are plentiful and land is breathtaking! The properties have several lakes to fish in on your downtime. We always have a fish fry with the fish that we catch on the ponds. One of the favorites is pizza night at their home that is decorated in African Safari; it’s simply beautiful!

I’ve been hunting at the ranch for six years now and I will never miss a chance of going back. I love this place and often tell people if I run away, you can find me there. Upon arrival at the Double Deuce Ranch, you will be greeted by the Helbing family, who will help you unpack your vehicle and will set you up in a room at the lodge. You can shoot your bows at the range to make sure everything is sighted in for your hunt. They take the time to show each hunter around and to show us our stands and the layout of the land and lakes. Again, it’s beautiful!

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As we all arrive and get to know each other we sit down for a home-cooked meal. The next morning, we begin our hunt. My first morning started out to be a good one. I walked to my stand that first morning in the dark, with all ten flashlights in my pack. Yes, I’m a bit chicken of the dark; but this year felt different. I wasn’t as scared. Now, mind you, I’ve been bow hunting for over 35 years and I still hate the pitch dark, but I am getting better.

As I made my way to my stand, climbed it, and got all set up waiting for first light, I began thinking back at all my hunts here. It sure put a smile on my face. As the sun peeked out, I began ranging my shots. The typical this tree, that leaf…I do this all morning because I forget my yardages. Does anyone else do this? As I sat there I saw deer legs through the trees. I watched them make their way to the food plot. I noticed three deer, one being a fawn, which now left me figuring which doe went with the fawn. As I ranged them again, and again, they made their way closer. By this time I had the big doe at forty yards, and I thought to myself, “that is close enough.” As I settled in and placed the pin on her, I squeezed my release and I let an arrow fly. She ran less than forty yards and dropped in the CRP. I knew she was down and the other two deer assured me she was where I last saw her.

I text Ben and told him I shot a doe. Ben asked, “was it a good hit?” I replied, “yes!” He said he would be there at 9:00. I got my crossbow ready to shoot again, just in case a buck stepped out, but a buck never did. Shortly, I saw the guys coming and as I sat in my stand I explained to Ben and Mike where the doe was the last I saw her. I climbed down to help in the retrieval. They found my arrow right where she stood. The arrow wasn’t covered in blood, in fact, there was very little blood, but from my past shots with a crossbow, it was the same. We began to look for blood and found a lot on the ground. We walked about five more yards and there she was. It is always nice to get your first deer of the season!

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I have been hunting over 35 years, always shooting a compound bow, but when Missouri made crossbow legal last year I decided to buy one. At first, I hated it, because I could not pull it back to cock it, my groupings were awful. After getting a new scope, custom blots and a crank to cock it, I am much more comfortable with it now. A love for hunting doesn’t mean that you or I have to shoot a compound, a recurve, a long bow, a crossbow, or a gun. It is your choice of the weapon you choose. That is not what makes us a hunter, it is YOU! All the time spent on practice, food plots, hanging stands, the list goes on. So ladies, don’t get discouraged, we all miss and sometimes wound an animal. That’s not what we want, but it happens. Get back out there and keep at it. Never let anyone say you can’t do something because YOU CAN! We are all hunters and proud!


Next year’s hunt is already on the calendar, the dates are September 13-19, 2018, the hunt is $1,100 and includes lodging, meals, and all the pond fishing your heart desires. The license is $225 and includes a buck, a doe, and two turkeys. A 50% deposit is all it takes to hold your spot. There are eight women signed up for this hunt with a few spots available. If you are interested or need additional information, please contact Nancy Jo Adams at turkeygypsy@gmail.com. Come join us for an amazing hunt and a lifetime of memories.

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I have had the opportunity to share hunting camp several times with Christy Turner. We share memories of two hog hunts in Mississippi at Bubba Ledbetter’s hunting camp; the first annual and second annual ladies hog hunt.  We shared turkey hunting camp in Oklahoma hosted by Carlee Smith. Tommie Lee Clanton hosted a deer hunt in Mississippi that I snuck in on; what great memories we have. This hunt was not any different. Here is Christy’s story.


Dear Diary…

It all started Wednesday morning, right after I had dropped my kids off at school. I made a mad dash home trying to do a hundred things at once so I could get on the road. I was sweeping floors, washing dishes, putting up clean laundry, bought extra toilet paper, bread, milk, cereal, dog food, and cat food. There! The husband, kids, and pets should have the essentials for the week that I will be gone. Finally, over packing the truck with all the hunting gear I own. I cranked the engine, plug the address into the GPS, and in eight hundred and four miles I should reach my destination. I turned the air-conditioning on full blast as I start down my driveway; because now I am a hot mess. Henderson County Texas was in the mid 90’s already before noon. I’m ready to travel north, and to hunt a Monster Missouri Buck!

My cell phones GPS got me all the way to Powervilles Missouri and informed me I had arrived at my destination, 140th street. I knew I must have a little further to go down 140th. I took a left on what looked like a hidden driveway. I wasn’t sure if I was pulling up to someone’s house or driving down a caliche road. Since I didn’t pull up to a residence, I just followed the road around corners, up and down hills, across bridges and railroad tracks. At the top of one of the hills to the left was a black pipe entrance that read, “Double Deuce Ranch come as guests and leave as friends.” I finally made it!” I pulled down the long driveway with rolling pastures and fields on either side.

I was greeted as soon as I stepped out of the truck by Ben and his brother Jacob. Then by their father and owner Mike. They were super friendly and polite and insisted on grabbing all those bags I packed and had me follow them into the lodge. Inside was Mike’s wife, Karen, and the other six ladies that I would be sharing camp with. We all introduced ourselves and gave each other hugs. This was the beginning of our lifelong memories being made on our new adventure together.

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My alarm clock went off that next morning, and I jumped straight up as if it were Christmas morning and I was five years old. Everyone was already in the kitchen sipping coffee, and we were all ready to head out for our first hunt. The excitement and positive energy in the room were contagious and so refreshing to absorb. Ben dropped me off at the gate that leads down to the tree stand I would be sitting in. I didn’t even need to turn on my flashlight I could see the freshly mowed path with the moonlight. I walked straight to my stand and climbed up and got all situated. I had taken my binoculars and rangefinder out of my backpack and had them sitting on the seat next to me. The sun was just starting to come up, but it was still too dark for my rangefinder to pick up any distance or for me to even read the range.

 

As I looked up from my rangefinder, a buck appeared looking right at me. I was straining so hard in the darkness to make out if he was a mature and legal buck. As I was squinting and straining my eyes, he began to walk straight to me! I was frozen in place as he walked all the way to the bottom of my ladder trainbridge (2)stand and looked right up at me! I was able to go, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight and possibly a nine pointer and definitely a legal buck to shoot. As I sat there still frozen in place, he walked maybe ten yards away and turned broadside. Oh my gosh, could this get any better for the most perfect shot ever.

My mind was running a hundred miles an hour. What should I do? This was a nice buck, my very first hunt in Missouri; I had the whole week left to hunt. Don’t pass up a buck on the first hunt that you would shoot on the last, ran through my mind. I decided to make a decision, and I did not shoot. I just sat there staring back at him and thinking how amazing this hunt was already. It seemed like 15 minutes of us staring at each other motionless, he turned his head and walked off into the woods. I could finally move and take a deep breath. I text Ben telling him how excited I was, and that I had just seen a great buck. The sun finally appeared big and bright, and I had several doe and fawns walk in front of me. It was a great first hunt at the Double Deuce!

filmbuckEach time I went out to a stand, there was a lot of action going on. I had seen a monster buck through my binoculars, but he ranged in at a hundred and fifty-seven yards. I did not doubt in my mind he was a shooter buck! My heart started pounding, even though he was that far away. I was hoping and praying he would make an entrance and walk past me in the bottom of the creek that I was hunting. He never did, but the image of him plays over and over in my mind. I passed up several nice eight pointers within twenty yards of me because I was hopeful to see that monster buck again. I kept thinking to myself, I can shoot a nice eight pointer back in Texas. This was Missouri I was hunting, and I wanted a monster Missouri buck!

My last evening hunt, that phrase came back to me; Don’t pass up a deer on the first morning that you would shoot on your last hunt. Maybe I should have shot that nice eight on the first morning hunt. But you know if I would have that monster buck would have walked out in front of me at twenty yards and stood for fifteen minutes broadside, and I would have probably cried. Nothing had come out in front of me, and I could hear several Turkey going to roost for the evening. I thought man, my last hunt and I’m not even going to see a deer; I had so much action all week.

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Then all of a sudden through the window of the trees I see two, yes two monster bucks walk out of the tree line. My heart is already pounding before I even get my binoculars up. I can just tell they are shooter bucks without a doubt! My face mask was getting in the way, and I thought I just need to range them instead of taking my time to look at them through the binoculars. Seventy-six yards, the biggest of the two is in front at a steady walk up the hill. The second one stopped to graze for a few minutes. I was getting all prepared, hoping they would make their way to me or even come in behind me, I was ready. Finally, the second buck walked up the hill out of my view, and neither of them made their way to me.

