Every year hunters hit the stores hard, trying to find the next great piece of gear that will surely put a deer on the ground for them. Usually it’s not so much about the gear, as it is about the hunter, but there are certain pieces of equipment that definitely can make an impact on your hunting success. This fall I have picked up three key new items that I hoped would help my chances this fall and I certainly believe they did. Given my short hunting season, I had very little room for error, so I tried very hard to pick each piece of equipment with this in mind. This fall no shortcuts would be taken, every “t” had be crossed and every “i” had to be dotted.  This mantra applied to both my strategies and my equipment, but lets focus now on the three new pieces of gear I used this season and how I believe they helped me bag my buck.

Hunter’s Specialties Scent Away Scent Elimination System

As I have grown older, I have each year taken a little bit more care in controlling my scent when I hit the woods. Being raised how to hunt the “old school” way, I had never been taught  much about scent control until I became a deer hunting knowledge nut during my highschool years. Since then I have tried scentlok clothing, carbon based,  Scent Killer and Scent Shield sprays, and I’ve kept my gear in a scent free bag at all times.

This year I realized I needed to take it to the next level and boy am I glad I did. I have adopted the Hunter’s Specialties Scent Away system, after being convinced of Scent Away’s superiority based on recent Deer & Deer Hunting research findings. I now wash all of my clothing in the scent-free laundry detergent and also use the scent-free shampoo/body wash in the shower every morning. Just prior to hitting the woods, I remove my clothing from my scent-free container and I spray down everything with the Scent Away spray.

So was it worth it? Well in my three days of total hunting this fall, I had two obvious situations in which my scent-free nature was put up to the test and my precautions had me passing with flying colors. The first happened the weekend of October 23. As mentioned in a previous post, I had a buck cruising about 60 yards in front of me, at which I called at to no avail. But little did I know, this buck circled back downwind of me and came up behind me. 15 minutes after calling to him, he showed up not more than 10 yards to the right of me, with no idea I was there. The wind was blowing right through the area he just came and I was sitting on the ground, but he never winded me.

Scent Away: 1    Deer Nose: 0

If you read my post recounting my latest bow kill, you will already know how this encounter went down, for  those who haven’t, check it out here. Long story short, I got busted by a mature doe and spent about 45 minutes with four doe circling and approaching me, heads bobbing, legs stomping and noses held high trying to wind me. As this went on, a buck moved in and began trying to catch my scent as well. They never did, the does finally moved off and the buck followed behind them. I had passed the “scent check” test and the buck met his maker soon after.

Scent Away: 2   Deer Nose: 0

Needless to say, the extra work I put in to scent control this year has paid off ten-fold and I am very happy with the Scent Away product. I look forward to fooling many more deer’s noses in the weeks and years to come.

PSE Bow Madness

I spent a lot of time online and in the archery shop this fall as I went about choosing a new bow. I was looking for more power, speed and accuracy from a reasonably affordable bow and I found that in the PSE Bow Madness. Check out my  pre-purchase research findings on thePSE Bow Madness here.

It seemed to shoot straight and fast on the range, but how did it handle in the field? My initial experience out in the woods with my PSE BM was not a positive one. It was the day after I purchased the bow and I was hunting with it for the first time this morning  (let it be noted that ideally you want weeks or months of practice with a new bow before taking it out hunting, I did not have this luxury). A buck presented me with a shot opportunity at about 30 yards. I attempted to draw, but immediately was met with more resistance than I remembered on the range, probably a product of the cold and my nerves. Nonetheless after another try, I reached full draw, settled behind the bucks shoulder and squeezed my release. I pulled the shot a few inches to the right and I nicked a sappling, resulting in my first miss on a deer. I initially tried to blame this on the bow, but I believe it was truly a result of not enough practice and human error.  I needed a chance to redeem myself. Well I got that chance two weeks later, in the same blind, with the same bow. This time with more practice under my belt with the new bow and another buck standing broadside at 25 yards. Similar situation, but this time my arrow was true (little high) and I double lunged him. The PSE Bow Madness sent that arrow speeding towards him and I was able to use my first pin on him at about 25 yards. After range practice and my in field experience, I can attest that this bow is FAST (with proper tuning and accessories), relatively quiet, smooth enough and very very light in the hand. If I could ask for anything more, I would say that a smoother draw cycle would be nice and I’m still unsure on my thoughts about the very thin rubber grip on the riser. All this being said, overall I’d say I’m very happy with my purchase, it got the job done on last weekend’s buck and I’m sure it will drop the hammer on many more in the future.

Rage Broadheads

Rage Broadhead entry hole

WOW. I must say, these bad boys are not just hype. My 2 blade Rage tore a hole through this buck like I have never seen and made a blood trail that I could easily follow the 120 yards to the buck. Blood was sprayed 3 feet wide in some spots and at times it looked like someone had sprayed an aerosol can of blood all over the leaves and trees along the trail. I had great penetration, perfect expansion and field tip quality flight. The Rage worked as advertised and I couldn’t be happier. I expect to stick a lot more with the ole Rage in years to come.

Blood from the Rage Broadhead