I got down from my stand as it had gotten dark while I was waiting on those bucks to turn and make their way to me. I guess they kept going straight. My knees felt weak, and my heart was still full of excitement of just seeing those monster bucks. Ben picked me up and I learned that Rebecca shot a good eight pointer! We were on our way to pick her and her buck up! Rebecca made a perfect shot, and it was an easy recovery of her deer. I was so happy to be there to share in her success and excitement.

selfieMy last night in the Double Deuce lodge made me sad that I was going to have to leave in the morning. Mike, Karen, Ben, Jacob and the staff were so amazing. I felt so thankful that I got to meet this wonderful family. Everyone was so kind and hardworking. They were so respectful to us ladies and made sure we were well taken care of. I think I gained ten pounds from the delicious homemade food we ate all week. I am so grateful that Nancy Jo told me about this opportunity, it has been several years since I shared hunting camp with her and it was so nice to visit with her and catch up. Meeting the other ladies in camp, I know I have made lifelong friends. Getting to know each of the ladies on this hunt was very profound. I feel like God gave me this opportunity to meet some really amazing people and each one of them have truly inspired me. This wasn’t just a deer hunt; this was a rejuvenating, inspiring, blessed week that I will have with me for the rest of my life.

With a very grateful and full heart,
Christy Turner

 


 

 

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A beautiful double rainbow over Double Deuce Ranch.

My favorite hunt of the year has come and gone…but not without a rollercoaster of highs and lows. It started off with my gear bag ending up in Chicago, Illinois. As I was the last passenger at the luggage carousel in the Kansas City Airport watching one lone burgundy suitcase circle around for its eleventh time, I got a sinking feeling. I was fortunate of grabbing my Americase off of the carousel on its first pass; it safely held my Ten Point Crossbow. Raquel and Kim were going to be landing in the next few minutes in another terminal and I needed to let them know that I would be a little late getting to the rental car counters since I had to go to the Baggage Claim Office.

I took my iPhone out and it was off, definitely fully charged, but had no power. I could not get it to come on so I plugged it into my SnowLizard charger…NOTHING! I sat at a bench for a few minutes just to see if the iPhone would miraculously turn on. As I sat there, I thought to myself, “What a way to start a hunting trip.” As I sat there trying not to panic, I thought to myself, “I have my crossbow, my backpack that I have with me held my boots, my rangefinder, my binoculars, and my Ozonics. All I would need is pants and a shirt if it came to that.” I finally decided that my iPhone was not going to come on.

That is when I thought about my iPad, but without a iPhone hotspot, I had no internet service. I NEVER use public WiFi in places like airports and hotels; I just DON’T do it for good reason. I had to do the dreadful and sign on to free airport Wifi so I figured I would do it as quickly as possible. I sent a brief message to both ladies letting them know what I was dealing with, that I would be a few minutes longer, and for them to go ahead and meet me at the rental car area. I was successful in getting that message to them and I quickly disconnected from the dreadful, unsecured free Wifi. To make a long story short, the claim office was able to locate my bag, get it re-routed and it was promised to be delivered to me in Powersville later that evening. It was delivered as promised and what a relief when I finally had it in my hands.

After a delicious dinner and visiting with everyone back at the lodge I retreated to my room to prepare my backpack and gear for the next morning; our first morning of hunting. I was going to my favorite piece of ground and I was hunting a stand in the hardwoods. Last year I had a raccoon visit me in my stand with her baby in tow. She nearly came to the top step of the ladder before I got her attention and she slowly backed down; scolding me for taking her seat. This year, she left me TWO big piles of raccoon scat on the tree stand seat.

After getting settled in, I had such a peaceful morning as the sun started to rise. The first deer that came by were two spotted fawns. Nearly an hour passed before two mature does, two fawns, and two yearlings came to my stand, seeking acorns and eating tender browse. The fawns frolicked as the other deer fed. Finally, one of the does notice something didn’t look the same in the tree and she came closer to investigate. I was wearing my HECs suit and had my Ozonics on so I made sure not to make eye contact or move. She finally went back to feeding after circling the entire tree base. After of those deer moved out I had two other deer come through at varying times, one that actually bedded downwind of my stand in the high weeds. At 10:30 a.m. I decided to come down and I did so without disturbing the deer bedded just 30 yards away. Eleven deer my first morning, maybe my luck was changing.

img_3101-2After spending time at the lodge with everyone and eating a hearty brunch. I decided I would head back to my stand at 4:00 p.m., so I had plenty of time for a quick nap beforehand. When I woke up, I could hear a few people downstairs getting ready to head back out. I grabbed a bottle of water for my backpack and I was off to my stand. This afternoon I was going to sit in a stand on a newly placed greenfield. It had been several years since I sat in this stand, but I was anxious to see how well the deer used the new green field next to a huge Ag field planted in corn. I was not in the stand an hour when the first deer visited the field; a young 4-point. About thirty minutes later, a doe and fawn came to the field, followed by another doe ten minutes behind.  About 45 minutes before sunset, I had a young 4-point and a small 8-point come to the field. These two bucks were feeling their youth and started tussling in the field, sparring. I took a few minutes to video them. I put my camera up and decided I needed to sit still and really pay attention to the last bit of daylight.

img_3755-1-e1506069532288.pngIt was a good thing that I did, as I was staring at the wall of corn in front of me when I spotted movement on the trail to the right of me. A nice 8-point with good mass was walking up the trail and he stopped to eat clover just 15-yards from me. He was a nice buck, but this buck just didn’t give me that “OH SHIT FACTOR” so I decided to slip my iPhone out of the top pocket of my backpack at my knee and get a picture and video of him. As soon as I had a little clip of him and a few photos, I sent one of the still photos to Mister. I was holding my iPhone above my backpack pocket until I confirmed that the text was sent and Mister had received it.

As I was sliding the iPhone down into my backpack, I heard breathing under me. At first, it took me a second to realize what it was because I have never heard a deer breathing like that while in the stand 15-feet in the air. Then movement caught my eye, focused on the object, and immediately I thought to myself, “OH SHIT!” I instinctively placed my hand on my crossbow and moved it over in front of me as quiet as I could. That buck walked directly under and straight out in front of me. There was one limb hanging down and he was standing behind it. That gave me plenty of time to put my crossbow where I needed it, and switch the safety off. I shouldered my crossbow and got the scope situated properly. The buck stepped out from behind the branch as he turned to the left. When he cleared the branch and was standing textbook broadside, he saw the blob in the tree, the same blob that all of the deer had stopped at momentarily before going right back to doing what they were doing. When he glanced up, I could instantly tell he had a wide rack and he was definitely several inches outside of his ears. I focused back on the spot I needed to place the shot at, and I slowly pulled the trigger.

The sound of the impact seemed perfect, the buck and kick-out only provided visual proof that the shot hit the mark. I felt I did everything right and didn’t rush the shot. I watched the buck as he ran across the green field and went into the woods, I mentally marked the spot. There was a sound similar to a buck crashing into a heap just inside the leafy, briar thick woods. The 8-point I took a picture of and had text to Mister was standing just off the green field, looking into the woods where the buck I shot had entered. I quickly picked up my iPhone and called Mister:

Mister: “Hello.”

Me (whispering): “Did you get my text?”

Mister: “The one of the buck that you said didn’t give you the Oh Shit Factor?”

Me: “Yeah. BUT…..THE ONE I JUST SHOT DID!!”

Mister: “No way!”

Me: “Yep! He is a nice one with a split G2 and I believe a little junk. It happened pretty quick.”

Mister: “Did you get a good shot on him?”

Me: “I did everything right, heard the impact, he bucked up and ran off. I marked the spot where he went in the woods and I am pretty sure I heard him crash. I have a buck and doe on the green field that are still staring in that direction.”

Mister: “Good! I am excited for you.”

Me: “I have to text Ben.”

Mister: “Keep me updated.”

Me: “Hopefully I will be sending you a photo shortly.”

The 8-point was still standing there looking into the woods and remained there until I had all my gear gathered up and I was coming down the ladder. He finally ran off in the opposite direction with the doe following him. I felt pretty confident the buck was just inside the woods based on the actions of that 8-point buck and what I heard from the stand. When I had spoken to Ben, one of the guides, I told him to take his time because he was busy going around picking up the ladies to take them back to the lodge. About 30 minutes later, I saw headlights from the side-by-side. Ben, Jacob, and Caleb all jumped out of the cart as it rolled to a stop. I showed them the photo of the buck that I ha text to Mister and Jacob asked, “The buck you shot was bigger than this one?” I said, “Yes, and he had at least one split G2 and the other G2 is odd as well but I didn’t get a good look at it. I did, however, get a good look at him when he looked up at me before placing the shot and he is well outside his ears, but he does not have as much mass as this 8-point.” Ben and Jacob looked at each other and I think it was Ben that said, “We don’t have one like that on camera.” I showed them where the buck went into the woods. We started walking the green field and Caleb found the first blood. Within seconds we were on the trail.

We walked along the edge of the creek with me stopping and standing at the last blood to mark it for the guys. We found everything from droplets, to puddles, to piles of gooey thick blood with a matter in it. It wasn’t but 15-minutes when we came to the area where the buck crossed the creek; ironically in the steepest area he could, passing up several really easy spots to cross. Ben marked the crossing by hanging his ball cap on a tree limb. As we were standing there, they were shining their flashlights across the creek when one of them stopped on something that looked like weeds moving. I quickly realized it was the tips of the buck’s antlers. The buck was laying down and you could tell by the movement of the tips of his antlers that it was struggling to breathe with short breaths. At one point, it turned its head back as if licking its side.

“This is where we all realized
I had
made one huge mistake!” 

This is where we all realized I had made one huge mistake! We were standing 20-yards across the creek from a buck that seemed to be on its last air, bedded down, broadside to us, and my crossbow was sitting on the ground back at the side-by-side. With my mind thinking that the buck had crashed and would be expired just inside the woods, I didn’t even think about recocking my crossbow and carrying it in just in case we found the buck still alive, which was now the case. Ben told Jacob that we needed to go retrieve the crossbow quickly. We were about 150-yards from where my crossbow was at. As we got to it, Jacob got a text from Ben telling us to hurry because the buck was moving. When we returned, Jacob and Ben were on the move after the buck and they told Caleb and me to stay put.

They trailed the buck along the creek and tree line until the blood splatter ran thin and they reached the property line. They marked the spot and returned to us. We had one big issue working against us. This adjoining property was leased by out of state hunters and we could not search for the buck on that property until all the hunters were off the property. Being opening weekend, this would be Monday morning. In all fairness, this was bad for me but understandable. It was not fair to tromp all over the property that out of state hunters spent good money to hunt and especially on opening weekend. So now all there was to do was wait, and a long wait it was.

“A beautiful wide 12-point with split G2s and a kicker off of its right brow tine.”

img_3123-2Jacob checked the game camera that was on the green field since the buck ran right out in front of it after the shot. The camera did not get a photo of the buck crossing the green field but there was a photo from two nights earlier of the buck, up close and personal. It was definitely the buck because Ben had noticed it had a kicker off of its right brow tine. A beautiful wide 12 point with split G2s and a kicker off of its right brow tine. All I could do for two solid days was pray we found him on Monday morning and wait patiently. Whew, that was the LONGEST two days ever!

I went out one afternoon to turkey hunt and I stayed at the lodge the rest of the hunt, one afternoon I got to help make grizzly bear poppers for the group made from the grizzly bear Mike Helbing had shot in Alaska the week prior. These grizzly poppers were delicious!

 

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Mike Helbing’s beautiful Grizzly Bear harvested in Alaska.

 

As Murphy’s Law would have it, it rained twice during the weekend. Mid-morning we went out and walked the property, sticking close to the woods and creek line; we found NOTHING. Monday afternoon, it rained, but Mike got an inkling that maybe the buck made it through the adjacent property and could easily be on another small 80-acre parcel so we headed out again. We walked, and walked but found no sight of the buck or even a buzzard for that matter.

“I was heartbroken, defeated,
all of the air was knocked out of me.”

I was heartbroken, defeated, all of the air was knocked out of me. Not only was I feeling this way because it was a shame that we could not retrieve a buck of that caliber, but I was sad that I had inflicted pain on an animal that if it did not perish, it would suffer until it either perished or healed. That is a horrible feeling and leaves you numb. I really felt I did everything right. I felt the shot was good and the buck responded how so many before had that are now hanging on my wall at home. I was confused and numb, emotionally exhausted but I couldn’t wallow in my low point. I just couldn’t, I had other hunters at this hunt and I needed to suck it up, put on a good face and enjoy what was left of the 6th Annual Ladies Hunt at Double Deuce Ranch.

We had an amazing time, as usual, and there were several deer shot and processed and packed up for their trip home, including a really nice buck. I am so proud and happy for these ladies that harvested and I thoroughly enjoyed sharing camp with them. Most are returning next year for the 7th annual hunt–it’s a tradition now for many of us ladies.

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I can only learn from this experience, lay it down, and look forward to the next hunt which is already nearly booked. This was my first buck shot that I didn’t retrieve, as if that isn’t hard enough; it had to be a beautiful wide rack 12-point with split G2s and some other character–that is a hard pill to swallow. Maybe if he didn’t perish, they will see him again on game camera and put my mind at ease.

My double G2s at Double Deuce Ranch….a full hand of deuces, I guess that is only a winning hand in poker. Sigh!


Mister and I attended the QDMA Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana last week and, as usual, took in all the knowledge we could from the seminars, enjoyed seeing friends, and dined on some great Cajun cuisine. The QDMA Convention was intertwined with the Louisiana Sportsman Show being held at the Dome.

Friday we visited the expo before the floor got busy with attendees. We found a few products to field test and a few to take to the field with us this fall, the Chameleon Blind, Texas Wildlife Feeders, and the new Sitka Gear ladies line. It was nice to walk around the expo before it got too busy, however…it also was the perfect environment to have had “too” much time to stop and ponder on a big purchase.

As we walked our first isle and took a turn, there it was, in all its GLORY!! It was like a beacon was shining down on it. It was at that moment that it “spoke” to me. Yep, loud and clear…while every noise in that huge dome went silent, it was like French horns and harps played softly in the back ground as the glimmer on the “Metallic Titanium” danced like fairy dust in the air. I was speechless….only for a moment, of course.

1Right there on the corner, sat a 2017 Kawasaki Mule Pro-FX Ranch Edition and I felt like I just had to have it. It was begging to be named, to come live in Alabama, and join the ranks of our adventures. I could have sworn it blinked its LED lights slightly, just enough for me to notice, like Herbie the Love Bug did in the movie. Did it…wait, what, did it just….? It was almost like it cast a spell on me–pleading to take Hank the HuntVe’s place in the shop.

Hank the HuntVe……OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASkreeeeechhhh…. HANK the HUNTVE! Aw man, bittersweet. The memories this cart has shared over the years. The hunts we have shared together with so many riding around on Hank the HuntVe. The wildlife we have snuck up on in Hank. The turkey that we closed the distance on without those wise birds ever knowing we were hunting those woods. Could it be it was time to part ways with Hank the HuntVe…upgrade to more of a workhorse?

101_0467Could it be it was time to part ways with Hank the HuntVe…upgrade to more of a workhorse? This new cart was a WORK HORSE…what a bed it had on it. The salesman told us we could put 1,100 pounds of feed sacks in the bed of it…ELEVEN HUNDRED POUNDS!! It has a sealed stash box! Two cup holders! Still pretty plain from others that sported stereos, speakers, and tons of other features we wouldn’t need for farming and hunting. I sat on the seat…the passenger seat of course…WOW! I could have sworn it already had my butt indentions memorized. I even heard it whisper its name to me…more on that later.

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But, as excited as I was about the possibility of getting a new work horse….there was Hank….Hank the HuntVe. So, as I sit here thinking about advertising and parting ways with Hank the HuntVe and as we discuss its history with a new possible buyer, a flood of emotions, memories, and many miles of woods across the nation run through my mind. And, although it is not a done deal and we haven’t signed on the dotted line, my thoughts swirl as I say under my breath, “IT HAS BEEN A FUN RIDE, HANK….”

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Our trip started off with a low tire when we left home this morning. Cletus had evidentially picked up a bolt on a job site the previous day and we were not going to be able to make the one-hour commute into work without adding some air until we could get Cletus by Don Duncan’s All-American Tire. Nathan Woodring quickly assessed the situation, located and removed the bolt, patched the Cooper S/T Maxx-Armor-Tek3 tire, put it back on Cletus in record time. It was a relief that Mister found the bolt and the computer on Cletus told us we had an issue before we started out on this trip.

I can’t say that the workday crept…it was 3:30 p.m. when I finally was able to take a minute to evaluate the amount of work I had left to do versus the amount of time I had left in the “concrete jungle.” The last 1.5 hours flew by! As Cletus’ diesel motor turned over and started purring, we found ourselves strategically placing the last few items we had left to load in the cab of the truck. Snacks directly behind the console, bag of ice in the cooler behind my seat, a roll of paper towels behind the driver seat headrest, my computer bad at my feet…it all becomes second nature when you have shared over 450,000 miles on the road hunting together over the last 10 years.

The fancy box in the dash where the crazy lady lives!

I plugged in our destination into the square box mounted in the dash, Big T Motel in Tarkio, Missouri, and the “crazy lady that lives in that box” politely told us that we would reach our destination 14 hours from the current time. We were on our way!

One of our favorite authors, James Patterson.

 

 

 
I have spent many hours in the passenger seat typing, editing, uploading photos and even paying bills, shopping on Amazon. Some time in this 14 hour stretch, I have some typing for a women’s boot article that needed to be completed. But first, i was responsible for the entertainment of the evening. I put an audiobook on, James Patterson’s 11th Hour, and cranked up the sound and we were settled in for the long haul.

 

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One of our favorite snacks on the road; Club Crackers, squeeze cheese, & Wisconsin Beef snack sticks. 

After a stop for fuel at the Love’s truck stop, it was time for a snack. We have eaten many meals in the cab or on the tailgate of our truck–I have to admit, we have shared some of our favorite meals together there. Tonight, captain wafers, cheddar can cheese and jerky snack sticks. Okay, maybe not the healthiest of all snacks but surely much better than some of the alternatives while on the road.

Catching up with friends on social media is probing that this unseasonably warm weather is putting a damper on deer movement. We can only pray that we made the right decisions on the dates we picked and have chosen some good ground to hunt. This is what makes Do-it-Yourself hunts exciting; you never know what will unfold on the trip. As we made our way through Nashville, I can feel my shift at the wheel coming up in a few hours so I better catch me a nap. If you are hunting this weekend/week, good luck to you, safe travels and remember to ALWAYS wear a safety harness.


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Researching on Google Earth, land maps and other mapping apps.

We were really disappointed that we didn’t make the Kansas draw in our favorite unit for this fall. It didn’t take but half a day of sulking about it for us to come up with PLAN B. We got the calendar down off the wall, pulled up Google Earth on the computer, and the Missouri Department of Conservation website and started brainstorming. There was a long weekend coming up and if we were going to hunt unknown area and if we were planning for success, it had to be scouted.

Narrowing down our search to the northwest counties of Missouri, Mister researched, gathered information about each area from social media, maps and from MDC personnel–the research was done and now it was time to gather our maps and data and hit the road over Labor Day weekend and do some scouting.

 

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Confined to the cab of the truck…but I am on the mend.

Unfortunately, I was not much help to Mister with the scouting. I was on the mend from a torn ligature from the bottom my hamstring that attached just below the front of my knee on my right leg. I had a brace; which quickly was no help after extended walking because my muscle fatigued and I felt I was having to do struggle harder just to climb the sloping hills of the first 5,000-acre property that we looked at. After a few stops and a couple leg brace adjustments, I told Mister that I felt I was doing my leg more harm than good since it was just recently starting to feel much better–either from rest and icing or from the flood of anti-inflammatory medicine I was taking. The fact that I was less than a week from leaving for the 5th Annual Double Deuce Ranch Ladies Archery Hunt also played a major factor in my decision to sit out on the rest of the scouting. Being confined to Cletus was the perfect opportunity for me to do a little research on local hotels/motels, laundromats, grocery stores, and gas stations; and make a few calls.

 

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Checking Google Maps, paper maps and after scouting the first hunting area. 

We started this trip with five areas of interest and we narrowed it down to three. Ultimately, we were really impressed with two of the three areas. I was extremely excited about one that we stopped at…I actually saw the largest deer tracks I have ever personally witnessed. I have seen hog tracks this large but the track was actually almost as large as my entire hand and just as wide. Not just one set of tracks, this buck had laid down a trail in that particular area. The area was nestled between a soybean field and a corn field. Granted, the movement of these deer will change anywhere from slightly to drastically after the crops were harvested and the rut kicked in–but I knew what area I wanted to be in.

 

 

 

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Some of our most memorable meals have been in the cab of the truck or on the tailgate.

We stopped at the town closest to the areas we had chosen to hunt and stayed at the only motel in town, the Big T Motel. The motel being older and limited to less than a dozen rooms, I made sure to book our room in advance for our hunting trip. I did the research, found a not so local processor for several reasons. First, with limited time, it only makes sense to have someone else do the labor so that we could be back out in the field hunting and doing some photography and filming. Secondly, because earlier this year Alabama enacted a ban on the import of deer carcasses from states where Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been confirmed. If we were planning on mounting a buck if we were successful, the deer needed to be completely capped out and the skull plate with antlers only. Unless European mounting and then it needed to be completely cleaned. That was going to take the expertise of someone else leaving us more time to scout, hunt, and film. Everything we needed was right there within easy access: lodging, fuel, grocery store, and a few restaurants.

The scouting was done, the motel booked and we were on our drive home with a plan in place. Next, the washing, drying, and packing begins…

 

 

 


The Archery Trade Association Show is always an exciting show to attend for the media. We get a first-hand look at some of the years new releases in the archery/bowhunting world. This year was no different. I found everything from new crossbow cases, technology, electronics, hunting clothes, scent destroyers…you name it, it was there on the show floor.

I had so many favorites that I found and have many of those promised for future product reviews that I cannot wait to share with you. Some of these products will not release until late spring…and the anticipation is killing me. I will be sharing any published works right here on my blog in the coming months.

A sneak peek of a few of the items I will be sharing:

C280-Front-500x500The Lakewood Products Drop-In Crossbow Case is going to replace the humongous and somewhat cumbersome crossbow case that I currently own. The Drop-In Crossbow Case is a convenient, top-loading, stand-up design case that conveniently fits when packing. The soft-sided hard case offers maximum protection to your crossbow with designated areas for a loaded quiver and 18 additional bolts. The case measures 11.5″D x 37″L x 26.25″H and incorporates built-in wheels for easy transportation. This case is airline approved with zipper tabs that allow for a lock for secure travel. Made in USA with a Lifetime Guarantee. The case has an MSRP starting at $299.

ironMan14I hunted with a crossbow this season because of a shoulder issue and found it somewhat troublesome in un-cocking the bow each evening after the day’s hunt. Having to travel with our practice target in the back of the truck, unloading it to un-cock my crossbow, loading it back up for the next day. My problem is solved with the BIGShot Targets Iron Man 14. The Iron Man 14 measures 14″ X 14″ X 8″ and weighs 14 pounds. The triple compressed military fiber and ever-last nylon target face is rated at 450 fps for crossbows.  The Iron Man 14 is perfect for travel when a practice shot is critical in making sure your crossbow is still on and to discharge your bolt at the end of the hunt. The BIGShot Targets Iron Man 14 has an MSRP of $34.99.

Muck Boots ArcticThe new Muck Boot Company Ladies Arctic Hunter boot in Realtree Xtra definitely was of interest to me because of the issue that most women complain about not having enough calf room once they tuck their pant leg in during wet terrain or rainy conditions. The mid-calf design makes it possible to comfortably tuck in pant legs while hunting. As with all Muck Boot Company boots, the product is made quality materials and designed with the outdoor enthusiast in mind. The Arctic Hunter has an extended rubber exterior for durability in the field and 5mm of neoprene lined with warm fleece. The boot incorporates a dual density EVA midsole and slip-resistant rugged outsole for a comfortable and secure fit. The boot has a 10″ height with a back pull-on tab. For the ladies that don’t like pink on their camo, the Muck Boot Company Arctic Hunter only has a slight splash of pink on it.

Cirrus Hunt Vape TechnologiesThe trend of using electronics in the field is ever growing and it was evident by many of the new products I found on the showroom floor. One that got a lot of attention and was unique in its own nature is the Cirrus Hunt Vape Technologies Wind Indicator. The patent pending design detects the slightest wind or thermal currents with an easy to operate, one push, to expel a puff true vapor into the air. The small, lightweight unit requires a minimal amount of movement to operate and replacement cartridges are available. The unit is USB rechargeable and one cartridge holds thousands of puffs. This product will not be available on the market until later this quarter and an MRSP was unavailable at the time of this writing. Watch the video below to see how the Cirrus Wind Indicator works and to find out more information about this product.

Another vape product that was getting a lot of attention is the WyndScent Electronic Vapor Hunting Scent . Check out the informative video below for all the information and features of this product. This is a product I am looking forward to taking to the field with me next fall.

https://vimeo.com/147635937

There were so many fantastic and useful products that I found and many that I will be writing about in the coming months as some of them release or as I am able to field test the products personally. Stay tuned to my blog for publication announcements and information about these great products and a plethora of other great products released at #ATA2016.

All photos and video are the property of the rightful owner and used within this writing as reference only in efforts of product exposure for these owners/companies.  Per the guidelines of the Federal Trade Commission, the products reviewed in this published material is an endorsement and the writer may have been compensated by “in-kind” or monetary payment to review the product. 

 


Driving up to Mountain View Plantation was amazingly peaceful and beautiful, the winding roads, the fall leaves, and the creeks reflecting the colors of fall. The scenery made me forget about how anxious I was to hunt, I couldn’t wait to see everyone and have a weekend of hunting and to try my skills at the Outdoor Competition that our outfitter had set up. I had been practicing but not nearly enough.

I pulled up to the lodge and immediately was struck by the view of the mountains than the feeling that I could totally live at this awesome place. Even before I got out of my car I saw the 5 station shotgun range, the 3D archery range, and the giant fire pit. I knew this weekend was going be amazing!

The Cheaha Mountains in the distance make for a beautiful view from the back porch of the MVP lodge.

I opened the door to the lodge and walked straight into a picture perfect lodge. Everything made out of natural stained wood, pool table, fireplace, deer on every wall……I must be sleeping or dead cause dang if this ain’t my kinda heaven!
Everyone started to get in and we all packed our stuff into our rooms. Bunk beds with pine cone bedspreads, it was a page out of a catalog!

The interior of the lodge was beautifully decorated with natural wood, wild game mounts, a cozy fireplace surrounded by comfortable seating and even a pool table.

We gear up and hit the stands, I was dropped off first and walked to my ladder stand overlooking a huge food plot with deer sign everywhere. The sun set on my hunt with no sightings of deer but the evening had just begun. Everyone came back to the lodge, some seeing multiple deer but no shots made. We sat down to dinner for the first of many amazing meals cooked by Stephanie.

Next was gathering around the campfire to hear stories of big black bear and cougars that roam not too far away. Perfect for making me paranoid for the next mornings dark walk to the stand.

The fire pit was a welcoming spot to share stories and laughs after the days hunt.

Early morning and the lodge is busy with everyone getting ready to go. We load up in the dark and get dropped off. Me again being dropped off first, in the most dark. I turn on my headlamp to red, preserving my vision and less scary to deer. I am walking slowly, debating how exactly I will defend myself from black bears in the dark with a bow. Just as I am about to turn to the path to my stand, the bush in front of me explodes and a creature emerges, running through the leaves! My heart is racing! I am ready to fight of the…..scan with the light, scan with the light, where is this thing and what the heck is it???

I see its eyes glowing red from my light, its in the road, its…its….its got long ears and a fluffy tail, its a dang rabbit!

I get in my stand, its still dark and wait for the sun to come up because I am freezing. I didn’t pack my cold weather gear because the temperature wasn’t bad but the wind was trying to freeze me to the tree. A small hawk almost lands on me but when I saw him flying at me I turned my head and he “put the brakes on” and had his wings out trying to back pedal. He landed on the tree to the left of me and tried to figure out what I was and so I squeaked at him and he flew a little closer. After deciding I wasn’t food he flew off, that was a great experience!

Not long after, a spike pauses at the edge of the field and walks out to eat. I wait for the next deer to come, as the spike was in shooting range. He ate for a bit and then walked off to the woods on the opposite side as silently as he came in.
No other deer came that morning so I climbed down to sit in the sun till my ride came.

Lunch was amazing and then it was time for the Women’s Outdoor challenge. We divided into groups and I went to the 5 stand shotgun first and got about 50% of my shots, not bad for my second time firing a shotgun. Next it was archery and I put the wrong pin on the pig and missed but made up for it by shooting a dead on bulls-eye on the deer. Next was bait casting and the were so small and cute compared to my giant catfish ones, it was an adjustment! I didn’t do well, got one in the circle. Finally it was time for the last round, shooting a tiny .22 with iron sites. It was hard and I aimed way too high and missed. Scopes are my friends.

Points wise I got second place and it was a ton of fun, I did a lot better than I thought that I would. I can’t wait to go again next year!

We all loaded up and went for our second afternoon hunt, I asked to be moved since everyone was seeing more deer than me. Unfortunately I forgot that I had switched to my field tips and didn’t bring broad heads with me. I had to hike back down for a total of a half mile of hill (both ways). I was asked by one of the guides if I had them and I thought that I did but the nap I took erased my memory. It had happened to a lady on the hunt the previous week so I feel slightly less bad about myself. I was able to get them on the phone before my phone died and they came and I ran in the lodge and they took me to a different place where I ended up seeing two large does cross the field but they were about 100 yards away.

Night came and more good food and fun around the fire. We found out that Kat had made an amazing shot on a doe at last light and they were able to find it easily after they came back and warmed up a bit just to make sure that they didn’t track too soon. Kat will have some great venison to eat and I can’t wait to hunt with her in the future.

Saturday night football got everyone in a good mood as we talked about the deer we saw and the days competition. We also got to re-fletch some arrows using Bohning equipment that Nancy Jo brought. Great stories were told that had my face hurting from laughing.

The final hunt morning I went out to the first stand from the night before and didn’t see any deer, just squirrels doing noisy squirrel construction.

After lunch of moose hotdogs(courtesy of my husband and his massive Alaskan moose) I went and practiced more 3D shooting and did some skeet but my shoulder was sore from shooting the day before that I only shot a few times.

For the last afternoon hunt I asked to be put at my second stand from the night before because it over looked a food plot and a corn field that still had some ears. The temperature was perfect but slowly cooled down, almost no wind but it was in my favor.
Suddenly I felt a chill come over my whole body and I knew that something was coming, sure enough to my right out popped a young doe followed by 3 more and the last one being the biggest. They were walking and eating getting perfectly set up for me to make a shot if they had just walked a little bit farther but the squirrels started barking at them so they walked into the corn field.
I could see the corn moving when they were eating the ears and they slowly made their way out and right in front of me just before last light, the largest dow was out front but her vitals were behind a branch that was just in my way. They were stopped and she was looking towards the road for what seemed like forever.

I was quickly loosing light and decided to go for it. I put my pin on her chest, I knew where she was because I had spent the afternoon ranging random parts of the field so I would know when the time came. I fired and they didn’t move till I heard a hollow thwack. Then they ran and kept running. It as a solid hit.

After a bit I climbed down still shaking from taking a shot and waited for my ride. We went back to the lodge to wait for the others since I didn’t see her fall. When everyone came we gathered up and headed to go look for her.
Unfortunately we found no blood. No blood and no arrow. With a downward facing shot at 35 yards it most likely didn’t exit and she may have only bled internally. Everyone searched high and low but there was just too many corn stalks and you can’t track when there is no sign.

We went back and I ate a late supper and joined the other ladies around the campfire. Some of the ladies left that night but others stayed and we visited till late in the night knowing that we were not hunting in the morning. I could hardly sleep knowing we were going to go out in the morning and look for blood in the daylight. I woke up very early and was able to see the sunrise on the Mountain and it was so beautiful. It was a very cold morning. The outfitter and I went and looked all over the frost covered ground, but there was nothing to be found. Disappointed but still at peace that we looked as hard as we could, I got back to the lodge and packed up.

I cannot wait to go to Mountain View Plantation again, I felt so at home there and felt like we were all family. It was such an amazing weekend in beautiful country that will I daydream about future hunts there for years to come. I was so impressed with the whole operation and how well they knew all of their land, they always set me up so the wind was in my favor and the stands I was in couldn’t have been in a better spot. They did everything in their power to set me up for success but with fair chase hunting you have a fair chance of nature having its own plans.

I want to thank Nancy Jo Adams and all of the staff at Mountain View Plantation for making such an amazing weekend possible.


As our annual hunting pilgrimage to the West comes to a close we can be thankful for the time we spent in the woods enjoying nature. It is always bittersweet when we head back South; thankful to be headed home for a little rest but sad to be ending our adventure.

Unfortunately we are on our way home without a harvest this year, however you can not measure the great memories made. How can one not be thoroughly satisfied sitting 20 feet closer to Heaven with a front row seat to the Show? That is what this journey is all about.

Our 9-day trip started off rifle hunting in Kentucky. After pulling our camera cards we didn’t have anything new so we decided to stay in the stand we had hunted on our earlier trip. We seen 3 young bucks and 6 does during our Saturday hunt. On Sunday, a wind advisory was issued four our area and the wind was absolutely terrible; it was so windy it was a struggle for Richard to pull the cameraman stand we were taking to Kansas with us. We decided to head to Kansas half a day early to bow hunt; leaving Kentucky at noon.

We were excited to be in Kansas—one of our favorite states to hunt. It was really looking good for us since on day one of our Kansas trip, we no longer had Hank unloaded and was on our way to the field to pull camera cards when our first sight was a nice big buck chasing a doe across the field in front of us. Later in the week, I sat in awe as I watched a young 8-point come into our set up looking for a fight after a rattling sequence; not only once but 4 times. On one of our last few days, we watched as a young 6-point approached our decoy in a submissive manner trying everything he could do, short of touching it of course, to get the decoy to acknowledge him.

A nice buck did come up behind us at 60 yards following a doe. I caught a glimpse of a doe over my left shoulder that was on a trail going straight to the field in front of us. I giggle about that buck sighting because of what happened to Richard.

When I spotted the doe, I whispered to Richard letting him know the location of the doe. His cameraman stand was on the right side of me facing opposite of the doe’s location. As soon as Richard seen the doe, we both stood up hoping a buck would be following her. At this vantage point, I saw the buck and I immediately whispered, “Don’t move, buck!” I gave the location of the buck, but Richard never had the opportunity to see the buck; a huge tree with two trunks directly behind us blocked it.

The buck that snuck in behind us but moved on before Richard ever got a look at him.

I tried several times to tell him and to motion where the buck was located without getting busted. All of the sudden I heard Richard’s heavy breathing. Then I glanced slowly over at him and only caught glimpse of his legs…they were shaking. Then I heard the shake in his voice when he asked me if I could still see the buck. I was concentrating on the buck when out of the corner of my eye I saw a few smaller branches shaking on the tree. I could not help but to silently belly chuckle. I could physically feel Richard shaking the tree.

The buck never did produce himself for a shot and when the doe turned back and trotted into the woods parallel to the field, the buck followed walking out of sight. I looked at Richard and said, “He walked out with the doe.” Richard let out some air and sat down. I asked him with a giggle, “You going to be alright.” He laughed and said, “I don’t know why I started shaking and got so excited like that.” He said, “Buck fever, I guess.” I laughed about it a few more times while in that tree that afternoon. I could physically feel and hear his emotion—I don’t know why I didn’t catch it and start shaking myself. What is so odd is he was behind the camera not the weapon and ironically he doesn’t get buck fever behind a gun.

The winds started picking up as the week progressed in Kansas. The forecast was not looking good for the weekend and although our deer camera photos where showing a few promising bucks, we had not seen much deer activity on any of our hunts. With the 25-30 mile an hour wind and the fact we were not seeing much rut activity or deer sightings, we decided to leave Kansas several days early, returning to Kentucky to rifle hunt.

The main frame 8 with G2 kicker while in velvet on one of our cameras set up earlier this year.

Beautiful Kansas main frame 8 with a kicker on his G2 out of velvet a few days before our arrival. This was a photo from Allen's game camera.

A Kansas 10-point that Allen got on his deer cam. This buck had a huge body...

Kentucky proved to have more deer movement, just not the deer we were looking to harvest. Sunday’s rain and thunderstorms found us packing up early and driving home. But before we left, we put out 5 deer cams to do a little scouting for us in hopes of a successful trip during the 4-day Thanksgiving holiday. Yep, that’s right..3 days work at our full-time employment, a night of washing and drying hunting clothes, a 7-hour one-way trip and we will turn around and do this all over again. Some call us crazy. Some say we are obsessed. Others may say we are dedicated–we settle with simply “doing what we love and loving what we do.” Our Life in Camo is not about what we harvest. It is about enjoying the journey and making memories along the way.


What an exciting afternoon. The wind picked up during our afternoon hunt and we had not seen any movement at all. I was beginning to feel let down, unlucky or just plain bored. The afternoon light was quickly fading away and the temperature was dropping noticeably. I had already asked Richard a few seconds earlier if he was ready to call the hunt. He had replied, “Just a little longer.” So I patiently waited.

Just before we started packing up to come down out of the stand, Richard had decided to rattle a little. Shortly after he stopped and was waiting a few minutes to see if it had conjured up any interest, I heard something coming quickly through the woods just over my left shoulder. I whispered to Richard, “I hear something at 7 o’clock.” He nodded. Then I saw it. It was a nice 8 point buck, however, not what I came all the way to Kansas for. We watched as he came in looking for the fight. He walked a half circle around our stand set up. He lost interest and started to walk away, across the hay field.

I grunted and snort wheezed, more out of curiosity than for the dire need to have the buck return. The buck heard the grunt but moved on. The snort wheeze only stopped him for a split second. The buck kept walking away from us.

When the buck was a little over 100 yards away, Richard once again hit the rattling horns. The buck stopped so short, it was comical. It threw its head up, scanning in our immediate direction. It took off at a run back to our stand. The buck walked under our stand and circled it, returning to the hay field and once again started across it.

Richard rattled the horns in a short series and the buck came running in once again, this time to the left of the stand. It walked into the woods behind us and we could hear him rambling for a while before moving on.

I was absolutely amazed as to how the buck not only reacted to the rattling horns, but how it could precisely tell within 10 feet the exact area the sound came from. This was my first experience with rattling horns. This 2.5-year-old buck came in looking for a fight. Ironic, since I know he is not the biggest buck in the area.

Tomorrow we will have a decoy out and this should really be interesting if this young buck is in the area. The low tonight will be in the 20s with a high tomorrow around 46. The rest of the week will progressively get colder so we are looking forward to that. We have gotten several good deer on camera and have seen a few chasing so one can never tell what is going to happen this time of the season. Stay tuned for some updates. Good luck to those hunting this week.


Charles Johnston, Outdoor Editor with The Anniston Star, came by the Mountain View Plantation Hunt and shared some time with the group of ladies attending the Women’s Whitetail Bowhunt. We enjoyed lunch with Mr. Johnston and sharing stories with him while the the ladies competed in the Women’s Ultimate Outdoor Challenge.

Here is a copy of the article:
Credit to The Anniston Star, Outdoors Page 2D, November 6, 2011

The Anniston Star, Outdoors Page 2D, published November 6, 2011


Ladies, are you looking for great hunting opportunities at very reasonable pricing? I have been fortunate enough to find several outfitters who are excited about promoting women in the sport of hunting and giving women hunters the opportunity of some great hunts. Here is a list of hunts that are on the calendar. Subscribe to my blog to be the first to know when a hunt is posted. Click on the BLUE link to take you to the announcement to read the details of each hunt:

December 8-11:
Ladies Deer, Hog, Bobcat & Coyote Hunt at Rack Nine Outdoors, Barbour County, Alabama

I have 4 spots available on this hunt.

January (26)27-29, 2012
Ladies Rut Whitetail Rifle Hunt and Quail Hunt with Mountain View Plantation, Clay County, AL

I have 2 spots available on this hunt.

I am working on coordinating a turkey hunt, bear hunt and two hog hunts. Deposits are non-refundable. Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog to be the first to know about future hunts. Hunt hard, harvest ethically and may your drag be short. ~Nancy Jo


September 20th @ 7:30 a.m. I was checking my Facebook as I normally do every morning on my hour ride into work. I had a message in my inbox from my Facebook friend, Margaret “Maggie” Hammeke-Frisbie:

It read: “You need to go check out my 2011 Archery season opening day buck! Have a pic up on my page. Will be trying to get more this morning.”

I went to Maggie’s Facebook wall and I nearly passed out. No kidding, I instantly got chills. I saw stars for a minute and then I said out loud “GOOD GRACIOUS–HOLY SMOKES” and I let out a hardy WOOO HOOO!! The first photo I saw was this one.

Maggie and Richard Frisbie with the buck they coined "Splitter Buck" several years earlier. Maggie credits her husband for his encouragement to start bowhunting and his dedication to patterning this buck.

I had to know more, so I asked Maggie to tell me all about it. With her permission, here is her amazing story:

This story starts 5 years ago. My husband, Richard, and I had trail cams out and had gotten an interesting picture of a buck with split brow tines which we ended up naming “Splitter Buck”. My husband said, “if he lives long enough, this buck will be a giant one day.”

In the 2007 season, we again had many pictures of this buck–as well as many encounters with him. At the time, I was a rifle hunter and had this buck in my scope on several occasions but kept remembering what Richard had said about him.

The next season came and our hearts sank as we realized we weren’t seeing “Splitter Buck”. We often questioned and wondered what had happened to him.

In 2009, my husband had convinced me to try bow/archery hunting. Or at least try to shoot a bow. For many years I thought I knew what enjoying the outdoors and hunting was all about. However, I will admit that I use to have a tinge of jealousy when my husband would come home and try to describe what he saw and experienced while sitting in a tree stand. Seemed like he enjoyed sitting in a tree on a cold morning than staying in a warm cozy bed with me! Richard, though, was and still is a die-hard archery hunter. He literally could spend 360 days a year preparing, planting food plots, trimming trees out, setting out cameras, watching trails, glassing the deer and hunting! At times I have classified him as obsessed! So I gave into his urging and gave it a try.

He taught me well! November 3rd, 2009, I shot my first deer with a bow and it was the biggest buck I had ever shot. It was a typical 10 point that scored 167! What a rush that was! I was told over and over that I would have a hard time topping that deer!

Maggie's first archery buck harvested in 2009 scored 165"...every one told her she would have a hard time topping that buck...or so they thought.

The rest of my 2009 season was spent with a bow in hand chasing does and turkeys.

In the 2010 season, I sat many days watching the small bucks walk by. But it really gave me the opportunity to enjoy the many things that my husband had always talked about. I had changed locations and tree stands several times. Then one day something had caught my eye. While glassing around I had noticed a buck chasing a doe around. I immediately recognized this buck. Although he was busted up on one side, he definitely had the split brow tines. I texted my husband and he thought I was imagining it.

The next day Richard was out scouting and saw 3 giant bucks chasing a doe. Sure enough, it was “Splitter Buck”! Although he was nearly 4 miles from our hunting property, he was still alive…AND HUGE!! A couple of weeks later Richard checked the trail cameras and there was a picture of “Splitter Buck” back on the property and it showed the broken tines. We both had hopes that he would survive the hunting season and vehicles to make it to the 2011 season.

In mid-June, Richard started working food plots, trimmed out trees, started scouting for new possibilities of where to put in tree stands and glassing. One evening while watching some deer from a hill top I noticed a large buck walking across a field of wheat stubble. Richard looked and it was a GIANT! His next words were, “It’s him! It’s Splitter Buck!” So the next day he set up a camera and got the 1st pictures of him within hours. Over the next 3 months we were getting pictures of him regularly. He did disappear a couple of times and after studying the trail cam pictures Richard realized it was during the full moon cycle and would return 10-12 days after.

Back to the drawing board about where we could put up tree stands strategically. September 5th was the last time we had pictures on our trail cam of “Splitter Buck”. Is he following his pattern? Was he hit by a vehicle? Youth season opened and still we saw nothing of him nor had we heard of any youth hunters shooting anything large. He has escaped us once again for yet another season!

On September 19th, opening day of archery season had started off with much anticipation and hopes as to what would come out in front of me. We had decided that Richard would sit in his strategically set tree stand while I would be a quarter-mile north of him in a ground blind.

I truly love a morning hunt. I think it is one of the most magical time of the day! If a person listens carefully I swear you can actually hear the sun rise. The distant sound of the turkeys as they fly out of the roosting areas, the various birds are spreading their wings and the scurrying of mice out in search of a small morsel. As shooting light starts to become clear it is confirmed by the eruption of gun fire from the wildlife area and wetlands 1 mile away from where I was sitting. Movement caught my eye to my left and a nice large doe walked out in front of me. As I reached for my bow I once again caught movement and following her was a small reddish colored fawn with very distinguished white dots on it. The doe was safe for this hunt.

Having heard the turkeys earlier I knew it wouldn’t be much longer before they would make their journey across the pasture. With that thought in my mind, here they came. A total of 21 young turkeys and a couple of hens. The young turkeys were very curious to what was different with the blind I was sitting in. Then the fawn decided to entertain itself with the turkeys which in itself, entertained me but also gave me the opportunity to set my bow back down. The fawn, realizing that the doe did not stop to wait for the play time, ran to catch up with it’s mother leaving the young turkeys to look for something to forage. They were all out in front of me at about 40 yards when I had looked down at my cell phone to make sure I had not missed a text message from Richard. When I carefully looked up every head was watching me. Slowly, every young turkey were descending towards the ground blind!! Standing within 5 feet of me they were finally summoned to continue with the hens through the tall grasses and cedar trees of the pasture.

The next hour and a half proved to be quite boring and uneventful. After meeting back up with Richard, we discussed what we each had seen that morning. He had a few small bucks come in and that was it.

As the afternoon approached we were discussing the calendar of events that I had scheduled and how my hunting time over the next couple of months would be limited Richard decided I should take the stand he had sat in that morning and he would sit elsewhere. We knew there had been a descent buck coming into that area pretty regularly every evening.

As I sat in the tree there was a slight breeze coming out of the south/southwest blowing directly in my face. With my gear all ready and my ThermaCell lit, I was ready for anything that walked out if front of me!

After about a half hour I heard a deer snort and blow. About 5 minutes later there was another snort and blow. I wondered what might be out there that they didn’t like. Perhaps someone hunting to the south of me? Based on the wind direction it could be a possibility. I was confident that after all the precautions it couldn’t be me. I was so scent free! I stood up, heard something directly to the back of me and peered around the tree and there stood a decent 8 pointer with his nose straight up in the air….. Then he blew hard and whirled around and ran! SERIOUSLY? As I turned around and looked straight ahead the breeze was still hitting me out of the southwest with an occasional touch out of the west.

Looking at my surrounding, I am in a bowl like opening. As the wind was coming in it was actually swirling around me then going to the east of me right to several main trails. Oh wow, what should I do now? I starting thing, I really didn’t want to ruin a good hunting spot. I took my arrow out of my bow and put it back into the quiver. Richard has worked so hard especially in this area – I can’t ruin it for him! I grabbed my sling and put my bow into it and fastened it in. I thought to myself that I should let Richard know what I am doing. I reached into my pocket and got my cell phone. It’ was DEAD!! REALLY? I stood and looked around and thought, “What would he be telling me to do now?” I let out a sigh!

I took my bow back out of the sling, took my quiver off and took 1 arrow back out and notched it. So many doubts running through my head but I just wasn’t sure of what I should be doing. As I slowly sat down I spied a hoof below a cedar tree. Then to the north of me I saw 2 deer walking thru some thickets. Finally, a sign. I knew their trail would run them back to the south and straight in front of me. I reached over a lifted my bow off the bow holder and slowly stood up. All I could see now was the occasional hoofs under the thick foliage of tree branches. As they stopped, I could finally make out a small fawn’s head. It really was looking nervous as I could see it smelling the air and stretching it’s head as though as it was trying to look over some bush, then lowering it’s head to peer under the bush. I thought to myself, “Come on, just walk on in and bring those behind you through as well! Let me see you all!”

Finally, the fawn started to walk through and slowly the doe did as well. Now behind a tree I waited for them to walk past the tree and into the clearing. Suddenly, it sounded as though a tree had fallen over just to the south of me. As I looked over, through the brush and fallen tree branches, out walks “Splitter Buck”! “Oh My God–he is HUGE!” He turned towards me and started eating grass 13 yards right in front of me. “Oh “my goodness, what should I do? This is the buck my husband wants so bad!”

I watched and secretly wished he would turn and give me a shot! At that moment he turned in one swift movement leaving me to watch his back-end. He stood there looking at the doe and fawn then lowered his head to graze once again. “Please give me some kind of good shot!!” I looked at the doe, the fawn and then, him. I started to draw back on my bow. “What is Richard going to say if I do shoot him? It has been the only buck I have seen today!” At that point I could see just how old he really was. His eyes, the roman nose, and his back gave away his age. He took 2 steps to the side with his back legs giving me a hard quartering away shot. It was almost as though I could hear Richard teaching and telling me again… “Aim as though where you want it to come out at”. I took one big breath and as he lifted his head I released my arrow.

As he dug into the soft sand and turned to run I could see my fetching on my arrow still in his side! He and the doe both turned to disappeared into the thick timber. I don’t even remember where the fawn went to. I was still focused on where my trophy went to and listened intently hoping to hear him crashing in the timber. I sat back down and then I started shaking from my stomach outward realizing I just shot a buck of MY lifetime! I reached over and gathered my equipment and packaged it back up for a 2nd time this evening hunt. I wanted so badly to go out and check the area where I shot him at but decided with a dead cell phone that I should just back out and go get Richard.

Halfway down the trail to Richard, my heart sank a little as I was going to have to tell him exactly what he would not want to hear. I gave a whistle to him to warn him I was there. As he approached me, he said I looked in total shock. When he ask what was wrong, I instantly started crying and told him that I had just shot “Splitter Buck”. I could see the disappointment in his eyes. Then came the usual questions; …shot placement? …direction of travel? etc…

When we got back to the place, I showed him where “Splitter” was when I shot him and found his tracks. Looked around for any sign of blood but found nothing. After walking in circles for a couple of minutes Richard finally found the arrow. The buck had circled around a tree which was obscured to me and ran back north. The arrow he left was missing the broad head and was bloody all the way up to the fletching. So Richard took up the trail and was finding little blood but could definitely tell we were on his tracks. We tracked for approximately 30 minutes thru some of the nastiest thickets and timber ever! Finally after tracking a steady blood trail we rounded a tree where we found him piled up into a thorny thicket – he had run approximately 100 yards from where I had shot him. What a relief!

Maggie Frisbie's outstanding 2011 Archery buck coined "Splitter Buck" for his double brow tines.

Although Richard tells everybody he knows just how proud he is of me, I still can’t help but feel a little tinge of guilt for shooting this buck that I am sure Richard had dreams of in his sleep.

Technical Info: Green score 189 6/8”. Shot at 17 yards, with a Matthews Z7 Bow, equipped with an HHA 5519 sight and a Rip Cord Code Red rest, using a Gold tip Hunter XT 3555 Arrow tipped with a 100 grain NAP Hell Razor Broadhead.

Moral of the story: For those that told me I wouldn’t be able to top my 167” buck–NEVER tell a woman that she CAN’T–especially a woman with a bow in her hand!!

All photos in this entry are courtesy of Maggie & Richard Frisbie.


We witnessed the funniest thing in Kentucky this past weekend. We were on our way to the farm Saturday morning when the Sheriff cruiser in front of us hit the brakes and the blue lights at the same time. We slowed down and started to go around the vehicle. As the sheriff’s cruiser pulled off onto the shoulder of the road, right there in front of us was a broken down blue, 4 wheel drive Jeep. Smack-dab in the middle of the lane. Dead still. Blocking traffic. What is so comical…is that the blue, 4 wheel drive Jeep was a child’s toy. I had to roll my window down and ask the sheriff if he planned on writing that one a ticket for abandoning their vehicle on a public highway. We got a real good chuckle out of the whole ordeal. See the photos in the slideshow below for a good laugh.

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I have titled this entry Kentucky dreams because since our visit this past weekend, I have been dreaming of returning. I have had a serious case of anticipation since we left Kentucky. Why, you ask? It all started several weeks ago when we were at the farm checking game cameras, placing some stands and doing a little bowhunting.

We were checking deer cam cards in the field and although we didn’t have many pictures to really get excited over, I looked at one picture and was just drawn to the buck looking back at me from my laptop screen. I can’t put my finger on the exact feeling I had, but something about this buck had me drawn to the thought that if given the opportunity, he would fill my freezer and a spot on my den wall.

He was a typical main frame 8-point with short brow tines, average length tines but a wide main beam spread. This buck was a mature buck with a square barreled body, a Roman nose and a gutter down the center of his back from the width of his shoulders and hips. I was giddy about the buck…Richard was not too impressed. I kept trying to convince him that this was a nice buck—I wasn’t too convincing from the look on his face and the way he hem-hawed about the photo.

I disregarded the photo and hoped for more pictures on our next trip of this buck and some new bucks we had not yet gotten pictures of. Two weeks later found us right back in the field checking deer cameras once again….THERE HE WAS!!

I couldn’t help but get excited about this buck–there was some sort of karma. Again, Richard was not impressed. Now I wanted to get angry and debate that the buck was mature and wider than any other buck I have ever harvested. Okay, okay, I know Richard likes those non-typical, gnarly, lopsided, non-symmetrical bucks–but I prefer the “pretty” ones. Not that I wouldn’t do my absolute best to harvest a big old gnarly buck with a lopsided bone collection on his noggin—but put two of the same size bucks out there and my choice would be the “pretty” one, if given the opportunity. Besides I need some deer cube steak in the freezer something fierce.

Anyways…Saturday morning we didn’t hunt, it was reserved for working, checking deer cams, putting up a cameraman lock-on at a stand we placed on our previous trip and doing a little more scouting. We had time to get back to the hotel in time to take a short nap, shower, and pull our gear together for an afternoon hunt. We were hunting in a bowl surrounded by white oaks and the acorns were falling like rain off one of the trees in front of us.

At 3:30 p.m. we were ascending the tree to our afternoon hunting spot. Richard was attaching his Ozonics unit to the tree bracket as I was taking my bow sling off my bow and placing it on the bow hanger, still facing the tree, when I heard footsteps in the leaves. I looked over my right shoulder and spotted a deer. I looked at Richard, tapped him on the leg and whispered deer, my 4:00 o’clock. He spotted him; a button buck. I couldn’t move. I stood still the entire time the buck fed on acorns.

Finally, the button buck walked up over the ridge. I quickly attached my Ozonics to the tree, retrieved the few things I needed from my backpack, nocked an arrow and sat down putting my gloves on; hoping to be settled in before something else wandered in.

The rest of the afternoon brought two more mature does and a set of spotless twin fawns. They grazed on acorns within 15-20 yards of our stand. The doe with the twin fawns was a huge doe…easily 150-160 pounds. I am not sure I have ever seen a doe that large so close to me. We gathered our gear and planned to come back to this stand in the morning.

Sunday morning we left as planned…with plenty of time to spare. We actually sat in the pitch-black morning for over an hour. This is what we prefer and it just makes for a pleasant hunt. We had a deer come in before daylight. I could hear it sniffing the ground for acorns. When it found an acorn fit for eating you could hear the distinct crunching and even hear the outer shell drop on the ground out of its mouth. That deer moved out before it got light.

At approximately an hour after daylight I caught movement out of the corner of my eye to the left of us. I tapped Richard on the leg and motioned to where I saw movement. I reached for my bow and stood. I seen horns and I looked at Richard and mouthed, “Bbbbuucckkk!” He shook his head affirmatively.

The buck walked to a spot 45-50 yards from us but the limbs and thickets made it hard to get a good look at him. I could see glimpses of one side or the other every few seconds. The buck stood there for about 8-9 minutes before walking about 10 more yards. At one point I got a good look at his antlers and I whispered to Richard that it was the wide 8-point. The buck was only 30 yards away, however the limbs and branches made it impossible to see; let alone shoot.

I seen movement again to my left and noticed the buck in front of me looked in that direction. There was the 7-point that has been in several of the pictures with the wide 8. That buck walked to about 20 yards of the wide 8 and bedded down.

I watched as the wide 8 walked behind a tree and stood for about 3 minutes before he bedded down. About 15 minutes of standing and my arms were absolutely killing me from holding my bow at the angle I was standing. That mixed with the adrenaline that was pulsing through my veins. I had to sit down if I could. I could easily take a sitting shot if the buck came through the tree line. I slowly started to sit down and finally made it completely down. Whew…what a relief.

After Richard sat down, I turned my head slowly and said, “If I get the opportunity, I am going to shoot that buck.” I had already made my mind up from the deer cam pictures that I was going to harvest this buck if given the opportunity. He was a good 4-year-old buck by my analysis. Something about this buck drew me to him and I was not going to let a golden opportunity pass.

About 15 minutes later, the 7-point stood and looked into the woods, then he looked in our direction and then back over his shoulder. Something alarmed him but he was not sure what direction it was coming from. A rather large doe walked into the picture and started feeding on acorns directly in front of us at about 15 yards. The 7-point bedded back down. Another 15 minutes passed when the doe walked between the two-bedded bucks causing the bucks to stand. The bucks followed her into the woods the direction they came from, never giving me a shot opportunity.

Nonetheless, my heart was pounding; I had chills on my arms and a big smile on my face. We not only got to see the wide 8 in person…which Richard still is not too excited over…but we also pulled off being perfectly stealth within 15 and 30 yards of deer for over an hour. That NEVER ceases to amaze me.

We were back at Hank before 10 a.m., we still had plenty to do in preparation of the two-day early muzzleloader season next weekend. We did get everything accomplished by the time we needed to get ready to head back out to the woods for our last hunt of the weekend. Nothing exciting happened on the afternoon hunt.

This hunt was bittersweet for me; it was my last time hunting with my Bowtech bow. My next archery hunt I will be hunting with the Strother Archery Allure. I will know this week how it compares to my Bowtech and I am looking forward to a marked improvement in performance since the Allure is designed for maximum speed, kinetic energy and performance for short draw archers. I am plagued with a 25.5” draw, but thankful that I make up for some handicap in draw weight.


I went up to Kentucky Lake in Tennessee to do some night bowfishing, it was so much fun!
Night bowfishing was such a different experience! I couldn’t use my marks on my bow at all so aiming with instinct took a little adjusting. I am so thankful that I bowfished during the day first to get my head around shooting low and the all the basics!

The day of the trip we went out and were going to fish with rod and reel until we saw a school of big gar surfacing. Jennifer and I grabbed our bows and decided it was time to scout and day bowfish! We trolled around the islands and saw a few gar and a ton of mud clouds from carp that saw us coming. I couldn’t wait to get back there that night!
We loaded up on the boat about 9pm and headed out to the islands. At first we saw a few bass, which made my heart jump but they are illegal to shoot. In early summer these waters are choked with fish but since the temperature is going down they were hiding in deeper water.

I shot and missed a few times, adjusting to instinct shooting was hard at first but I got a hold of it. My first hit fish was a carp that swam up into the grass and made such a fuss he ended up upside down on top of a pile of grass completely out of the water!

My next fish, I barely hit him in his cheek and he got off the arrow. I shot a really big one, so big that he was ripping line out of the reel even with the trigger all the way down, it was a great fight but right at the boat he took off and the arrow fell out! Gotta remember the gaff next time!

The one that got away…http://youtu.be/e3FCtmJod2E

There was enough fish that we all got to shoot pretty often, the water was unbelievably clear in spots making depth judging so much harder. There were many misses and a few hits but I never stopped having fun!

About 2am we headed back in, it felt like we had been out only 20 minutes! I got several common carp and a couple buffalos. Jennifer got some gar and a carp.

I had so much fun I didn’t realize just how tired I was until I tried to climb out of the boat. The next morning I was so sore from shooting who knows how many times, gotta practice and get stronger for next time!
It was such a blast and I can’t wait till my next trip out!

Author, Michelle Harmes and bowfishing friend Jennifer McKinney with their mess of fish from their night bowfishing trip on Kentucky Lake in Tennessee. Photo Credit: Michelle Harmes

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